When you're working in a hospital, there are two worlds. The daytime world, that's filled with your Nurse Jackies and your House M.D.s. Then there's the nighttime world, which is filled with draculas and frankensteins. Or something. I'm not exactly sure what the difference is between the day shift and the night shift—other than hours—but I assume The Night Shift totally gets it right.
It's truly a feat to be able to watch a forty-plus minute episode of television and wonder every single time the lead character is on the screen, "Why won't they just fire you?!?" It took at least five and half or six seasons of House for me to get to that level of intolerance. Playing by your own rules is often par for the course when you're just too brilliant for everyone else, but if you've been fired from even the Army for being too much of a dick, maybe you're the problem? Nah, probably not. Go ahead and keep doing you. That's probably for the best.
The Night Shift stars Eion Macken (pretty Sir Gwaine from Merlin) as T.C., an Army doctor-turned-San Antonio doctor who likes to get in fights, bet (and lose) on baseball, and boop his superior/ex-live-in-girlfriend, Jordan (played by Jill Flint, who I've always liked whenever she shows up on The Good Wife) on the nose. T.C. is supposedly a cooler name than "House," I suppose, but when you're trying to be as cool as T.C., you're not cool. He has PTSD dreams and drives a motorcycle, so he's troubled, you know?
Jordan is promoted from the day shift where the normies work to interim chief of the night shift, and let me tell you, the night shifters do not respect her at all. Even Cuddy only really had House to worry about; it's not like Foreman was going to drive a car into her house.
However, she's not the stick in the mud the night shifters (now it just sounds like I'm talking about monsters) have to be worried about. Not when Michael Ragosa (Freddy Rodriguez), superintendent of the night shift and a real party pooper, is here. Get this—he doesn't want to treat patients who can't pay. He doesn't think the hospital should be run like a free clinic.
Like... Can you even believe this guy?
Luckily, T.C.'s around to tell him how terrible he is for wanting to keep the hospital from going bankrupt, instead of, I don't know, just moving on and working at a free clinic (I mean, his heart is telling him yes, I'm sure, but his gambling debts are probably telling him no). Somehow T.C. even gets away with punching Ragosa—despite being told 30 seconds before he does so that he's on his last chance—because he's just too damn good of a doctor. Things are just so different in the night shift. I mean, not the patients or the medical cases of the week, but the vibe is different, you know?
And there are just so many different faces!
There's Drew (Roswell's Brendan Fehr), an Army medic turned surgeon, who's into MMA and also being gay. Well, I'm not sure if he's into being gay, since he's deep in the closet, but you know what I mean. His sexuality is a big secret, but T.C. is able to figure it out, being the smartest person there and all, and he thinks Drew should come out. You know, because that's totally T.C.'s call to make, right? Drew's afraid to come out because he's still in the Army, but nope. T.C.'s right.
Then there's Topher (Ken Leung, who some people would say is from Lost, but I always say is from Rush Hour), who also did Army things, because you know what? Why not? Army has half days, right? Army day shift plus hospital night shift forever!
Daniella Alonso plays a lady doctor named Landry, and she is the night shift's psychiatrist. These crazies definitely need a shrink, am I right? Despite her being named Landry, I don't suppose anyone will ever mistakenly call her "Lance." Then again, I don't suppose anyone will ever mistake this show for Friday Night Lights. Also, she's "banging" (her words, surprisingly not mine) T.C.
This would never happen on the day shift.
There are also two newbie residents, and one is absolutely terrible at his job while the other is a female. I wonder who will advance first. Oh, that wasn't me shoehorning a social commentary. That was me getting retroactively upset about early season Scrubs. Plus, the female resident gets prostituted out to another doctor in this first episode of the series. I don't make the rules.
Then again, in the night shift, there are no rules. Just look at their break room/roof:
There is a keg. Of beer. These doctors drink on their breaks. In the middle of the night. Night shift!
And now, without further ado, the 10 most night shifty exchanges from The Night Shift (in order of appearance):
- Medic: "Holy crap. It's working! Where'd you learn that?"
- Jordan: "Are you fighting again?"
T.C.: "I didn't start this one."
Jordan: "You never do."
- Ragosa: "The night shift is not like your day shift. It's an undisciplined zoo."
- Jordan: "Uh, can I help you?"
Mental Patient: "Yes! Matt Damon is trying to kill me."
Landry: "You know Matt Damon. Bourne Identity, Good Will Hunting."
Mental Patient: "The Talented Mr. Ripley. People always forget he was in that one."*
- Landry: "This shift is a little Lord of the Flies."
- T.C.: "Forget all of the stuff you learned at med school, 'cause we're gonna show you stuff they didn't teach you."
- Jordan: "God, T.C.! Did you not learn anything from being kicked out of the Army?"
- Jordan: "Please don't fire him. Because medically speaking, he is irreplaceable"
Ragosa: "Everybody can be replaced."
Jordan: "Not T.C."
- Ragosa: "Why is it so hard for you people to understand that if we keep treating everybody for free, we will go bankrupt?"
Topher: "Because we're the ones dealing with the people, not you!"
- Doctor: "Your vision is definitely deteriorating. When was the last time you had corrective surgery?"
Ragosa: "It's been awhile. Not since med school."
Doctor: "Oh, you're an MD too?"
Ragosa: "No, I had to quit. You really can't perform surgery when you can't see that well."
* They proceed to talk about The Talented Mr. Ripley.
Bonus points to the adult doctors on this show who make up fake patients like "Dick Hurtz," "Anita Lay," and "Sum Yun Guy" because they don't like 21st century concepts like tablets or doing their jobs. Classic night shift.
Also, who needs clarification on who Matt Damon is? What kind of universe does this "night shift" take place in?