Malpractice continues a strong run of recent UK medical and police dramas
“It all comes back to the drugs”
Running in the same vein as This Is Going To Hurt and Maternal rather than the late Holby City, ITV’s Malpractice takes a grittier, more despairing look at life as in the medical profession, albeit this time with less of a focus on the NHS as a beleagured institution per se. Written by Grace Ofori-Attah, it focuses on the trials and tribulations of Dr Lucinda Edwards, who loses an opioid overdose patient during a hectic shift and finds herself embroiled in all sorts of a medical scandal.
That said, the show manages the not inconsiderable feat of blending a grittier tone with soap-like twists and turns. It certainly takes itself seriously but I’d argue it is campier than that, even as it delves deeper and deeper into the seedy underground of Yorkshire society. We see Edwards’ career come increasingly under threat as the investigation into the death uncovers inconvenient secrets she can’t keep hidden but at the same time, it emerges she isn’t the only one with huge amounts to hide.
Niamh Algar is an actress new to me and she impresses at the head of the cast here, brusque and brittle as the harried doctor having to make massive decisions under pressure. There’s also good work from Priyanka Patel and Scott Chambers as her underlings Dr Ramya Morgan and Dr Oscar Beattie whose fluctuating relationships with Edwards prove instrumental in the progress of the investigation and thus, the future of her career. Helen Behan and Jordan Kouamé also impressing as the investigating doctors.
To say much more risks spoiler territory but even as it gets grimmer and grimmer for Edwards, particularly as a wife and mother as well as a doctor, the show maintains an air of irreality which borders, for me at least, on that dose of camp that I find highly enjoyable. Perhaps one to take week-by-week rather than binged in toto.