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Medium (2005)
Creator: Glenn Gordon Caron

review by Eric Turowski

Patricia Arquette stars as real-life psychic Allison Dubois (who acts as consultant) in Medium, a new spook-fest on NBC Monday nights at 10 p.m. Allison talks to the dead, and sees murders in her dreams, then must try to dig up evidence against killers in the real world. Conversely, the law enforcement officials she works with work backward, trying to interpret her visions to useful ends. There's your main plot-thrust in a nutshell, and an effective one - at least in the first few episodes. Allison is also a wife and mother of two young girls, with a realistically portrayed chaotic home life.

This show also has the distinction of being one of the most gruesome currently airing, with copious amounts of blood usually unseen even in the CSI franchise. The grue seems more on track with the documentary emergency room shows on the science channels, so put the little ones to bed. In an episode from the first season, Allison is teamed-up with Detective Lee Scanlon (David Cubitt), a cop who seems to have a similar psychic bend. Obsessed with the murder of his sister and brother-in-law, ruled a murder/suicide, Scanlon pursues cases with similar MOs; murder/suicides of couples married just over a year. Allison's boss, District Attorney Devalos (Miguel Sandoval) brings her in as Scanlon's 'task force'. Scanlon, sceptical of Allison's abilities, remains unhappy about the partnership even though she is the only other person who believes his hunch that the couples were murdered by a third person. Since neither visions nor hunches can find a suspect, Devalos decides to close the cases.

Then a husband brought in for killing his wife describes being held at gunpoint by a man in a ski mask, who claimed to perform 'social experiments.' The masked assailant demanded the husband shoot his wife if he wanted to live. Given a gun that felt very light, the husband pulled the trigger, believing the gun to be empty. And it was, but the masked man shot the wife, leaving the husband with a dead body and a crazy story. Unless, of course, you were looking for a man shooting young married couples.

In this episode, the heavy-handed visions and symbolism disappointingly give away the culprit in the first half-hour. But the writers tone it down in other episodes. In another first-season show, for example, Allison feels victorious having picked a jury who would send a deranged killer to death row, only to find that the man on trial was not the man in her dreams. Allison's six-year-old, Bridgette (Maria Lark), also seems to share her mother's talent for talking to the dead (scary music up).

Medium features excellent writing and acting, interesting plots and weird humour as it explores the line between what Allison knows (or think she knows) and how the police must go about proving it. And while her psychic gift is portrayed as being nearly infallible, Alison's interpretations are not always dead-on. This is a great show, so go watch it.
Patricia Arquette in Medium





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