Body of Proof: Season 3
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Dana Delany is back as Dr. Megan Hunt, facing her greatest challenge yet in ABC's BODY OF PROOF: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON. In the wake of Inspector Peter Dunlop's death, Megan returns to work to find her new partner is an old flame. Will her history with Detective Tommy Sullivan make working side by side impossible? Their search for justice becomes even more personal when a serial killer takes Megan's daughter, Lacey, hostage. Get ready for a season of provocative twists and turns all leading up to the ultimate mystery of Megan's life. The stakes are higher and the thrills are bigger than ever in ABC's BODY OF PROOF: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON, complete with never-before-seen bonus features only available on DVD!
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But Season Three turned out to be the death of "Body of Proof", killed by the inevitable banality into which Hollywood sinks every original, creative and intelligent program it produces. I am so glad I was short on cash, and so checked out Season Three from the public library. It would have been such a waste of money to buy it.
Banality is exactly what has diluted "Body of Proof" into just another "CSI"-clone. Which means it is not one big mistake, but a long series of little changes that gradually diminish anything that would set apart the series until it is reduced to the lowest common denominator of generic popular "crime dramas." "Body of Proof", in Season Three, has gone from being three-dimensional, multi-layered, true to the complexities of life, and reaching to touch paradoxical and ambiguous issues of life in the lives of real persons, warts and all, to become banal -- blandly flat and predictable, lacking any conviction or determination, content to fit in with the crowd of "crime dramas." There is far less science (and the science has become simplistic and even "magical") and far more car chases and shoot-outs. There is less reason and more violence. Less deductive crime solving and more "shoot-from-the-hip" cowboy-police "intuition." To accomodate this banality in concept, the characters have been flattened from complex, interesting, conflicted three-dimensional persons to flat, two-dimensional "types" who act in predictable, "typical" behavior. This has made Megan Hunt into nothing more than a nasty shrew with an inflated ego and a pathological obsession about her father's death (that obsession being one of the two story lines throughout the Third Season, the other being her "mysterious" past and revival of a love affair that began twenty years ago in New York with the new cardboard cut-out detective character, Tommy Sullivan). Banality has no place for the depths and subtlties of a mother-daughter relationship, so Lacey simply fades away into the background until she is completely gone, while Megan's mother pops in now and then to rant at Megan to leave her father's suicide alone and "get over it." Dr. Ethan Gross and Dr. Curtis Bromfield are reduced to predictable, flat foils for Megan whose role is to fill in the missing science with "news" from the lab or from off-camera autopsies -- thus getting rid of all that heady and egg-head science stuff in a few lines of dialogue and a few rapid leaps to conclusions, so Tommy and Megan can go out and fight the bad guys. Dr. Kate Murphy is collapsed into "eye candy," a sex object with brains. It in the Third Season that we have an -- admittedly hot and steamy -- sex scene in which Jeri Ryan is stripped down to her scant black lace bra and panties to have rough sex with a Ukrainian man of mystery. (Okay, Jeri Ryan getting passionate in barely-there black lace bra and panties, offering lots of "jiggle-room" up top, may actually be worth the whole rest of the season, even if it lasts just a few minutes!) But that also is banality: in the first two seasons, Kate is the respected Dr. Murphy, chief medical examiner, scientist, artist -- respected for her brains despite her body. In Season Three, she is reduced to sexy Kate Murphy, now a political animal seeking election to congress and letting that distract her from her work as scientist and medical examiner. And of course, that means we have to throw in the generic sleezy politican, in this case a district attorney who sponsors Kate's candidacy as a means to build his own political image, who tempts Kate down his own path of double-dealing, little white lies, and corruption "for the greater good" -- "how the game is played."
This is what banality is and does; and it has totally compromised "Body of Proof."
But the real root of the banality has a name: Det. Tommy Sullivan. Tommy Sullivan is a stereotype "hardboiled detective" right out of a bad crime novel. He has had a long and stormy career, for most of his life with the New York Police Dept., from which he departed under mysterious and suspicious circumstances, only to turn up now as a detective with the Philadelphia PD. By sheer coincidence (and so conveniently) in his years as an NYPD cop he had some sort of wild and somehow hurtful love arffair with Megan Hunt that broke up in an explosively bad way that left deep emotional scars in Megan and a pathetic torch burning for her in Tommy's heart. Tommy Sullivan is a cartoon: middle-aged, tough, craggy, prone to violence, proudly "old school" and so defiantly dismissive of technological advances in criminology, terse, taciturn, rough and crude -- a well-practiced crack shot with a pistol who never misses where he aims --- and down deep really a good guy with a heart of gold who (for some imporbable and inexplicable reason) is exactly the guy Megan really needs to fulfill her life. (I am left wondering what kind of role model step-father Tommy would be for the budding teenage Lacey, but then, Lacey has faded away so we don't really need to care.) The character of Tommy Sullivan pushes everyone except Megan to the side; he is the main "dummy-down" factor of Season Three, who drags Megan herself down to his level. There is nothing interesting in and everything predictable about Det. Tommy Sullivan -- which makes writing the show so much simpler.
