Alynda Wheat's Beat Cop: 'Three Rivers' might need some CPR

My name is Alynda and I am an organ donor. There, now everybody knows and we don’t have to go through any confusion or sticky sitches in the hospital, Three Rivers-style. What did you think of the Rivers debut, the few of you who watched it? (If you missed it, by the way, you can catch it here.) I’m still trying to decide if I’m giving it too much leeway because star Alex O’Loughlin is in my imaginary-boyfriend stable (and we’re pretty serious, with his having met my mom and all). But I’ll try to be objective.

Let’s start with the set-up: Three Rivers is about a Pittsburgh clinic with a top organ-transplant team. Since this isn’t your typical hospital show, there can’t be the usual two patient arcs. No, we need a donor and a recipient, right? So there will frequently be at least four different threads unraveling at the beginning of every episode. That’s a lot of juggling of people that, by definition, we don’t know. They’re going to need to work on streamlining those narrative arcs, because with this week’s construction chief, pregnant woman, her head-wounded husband, spelling-bee kid, and the African naif by way of Omaha, there was a lot of information floating our way, with not a lot of sense of where it was going.

Still, I’m willing to see where this show is headed—and not just because of O’Loughlin, whom I will forever remember as Moonlight’s deliciously tortured vampire Mick St. John. We could be in for some nice action sequences during sweeps, trying to get organs to recipients in time, and from my interview with O’Loughlin, his character Andy is going to be something of a rebel rock star, a Doug Ross (George Clooney) of free-floating hearts and disarticulated livers.

I’m a little worried about other characters, though, particularly Miranda Foster (The L Word‘s Katherine Moenning). In the sliver of characterization we got in the premiere, we learned her father was a hot-shot surgeon and colleague of her boss in the hospital where she’s trying to make her way. That’s a Meredith Grey alert if I’ve ever heard one and our first foray into the Procedural Chop Shop, wherein old plots, characters, and themes get busted up and sold for parts, to be used on other shows. It so did not help that she’s fighting expectations to live up to her dad, had an unhappy family life, and seems quick to make wrong-headed but well-meant decisions. Essentially, she begins to remind me of the reasons why I dropped Grey’s Anatomy a year ago. Three Rivers will get my eyeballs for one more episode, though, out of gratitude that Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: The Next Generation) played the construction chief’s wife. But I may be in thin company—the show attracted a mere 9 million viewers Sunday night.

Law & Order

Three Rivers wasn’t our only tour through the Procedural Chop Shop, though. We had all sorts of hot parts running through the primetime schedule, particularly with L&O tossing Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) in the sack with a material witness in a case. Did that remind anyone else of the Without A Trace arc where Martin (Eric Close) boyfriended a woman who turned out to be the murderer in a case he was on? Martin’s dalliance ended up dead, while Lupo’s practically qualified for an involuntary commitment after she claimed she’d slept with every man in the courtroom, from the judge to ADA Cutter (Linus Roache). That was a disappointment, though. When she whipped around to the judge, trying to implicate him in her scheme, I thought she was boldly crafty. But when she went after Cutter, it was obvious she was just nuts. Oh well. And what did I tell you about the show trying to throw Emmy-worthy arcs the actors’ way? Epatha Merkerson was deeply affecting in talking about her cervical cancer diagnosis, however briefly. She will, however, need more space to flesh out that arc.

The Mentalist

Lisbon’s (Robin Tunney) in the Chop Shop too, y’all. She’s seeing the in-house shrink after having a gun pointed at her, not unlike Booth’s (David Boreanaz) psych sessions with Stephen Fry on Bones after he shot a clown head and dropped a dude from a window. As the previews suggest (and I can confirm, having watched the episode), she’s implicated in the murder of a pedophile she put away some years back, only she can’t remember the night it happened. Christian Clemson, a favorite of mine from The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. and Boston Legal, plays the doc in a role that doesn’t begin to explore the limits of his range. One thing I can tell you without getting too spoilery is that Terry Kinney’s Agent Bosco gets significantly less cartoonishly malevolent in this episode, a welcome change (and a fine example for the scribes at SVU on where to take Christine Lahti’s character). It sat very ill with me that he waltzed onto the show belittling Jane (Simon Baker). He may hate Jane’s phony-psychic past, but the man is still a crime victim. A modicum of empathy would not be out of line.

