Picks and Pans Review: Chicago Hope

updated 09/19/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/19/1994 01:00AM

CBS (Sun., Sept. 18, 10 p.m. ET)

A-

This drama series from writer-producer David E. Kelley (Picket Fences) focuses on the surgical staff at Chicago's Hope Hospital. The principal characters are the tempestuous but brilliant Dr. Geiger (Mandy Patinkin), who likes to listen to classic soul music and sing along in a reedy falsetto while in the O.R., and his best friend, the more levelheaded but repressed Dr. Shutt (Northern Exposure's Adam Arkin). The cast also includes Hector Elizondo, Roxanne Hart, Peter MacNicol and TV veteran E.G. Marshall.

Though the show leans a little heavily on ethical issues and its harried doctors are far too devoted to the personal welfare of their patients, Patinkin and Arkin are dynamic. Intelligent, fleet, emotionally complex and lightly dusted with Kelley's celebrated sense of the absurd, this is the best hospital show since St. Elsewhere. After this preview the series moves to its regular slot: Thursdays at 10 p.m.

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