I miss Peter Dunlop, Det. Bud Morris and his partner Det. Samantha "Sam" Baker, and the character with so much promise and potential, Danni Alverez. These characters were either killed off (Danni; Peter) or shipped off (Bud into retirement, Sam to join the FBI) precisely because they were real people, with real lives and real relationships, troubles and problems and conflicts with which we all could identify. These were characters who extended beyond a simplistic "CSI-Philly" cartoon. These were characters who gave Megan and Kate and Ethan and Curtis and even Lacey comrades and competitiors to build an increasingly complex and interesting community of interacting, believeable people about whom you cared, where for an hour the boundary between fiction and real life blended a bit. This ensemble of characters with Megan at the helm but by no means in control made "Body of Proof" worth watching.
I have checked out Season Three from the library and watched it through three different times now, and I am still disappointed in it and bored by it. Even the solution to the mystery of the death of Megan's father is rather anti-climactic and cartoonish. I am not even going to bother with Season Four.
Featuring new characters and deeper plot featuring more action and more edgier storylines featuring the character of Dr. Megan Hunt becoming much more closer to the cases than ever before.
And now the three-disc DVD set of "Body of Proof: The Complete Third Season" will be released in June 2013 courtesy of abc studios.
"Body of Proof: The Complete Third Season" features 13 episodes on three DVD's. Here is a basic summary of each episode (Spoilerless summaries):
EPISODE 30 - Abducted (Part 1) - Megan returns to work after the death of Peter and a serial killer is terrorizing the city. Meanwhile, an old boyfriend of Megan returns to Philadelphia and works at the Philadelphia Homicide Department.
EPISODE 31 - Abducted (Part 2) - Megan's daughter is being kidnapped and the race is on to find her. But can she trust people who are close to her?
EPISODE 32 - Lost Souls - Megan must work on a case in which a young girl appears to be possessed. Is she?
EPISODE 33 - Mob Mentality - Megan and Tommy must work together to investigate who killed a mob leader's son.
EPISODE 34 - Eye for an Eye - Megan and Tommy investigate two murders that may have been killed by a vigilante.
EPISODE 35 - Fallen Angel - Kate falls for a man named Sergei, but he may be involved in a Russian human trafficking ring.
EPISODE 36 - Skin & Bones - Strange rabies are happening around the city and Tommy gets bit by a man.
EPISODE 37 - Doubting Tommy - Megan sees Tommy talking to a young woman, who ends up dead the following day. Did Tommy kill her?
EPISODE 38 - Disappearing Act - A wealthy fund manager on trial is kidnapped and murdered.
EPISODE 39 - Committed - Megan wants to know how her father died and wants her father's body exhumed which her mother refuses.
EPISODE 40 - Dark City - A plane crashes in Philadelphia and everyone must go in disaster mode.
EPISODE 41 - Breakout - A convicted inmate escapes from a prison transport van and he comes to Megan for help to prove that he wasn't responsible for killing the woman he loved.
EPISODE 42 - Daddy Issues - THE FINAL EPISODE - When Megan's father's body is exhumed, the coffin is empty. Who killed Megan's father?
VIDEO & AUDIO:
"Body of Proof: The Complete Third Season" is presented in Widescreen (1:78:1) - Enhanced for 16×9 televisions. This is one of the few drama series on television where a lot of the scenes are shot outdoors, to there is good natural lighting and the series does look good on DVD. I didn't see any major noise or compression artifacts. For the most part, the seventh season does look very good on DVD.
As for audio, the series is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and the series is primarily dialogue and music driven. Dialogue is clear and understandable, while the music has always played a major part for the series and definitely enhances certain scenes. Did notice the surround used in scenes with cutting of flesh (during surgery) which was quite clear. There are a few mild action sequences but for the most part, this is a dialogue-driven drama series.
The show is presented in English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
"Body of Proof: The Complete Third Season" includes the following special features:
Getting the Shot - (4:17) The cast talk about Patrick Cady, DP Director of Photography and Patrick talks about his job and what he wants to accomplish with each episode.
VFX The Ultimate Makeover - (3:11) The VFX crew discuss the post-effects used for "Body of Proof" and how they used visual effects to make the city look like Philadelphia and removing any trace of Los Angeles (ie. palm trees) from the series. Also adding blood and guts for season three and more.
All Kinds of Props - (5:32) Because there are more investigative scenes for season three, more props are used and this featurette goes into the props used for season three.
