Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The female-centric medical series Strong Medicine launches its first season as Dr. Lydia Emerson, played by series cocreator Whoopi Goldberg) somewhat forcibly negotiates a merger between the financially strapped South Philadelphia storefront clinic run by the feisty and outspoken Dr. Lu Delgado (Rose Blasi) and the upscale Rittenhouse Women's Health Clinic, directed by the prim, Harvard-educated Dr. Dana Stowe (Janine Turner). The instinct-driven Lu and the rule-bound Dana don't get along at first--nor, for that matter, do they get along at second, at third, or at home--forever clashing over procedural matters and bedside manners. Despite this, the ladies develop a grudging respect for one another, and by season's end they could almost be called close friends. In the course of Season One's 22 episodes, Dana develops a romantic relationship with the clinic's egotistical resident Dr. Nick Biancavilla (Brennan Elliott); Lu has issues with her fatherless son Marc (played in the pilot by Paul Robert Santiago, and in the series proper by Chris Marquette, who attends a tough inner-city school; the clinic's dazzlingly handsome but overly sensitive male nurse Peter (Josh Coxx) gets into a variety of pickles with his more eccentric patients, and at one point decides to supplement his income by working as a male model (the producers of this series certainly understand their target audience!); Rittenhouse's chief of staff Dr. Jackson (Philip Casnoff) is suspected of abusing his wife, only to be cleared when it turns out that Mrs. Jackson's many bruises are a result of the early stages of MS; and the clinic's snide, abrasive receptionist Lana (Jenifer Lewis) is given a new perspective on her prickly relationship with her clients when she ends up hospitalized herself. Highlight episodes include the two-parter "BRCA", built around the clinic's Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend; the Christmas-season "Blessed Events", wherein Dr. Jackson fires a kitchen employee for drunkenness, only to find out that woman actually suffers from MLS; and the season finale, "Mortality", in which Dana endures a crisis of faith over a "meltdown" in the OR and Lu tends to a woman who has gone on a hunger strike to save her son from execution.