Nick Genes is probably the nicest man in the entire world. No one else would be as kind to the new NBC show "The Night Shift" than somebody who has an unending ability to forgive mistakes. Let me assure you, I’m not the nicest man in the world. Having now watched the first two episodes, the only thing I can honestly do is beat my head into a wall and vomit.

Let’s just talk about the acting. They have a lead who couldn’t deliver a line with pathos if we yanked a string tied around his testicles. We have a female lead who, as stereotypically, can’t let go of this Neanderthal buffoon. To refer to Dr. T.C. Callahan as a Neanderthal is an insult to Neanderthals everywhere. He would be a Neanderthal if he had better pectoral muscles. Talk about needing a loincloth at a club- this guy takes the cake.

What they really do is move emergency medicine back 30 years. But for some reason, which is not totally explained, the hero (antihero?) has been kicked out of the US Army Medical Corps for comments made in Afghanistan. It would have been kinder to all of us if they’d just shot him.

We now find him in the first episode punching out a hospital administrator, then within five minutes taking advice from this administrator- a would-be, wannabe doctor who’s losing his vision, who’s giving this doctor neurosurgical advice in the middle of an operation. Right, this is going to happen. Right after monkeys fly out of my ass.

If you view this show as entertainment, maybe you’d also like professional wrestling, or the Transformer movies. To find a redeeming social value in this effort is extremely difficult.

In summary, I’ve seen better acting in high productions of “Our Town.” I’ve seen better science everywhere, including from congressmen. To think that this show does anything for or about emergency medicine would be a slap to all of us. 

Greg Henry, MD, writes the "Oh Henry" column for Emergency Physicians Monthly.


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