Creating the World - (5:30) The crew that creates the world for "Body of Proof" and creating Philadelphia in Los Angeles and went into creating the episodes for season three.
Body of Goofs - (3:29) Featuring the burning down a house for an episode and what was involved in the creation of that scene.
"Body of Proof: The Complete Third Season" comes with a slipcover case.
The final third season of "Body of Proof" was a season that would describe as action-packed, edgy and writers and cast putting it all on the line to see if this new direction will receive the green light for a fourth season.
Unfortunately, Dana Delany has confirmed on Twitter that the show has been canceled, as fans who have supported the series have hoped that a new home on cable would be found.
With that being said, my feeling of the third season is quite positive. I felt the new direction was a good way to reboot the series featuring a more colder Megan Hunt, new characters and to focus on more action-driven, edgier storylines. But the problem is whether or not people would accept it.
Similar to "Castle" which features a novelist hanging around and helping out an investigator/law enforcement, "Body of Proof" went that same direction by featuring Megan Hunt now being involved in a variety of situations that most medical examiners never have to worry about. From her daughter being kidnapped, from assisting an investigator and taking part in subduing a criminal, to having an escaped convicted felon breaking into her car with a gun to her head, a possibly possessed woman and an airplane going down near the city. Meanwhile worrying about how her father really died and wanting to pursue it, as she doesn't believe her father died of suicide.
In a nutshell, this describes the adventures of Megan Hunt for season three.
You just don't really find medical examiners getting themselves into this much trouble and constantly around investigators during their investigations.
But of course, this is television, where things don't have to equate necessarily to actual reality. Action-packed and dark storylines tend to be the norm and what people want to see, along with very good acting and a solid storyline.
The changes made for the third season was necessary. I felt there had to be a change with characters and I really liked the chemistry between Megan Hunt and Det. Tommy Sullivan was there and Dana Delany and actor Mark Valley clicked on camera,
I felt how they included Ethan Gross and Curtis Brumfield to the storyline was much better as they stayed behind-the-scenes and unlike Megan, got involved in action-scenes, it just didn't feel right to see these people trying to hide from criminals as their jobs are pretty much restricted to lab or on the field of duty.
And as for Kate Murphy, the character pursuing a political career is actually conceivable and the conflict between her interested in the field and pursuing politics worked well for her character. A much better storyline than last year's story of Kate dating Megan's ex-husband.
Another positive aspect of season three along with the addition of Det. Tommy Sullivan is the addition of Det. Adam Lucas. These two partners seemed right on television versus Detective Bud Morris and Detective Samantha Baker. Past seasons, I felt the two characters were not integrated well into the series. Season one felt like comedy, season two they started to make these characters quite right for doing their job and for season three, integrating these characters for every homicide and have them take part in the action/drama was important. It took three seasons for the writers to get it right and I was pleased with how the detectives were utilized!
And one final positive aspect to add to Megan Hunt's personality is by showing a vulnerable side to her. And this is by featuring more of her mother Joan Hunt and her daughter Lacey. The storyline about mother and daughter but also her past of losing her father and looking into his murder.
Once again, something that is similar to "Castle" but with the "Castle" storyline being much bigger and corrupt, with this situation, at least it ties itself up by the final episode.
As for the DVD release, picture quality for "Body of Proof" is very good, dialogue is clear and understandable and there are several special features included with the third season DVD set.
I'm not sure if the creators or writers anticipated a possibility that "Body of Proof" would not be coming back for a fourth season, but since this is a final season, the good news is that the series does answer a lot of questions in regards to how Megan Hunt's father had died and the series ends with an outcome that fans of the series can be content with.
I felt the cast and the writers did everything possible within their limits to making an exciting and enjoyable third season but the fact is that television is changing and there are more options of entertainment that people can tune into. "Body of Proof" didn't do poorly in the ratings, it actually does better than other series that are still on television but for ABC, whatever reason they chose not to continue it, may it be due to the cost per episode or their ratings barometer is too high, this was the best season of "Body of Proof" and I enjoyed it.
I'm grateful to Dana Delany, Jeri Ryan, Geoffrey Arend, Windell Middlebrooks, Mary Mouser and many others from the cast and crew for three enjoyable seasons. They battled hard to keep the series on air but in the end, they delivered when it came to giving one hell of an exciting season for the audience.
So for those who have followed and purchased each of the first two seasons of "Body of Proof", this final third season is a worthy purchase to close out the series.
"Body of Proof: The Complete Third Season" is recommended!
I have liked each episode so far and the plots are interesting and entertaining. I like the suspense involved concerning Megan's father. Did he kill himself? Did someone else kill him? Why isn't Megan's mother concerned about her husbands death? Did she kill him?
And what ever happened to Sam and Bud from season 1 & 2?