The last bit of evidence out of the Chop Shop was on CSI: NY, with their Grave Digger plot. Didn’t Bones have one of those too (albeit, spelled Gravedigger)? This Grave Digger (Ally McBeal’s Greg Germann) also seemed something of a misnomer, since as a bed-ridden cancer patient he couldn’t actually dig graves. Couldn’t they have come up with something closer to his health-care reform bent? Like the Blue Crossbow? The Public Optioner? The Death Panelist? Aw heck, you try.

What did you think, Coppers? Sticking with Three Rivers? Annoyed that once again, you could see the SVU climax from a country mile away? Satisfied with Ziva’s return on NCIS, or dissatisfied with the way CSI‘s Son of Millander plot played out? And did I really hear Numb3rs correctly? Is Larry (Peter MacNicol) really leaving? Speak your minds. And hey—let’s be careful out there.

Comments (44 total) Add your comment
Page: 1 2
  • mark in nyc

    I don’t think you were watching Three Rivers. It is set in Pittsburgh, not Cleveland. There are three story arcs, the doctor, the donor, and the recipient. Maybe you should stop fantasizing about actors who would want nothing to do with you, and pay attention to your job more.

    • bloodlink

      Did you read this article? She said “Three Rivers is about a Pittsburgh clinic”…???

      So I’m not sure where you got that, but considering the amount of crap flying around the screen -including two, yes two, giant statements of CLEVELAND- it’s easy to confuse anyone. That’s if you weren’t already nauseous from the horrific camera work…

      • coco

        the initial, non-reviewed article said cleveland. the opening credits have pittsburgh’s skyline.

      • Alynda Wheat

        Thanks for coming to my defense, Bloodline, but there was indeed an initial error. The problem with covering 17 procedurals (at last count), is that sometimes I get my facts jumbled. The beauty of the internet machine is that I can correct it pretty quickly. But I really do appreciate your kindness.

    • Jo

      This was the best show I have seen this season. I watched every second while laying on the couch with the flu and wanting my bed so badly. Great Show… Don’t Miss…; And Also, All out there, give it a chance, quit the negativity and just try to enjoy it for the sake of us who love it. just think, No sex, No violence, No filthy language, my golly, how did it ever get on tv??? I loved it.

  • sam

    The show was better than I thought it would be and Alex was excellent, as always. But I confess that I would rather that CBS had used some of the promotion money for Moonlight.

  • Jeannie

    The show started in Cleveland, but is based in Pittsburgh. Hence, three rivers. It wasn’t very good, lacked some kind of spark or something. Also, not to pick, but Pittsburgh natives pronounce Steelers “stillers”.

    • Ace

      I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who noticed the mispronuncation of Stillers. Pittsburgh natives have a very distinct accent, just like people from NYC and Boston. I checked out the show just to see how much they would use the city. I don’t think I’ll be watching next week.

  • warped

    And how disjointed was it that you didn’t realize the show was actually set in Pittsburgh – the Cleveland part was only a side arc to pick up the donor heart.

  • Kyra

    I also checked out Three Rivers because of my lingering affection for Alex O’Loughlin (just wanted to see him again!) but I have to say, I will not be returning.
    This show is substituting high tech gadgetry (are we on the Enterprise bridge or in a transplant meeting) and snazzy camera angles that look great in HD for actual storytelling.
    I was glad to see the shoutout for Next Gen (Marina Sirtis reminded me a bit of Shohreh Agdashloo in her dazzling turn on 24), I will be checking out of 3 Rivers, stat.
    By the way, the Korean girl in L&O, while certifiably crazy, was trapped by Cutter into her final outburst (he whispered to her after the conference in chambers that he wasn’t able to get her a mistrial).

    • Alynda Wheat

      I see what you’re saying re: L&O girl, but why would she take his bait unless she was nuts? A smart woman would’ve realized he was setting her up, right?

  • Ron Richards

    I loved the show. Great message and, despite Ms. Wheat’s misunderstanding of the cities involved, the Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh dichotomy was absolutely brilliant. The only thing better now would be for the transplant recipient to switch her allegiance to the Browns out of respect for her Cleveland donor.

    Criticisms are small. No Pittsburgh accents, that’s for sure, basically just a bunch of beautiful Hollywood people transplanted into Pitt with the occasional reference to a local suburb (e.g. Beaver Falls). Let’s be honest (and I’m from Aliquippa): Don’t nobody from Pittsburgh look that good.

    But I REALLY enjoyed the show and hope that they keep it going.

