Review: ‘Trauma’


The hunt for a successor to "ER" will have to continue despite NBC's best efforts with "Trauma."

The hunt for a successor to “ER” will have to continue awhile longer despite NBC’s best efforts with “Trauma,” a “Who rescues the rescuers?” drama about paramedics in San Francisco. Despite a “Friday Night Lights” (sigh) producing pedigree, the new series trots out a rather nondescript group of wounded parties who nurse their own broken hearts while treating broken bones. The big action pieces are reasonably impressive, but without stronger characters, that adrenaline boost won’t be enough to keep the show off life support.

“Trauma” opens with a rescue on top of a building that goes tragically wrong, leaving the surviving participants scarred, both emotionally and physically.

Flash forward (that’s all the rage this season) a year, and paramedic Nancy (Anastasia Griffith) is still grappling with her loss, while daredevil rescue helicopter pilot “Rabbit” (Cliff Curtis) is returning to work, trying to prove he’s every bit the badass that he ever was.

He doesn’t have to wait long to get his chance, after a text-messaging moron triggers a multicar pileup on one of the Bay Area’s bridges, with explosions and crashes and bodies, oh my. It’s a helluva baptism by fire for Rabbit to break in a new partner, Marisa (Aimee Garcia), while the seemingly stand-up Cameron (Derek Luke) does his part while appearing to be grappling with problems at home.

The front-loaded pyrotechnics notwithstanding, Dario Scardapane’s script doesn’t give these characters much of a pulse. New Zealander Curtis has been fine in other roles, but Rabbit’s erratic behavior — which leads Marisa to rightfully label him an “irresponsible idiot” — doesn’t make him especially interesting, any more than watching Griffith fighting back tears endears us to her.

While sliding “Heroes” to lead off the night ought to funnel some younger demos in “Trauma’s” direction as a lead-in, stiff competition for women in particular — including “Dancing With the Stars” and CBS’ comedies — doesn’t bode well for a new series this fuzzy around the edges to rapidly catch on. The show also happens to land among several fall TV medical interns, among them NBC’s nurse-centric “Mercy.”

“You ain’t Steve McQueen,” Marisa snaps at Rabbit after he references “Bullitt” while driving like a lunatic through the hilly streets of S.F.

Yep, and however much “Trauma” might want to be, it ain’t “ER,” either.


NBC, Mon. Sept. 28, 9 P.M.


Filmed in San Francisco by Film 44 in association with Universal Media Studios. Executive producers, Peter Berg, Sarah Aubrey, Jeffrey Reiner, Peter Noah, Dario Scardapane; co-executive producers, Bruce Rasmussen, David Schulner; supervising producer, Janet Tamaro; director, Reiner; writer, Scardapane;


Camera, Alan Caso; production designer, Stuart Blatt; editor, Ron Rosen; music, Bear McCreary; casting, Linda Lowy, Nina Henninger. RUNNING TIME: 60 MIN.


Reuben "Rabbit" Palchuk - Cliff Curtis Cameron Boone - Derek Luke Nancy Carnahan - Anastasia Griffith Marisa Benez - Aimee Garcia Tyler Biggs - Kevin Rankin Glenn Morris - Taylor Kinney Dr. Joe Saviano - Jamey Sheridan

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Scene News from Variety