Picks and Pans Review: The Human Factor
Veteran character actor John Mahoney plays the voice of conscience and experience at a Chicago teaching hospital. His doctor character tries to persuade medical students to bond emotionally with their patients. And, boy, do they bond. One goes so far as to lay down a bet on the seventh race at Arlington for a patient about to undergo surgery. Another gets so involved in a case that he forges a husband's signature on a transfusion permission form.
Mahoney is a wonderful actor, but his character is considerably more animated and devoted, more brimming with the milk of human kindness than any doctor I've ever met, including Marcus Welby and Ben Casey. Isn't that what internship is for, to grind these highfalutin idealistic qualities out of prospective doctors? (Then again, Quincy was always more passionate than a coroner had a right to be, and he lasted for years on TV.)
Apart from Mahoney's obligatory attempts to instill his pupils with compassion, this is a generic medical drama with two pathos-freighted cases per episode intended to teach us more about the human heart than other parts of the anatomy.