May 19, 2015

SHOWBUZZDAILY Season Finale Review: “The Night Shift”


One of NBC’s many puzzling decisions this year was the choice to hand over its most important timeslot for launching dramas, the post-The Voice hour on Mondays, to the merely serviceable summer medical soap THE NIGHT SHIFT.  The series had done well enough against weak off-season competition, but there was nothing to suggest that it was ready to move up to the big leagues, and the result was predictable (except, it seems, to the network itself):  Night Shift lost half or more of its lead-in and looked thoroughly routine doing so.  The series has been renewed for next season, but it’s not on the fall schedule, and there’s been no announcement about whether it’s slated for midseason or a move back to summer.

The season finale, written by Milla Bell-Hart and Story Editor Gabe Fonseca, and directed by Eriq La Salle, was only different from any other episode in that the personal melodrama for the doctors was ramped up a bit.  There were not one but two marriage proposals:  one from recently uncloseted Dr. Drew Alister (Brendan Fehr), which was instantly reciprocated by his boyfriend Rick (Luke Macfarlane), and the other from the show’s hero Dr. TC Callahan (Eoin Macken) to the love of his life and fellow doctor Jordan Alexander (Jill Flint).  The latter was by far the more dramatic, since it followed the miscarriage of their baby, and it was used as the season-ending cliffhanger, although there doesn’t seem to be much reason why Jordan would say no.  (TC used to be an irresponsible bad boy, but he’s largely cleaned up his act.)

In addition, there was briefly the threat that the marriage of Dr. Topher Zia (Ken Leong) would break up after he’d gone to Afghanistan to rescue a former translator who’d saved his life and now needed a heart transplant–but not to worry, that was merely a tiff by the end credits.  Also, Dr. Krista Bell-Hart (Jeananne Goossen) broke up with surgeon Joey Chavez (Adam Rodriguez), and Dr. Paul Cummings (Robert Bailey, Jr) decided whether to have surgery on his arm that would either allow him to become a surgeon like his famous father or make his condition worse.  Meanwhile, of course, there was a steady supply of patients to treat, the major ones in the finale being a sniper who had bedeviled the city and the seemingly sweet girl who came separately into the ER and who turned out to be his accomplice.  (The guy died; the girl attempted suicide but survived.)

In short, it was another hour to remind everyone that The Night Shift, even on its best day, is no Grey’s Anatomy.  The actors are all capable, and the pace keeps things hopping (director La Salle knows how to place cameras in a hospital setting), but there’s nothing at all special about The Night Shift.

For whatever zeitgeist reason, next season is going to see a strong influx of medical dramas on network TV:  Heartbreaker and Chicago Med on NBC, Code Black on CBS, and Rosewood on FOX.  Those are unknown quantities at this point, but their sheer number is likely to make The Night Shift seem even more marginal than it already is.  It had a perfectly fine platform in summer, and that’s probably where it should return.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."