    • Doris

      I think Ben Roethlisberger looks that good! (And I can spell his name, too!)

    • coco

      hahaha, so true. have run into beautiful people n pittsbugh. another reference, the were supposed to watch the steelers game, really, where are your jerseys!!! in pitt you cant go out on game day without running into 4 out 5 people wearing Steelers gear.

      • coco

        have= have not

  • Christy

    I enjoyed Three Rivers. There was a lot going on, but it’s the first episode and I give TV shows time (hear that, networks!) to get in the groove. If it still hasn’t by the season finale, then we can talk. Until then, I’m sticking with the show. Great message, beautiful sets, cute dialogue and growing chemistry between the actors.

    Give it a chance.

  • Alynda Wheat

    Hey, did you know Cleveland and Pittsburgh are not the same place? Post corrected. Carry on with the flogging.

  • Cleo

    Watched Three Rivers, not bad not great. Camera work was nauseating at times, too choppy and too quick transitions. Just didn’t connect to the characters or the stories. There were four story arcs on Sunday, pregnant woman, black guy, construction guy and the kid who ate metal objects.

  • leo

    I have to watch a couple more to feel their chemistry…but I had to do the same thing with Moonlight and then I was hooked. I will give this one the benefit of the doubt. I liked all the characters (did have a grumble with Miranda’s story being a wee bit too much like Meredith’s). I hope the African man stays around for a while – not that I don’t want him to get a heart but I just think he’ll bring alot to the life of the hospital and will help to flesh out Alex’s role.

    That said I kept looking for Sofia Myles (Beth)…maybe she’ll guest star???

    • Alynda Wheat

      Leo, I think we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed on that, but O’Loughlin and Myles are friends, and talk regularly.

      • leo

        Oh Alynda I would just die! If you have any clout with Alex, PLEASE ask him to suggest it!!!!

      • Alynda Wheat

        Leo, I’ve got no truck with the guy, but he did say that he responds to folks on his MySpace page, so hope that helps.

  • Natalie

    I watched Three Rivers because of Alex O’Loughlin. The lack of Pittsburgh accents is a minor issue. Not everyone is a Pittsburgh native I’m sure, just like everyone from California is not originally from here. I knew someone from Boston who tried to lose her accent, I did it quite effectively. That aside, I thought the pace of the show was good, background stories were lacking because this was suppose to be the second episode, not the first. The interaction of the characters were good, needs more camaraderie scenes to establish bond. Family background stories hinted at, but not fleshed out, give it time. We still have to see Alfre Woodard establish authority. This show is not meant to be airhead tv, it’s suppose to be thought provoking and revelant. They admirably address concerns about donation through the donating family – what if he came out of coma, is he really brain dead, second opinions. Issues of organ matches, length of wait, time is crucial (of the essence), decisions that have to be made immediately whether to transplant or not. If not, chance could be lost for a few months or the chance never comes again.

  • Nicky

    I thought Three Rivers was good. I haven’t seen a hospital show since ER ended. I liked how they showed where the organs and donors came from. I really got into it once it started, and I hope that it gets a full season

  • Lola

    Yes, Alex is pretty. But this show requires its watchers to turn their brains off. 1) A heart transplant recipient wakes up from surgery in her own room sans oxygen/intubation. 2) a “premie” who is supposed to be 28 weeks looks more like a 10 pounder, again with no need of oxygen, and is in his daddy’s arms half-dressed (majority of body heat is through head and shoulders and keeping premies warm is vital). And I’m not even a medical professional (but am a daughter of one). This show was so dumbed-down and required the viewer to do the same. Obviously the budget didn’t allow for a medical advisor? I won’t be back.

  • DanOregon

    I realize Law and Order made its bones by not getting involved in the personal lives of of the leads – that said – the actors are doing a good job with it.
    Got to give some credit to Castle and Lie to Me – two of the more improved shows of the season. Castle’s writing is especially more zingy this year.

  • so

    i thought “three rivers” was too predictible in every possible way, from the look on faces to the lines. Alex is handsome, yes !…but the show needs serious editing, writing and copying other shows is not original at all….very desapointing !

Page: 1 2
Add your comment
The rules: Keep it clean, and stay on the subject - or we may delete your comment. If you see inappropriate language, e-mail us. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field.

When you click on the "Post Comment" button above to submit your comments, you are indicating your acceptance of and are agreeing to the Terms of Service. You can also read our Privacy Policy.

Latest Videos


From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by VIP