TV Previews

Fall Preview: CW's 'Emily Owens, M.D.'


The CW’s previews for the new medical drama, “Emily Owens, M.D.,” break the show down in the simplest of terms: it’s about a surgical resident (Mamie Gummer) who is just starting out at a new hospital and is looking forward to working alongside her med school crush (Justin Hartley) and then learns that her high school rival (Aja Naomi King) works there too and she fears the hospital will be exactly like high school, where she always ended up feeling awkward and out of place.

ICYMI: ‘Emily Owens, M.D.’ to premiere online starting October 1

As I said, those are the simplest terms and the basic description, but the show itself is so much more than that. I’ve seen a lot of people saying it seems just like “Grey’s Anatomy” and while I don’t think that’s an accurate comparison, I don’t think it’s a bad one either, considering how well “Grey’s” still does in the ratings, now in its ninth season. It also has a bit of a “Scrubs” vibe to it because the show has a lot of funny moments and a lot of awkward moments where it’s impossible not to feel for the characters, but more than that, it has a lot of heart and for a new series with a decent sized cast, the writers did a fantastic job fleshing out (most of) the characters in the pilot episode and giving the audience reasons to care about them.


The pilot begins with Emily (Gummer) walking into Denver Memorial for the first day of her surgical residency. In the voiceover (I know some people aren’t fans of voiceovers on shows, but I like them), Emily talks about how she’s finally ready for that next step and she’s ready to be an adult and start her journey…and then she gets into a fight with a kid, who makes fun of her. It’s a little silly, but it’s also understandable because kids are the worst. Anyway, Emily heads into the hospital and runs into Will (Hartley) and she’s immediately tongue-tied with embarrassment and says all the wrong things (again, I feel for her. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t die a little if Justin Hartley put his arm around your shoulders). Will tells Emily that they need to stick together because hospitals can be just as cutthroat as high school, something Emily is not really happy to hear.

ICYMI: ‘Emily Owens, M.D.’ Photo Preview: “Pilot”

As the two head into the locker room, Emily is horrified when Cassandra (King) is there and calls her by her high school nickname, “Pits.” In Emily’s mind, she says all the things she really thinks about Cassandra, but she manages to keep her cool on the outside, even as she fumes when Cassandra and Will seem to hit it off right away. The rivalry between the two women is obviously going to be a running theme throughout the series and both actresses do a nice job with the verbal sparring and death glares that they shoot in each other’s directions. But one thing that I really appreciated about the pilot was that Cassandra is not just the stereotypical bitch (she is a bitch though as she proudly tells Emily), but there is some depth to her character. Again, unlike the stereotype roles, she doesn’t want people to feel sorry for her because she had it rough in life; she’s fine with people seeing her as the mean girl.

ICYMI: Aja Naomi King gets her mean girl on in ‘Emily Owens, M.D.’ preview

Emily meets another resident, Tyra (Kelly McCreary), who is the chief resident’s daughter and she’s also a lesbian, something she is hiding from her father. Tyra wants to help Emily out and give her some advice, but in return, she asks Emily to do a favor for her. I’m not going to spoil it, but let’s just say that there are some really great scenes with Emily and a nurse that are funny, awkward and surprisingly twisty.

Dr. Gina Bandari (Necar Zadegan) is a world-famous cardiothoracic surgeon and she, along with Dr. Micah Barnes (Michael Rady), are in charge of the new interns. While Emily and Micah click right away, Gina is not impressed with the new resident, even after she performs a life-saving procedure on a young girl. While Dr. Bandari was one of the characters that was not very well fleshed out in the pilot, we do learn a lot about Micah’s backstory and he has one of the most emotional scenes in the episode and Rady handles it perfectly with an understated and completely moving performance.

My biggest complaint about the pilot probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has read my recaps in the past (or my TV Source bio). Like Dr. Bandari, we weren’t given much information about Will, other than the fact that he went to school with Emily and she has a massive crush on him. Will is in a lot of scenes and the best is the one (that also made me want to put my hands over my eyes because I felt so bad for Emily) where Emily admits to Will that she has feelings for him and Hartley nailed the reaction of someone completely caught off guard by his best friend’s confession. But I am optimistic that the show will give us more in depth looks at both Will and Dr. Bandari in future episodes.

“Emily Owens, M.D.” officially premieres on Tuesday, Oct. 16 on The CW, but you can catch the pilot online beginning Monday, Oct. 1.

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Mandy Treccia
Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that.

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