“Always clean your shoes,” Dr. John Boockvar says. “Families don’t want to see blood on your shoes.”
Taking a quick dab — before going out to talk to the loved ones of a patient whose brain he has just been into — the neurosurgeon (who looks like Paul Rudd if Paul Rudd did age) offers just one of many quotable moments in the new Netflix obsession that is “Lenox Hill.”
A fly-on-the-wall DOC-u-series (sorry, I couldn’t resist) filmed in a hospital on New York’s Upper East Side, taking the pulse of the both the professional and personal as four main doctors wrestle with the twists and turns of their varied patients.
The hustle, the hurt, and the stakes.
In a word? Phenomenal. I was hooked from almost minute one in this series that’s been described, inevitably, as an IRL “Grey’s Anatomy.” Though it did also occur, while making my way through the eight-parter (with one bonus, up-to-the-minute ep added just this week, zeroing in on the response to the coronavirus pandemic), that the series also excels as the un-“Tiger King,” in case you were in the market for something — anything — to restore faith in humanity during these times.
Coming along — serendipitously, of course, because the project was in gestation long before COVID-19 stole the headlines — in a year when people stood to clap en masse for medical workers in various cities around the world, it also seems gift-wrapped for a time when actual celebrities look more superfluous than ever. Also: smaller — like, literally smaller, stuck as they’ve been for so long in their little boxes on Zoom, etc., like all of us.
Not to mention, those stars often fail to rise to the occasion and/or just trip up, tone-wise (give or take a Tom Hanks). Remember when Gal Gadot took it upon herself — like, three days into the pandemic — to round up other celebs to sing “Imagine”? Or when Ellen told the audience from her mansion that being in quarantine was like being “in jail,” or Gisele Bundchen posted a pic of herself on Instagram in front of a waterfall, as she sang the praises of being Zen?
Yeah, “Lenox Hill” is the antidote to all that. The four doctors it trails to soak in the realism? They include — on one side of the action — the aforementioned Dr. Boockvar as well as Dr. David Langer, the hospital’s bonhomie-giving head of neurosurgery. In the maternity wing, meanwhile, we get the charm-bomb that is Dr. Amanda Little-Richardson as Lenox Hill’s chief obstetrics resident, while Dr. Mirtha Macri — imagine “Ugly Betty” grown up — specializes in emergency medicine.