Aired on: TNT
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I was sitting in the movie theater, waiting for Angels & Demons to begin, when I first saw a preview for a new TNT drama scheduled to air this summer. The show starred Jada Pinkett Smith as Christina Hawthorne, a bull-by-the-horns Chief Nursing Officer in a busy hospital in Virginia. The preview showed both the compassionate and no nonsense side of the character, letting audiences know that this was a woman who would do anything for her patients, even if it meant breaking some rules. I was intrigued and couldn’t wait to check out Hawthorne when the series premiere hit the airwaves on June 16, 2009.
As the show begins, we witness Christina Hawthorne receive a phone call and go dashing off to Richmond Trinity Hospital where she is promptly stopped by a new night guard. She explains who she is, but without her ID the guard is skeptical and refuses to let her in. Not one to be stopped when it comes to one of her patients, Hawthorne skirts the guard and a chase ensues which eventually leads up to the roof. This is where we finally learn the reason for Hawthorne’s haste, but her appearance on the roof does nothing to stop the jumper (D. B. Woodside) from attempting suicide. How’s that for a series opener?!
As the show progresses, we learn that Hawthorne has recently lost her husband and, although we are not sure of the cause of death, we learn that a couple of family members believe that Christina could have done something to prevent it - namely her rebellious daughter (Hannah Hodson) and her mother-in-law (Joanna Cassidy). We also learn that Christina wears many hats as Chief Nursing Officer - friend, supervisor, mediator, social worker, confidante, and staunch defender of her nurses as we learn when one nurse (David Julian Hirsh) almost kills a patient thanks to the negligent orders of an arrogant doctor (Anne Ramsay).
The premiere episode of Hawthorne lures you in without telling you too much, making you want to come back to learn more about each character. The storyline is well written and the premiere episode had quite a few surprising and rather dramatic moments. The soundtrack of the premiere episode is rather innovative. It’s been a long time since I have seen a television series use R&B music to enhance the drama in a scene. Usually, we hear alternative rock or pop, but the use of R&B is not only perfect for the series, it also will do a great deal to promote the industry as a whole.
When TNT says it knows drama, it backs it up with regular staples like the award-winning crime drama, The Closer, and now with a new hospital drama called Hawthorne. I can’t wait to check out the next episode of the series.