The Night Shift follows the personal and professional lives of the medical staff at a hospital in San Antonio. It premiered in May 2014 and was quickly picked up for a second season. The cast is an appealing mix of returning favorites and attractive newcomers. Eoin Macken, a former model, plays TC Callahan. TC is returning to work after a stint in the military and is having trouble adjusting to normal life. Freddy Rodriguez plays an administrator who was forced to give up on his dream of being a doctor; he struggles daily with feelings of failure due to his interactions with people who managed to achieve a goal that eluded him.
Cast and Characters
Kenneth Leung is an emergency surgeon who, like Macken’s character, has military experience. Jeananne Goosen is the resident beauty. Paul Cummings, who is played by Robert Bailey Jr., is a bright-eyed youngster who is high-strung and eager to please. Jill Flint plays the chief resident for the night team, and Daniella Alonso rounds out the cast as the on-staff psychiatrist. Scott Wolf makes a welcome return to television in the recurring role of Scott Clemmens.
What Is The Night Shift About?
The character of TC Callahan makes an immediate impression in the pilot when he establishes himself as a doctor who is unwilling to play by the rules. In the army, he did whatever he had to do to survive and help others do so as well. As a doctor, red tape often prevents him from doing what he perceives to be the right thing, and he resents being forced to compromise his values for the sake of bureaucracy. He has a significant idealist streak that makes him appear naive at times. For example, he becomes angry when told that he cannot treat uninsured patients. His feelings of displacement are exacerbated when he learns that he will be working under his ex-girlfriend Jordan Alexander, who is chief of the night shift. He begins dating psychiatrist Landry de la Cruz, which is bound to blow up in his face eventually. As for Landry, she cannot prevent herself from being attracted to TC even though she knows better. After all, part of her job is mediating similar situations between members of the medical staff.
As the series progresses, TC is revealed to have a serious gambling problem. He owes a great deal of money to his coworker Topher. TC once again shows his idealism by trying to arrange a heart transplant from a brain-dead donor who is still living but will likely die soon. Those kinds of arrangements, while logically sound, violate hospital policy, and TC does not have the authority to facilitate such a major agreement. The situation strikes a chord with TC because he is friends with the patient who needs the heart. Nick, his friend, had previously received a heart from TC’s dead brother, and TC wants to save him a second time. When the brain-dead patient is taken off life support, he manages to breathe on his own; his heart is no longer an option for Nick.
The Night Shift begins to find itself more and more as its short first season progresses. The series balances absurd medical emergencies with real human emotions. In the third episode, the team works to re-attach a man’s severed hand after extracting it from the stomach of the pig that has eaten it. A woman needs a blood transfusion from her sister, but her sister refuses to give blood because of the ongoing affair between her husband and the sister who needs the blood. As these issues resolve, Krista finds out that Drew is gay and promises to keep it a secret. A doctor makes an inconsequential decision that triggers a domino effect and ends up putting a patient’s life at risk.
Sometimes, the show is light on plot and instead focuses on the relationships between the characters. TC regrets breaking up with Jordan, but Jordan seems happy with her new boyfriend, Scott. The doctors form their own reluctant quasi-dysfunctional family. Whether they like each other or not, they share life-changing experiences and spend most of their time together. They are real people who make mistakes just like everyone else — except their mistakes have potentially huge consequences.
In the first season finale, the staff has to work to save both Topher and the man who has shot him. Jordan and Ragosa deal with the emotional quagmire of being forced to do no harm to the man who has possibly killed their friend. To make matters worse, the shooter has also killed a lab technician. Due to crowding in the emergency room, Jordan treats the shooter without assistance. When the shooter dies, Jordan is accused of deliberately allowing his condition to worsen. In a moment of extreme stress, TC uncovers the repressed memory that has been haunting him ever since he left military life: He finally remembers that he failed to kill the child sniper who fatally shot his brother. He now understands that his rage is due to his deep-seated guilt over not protecting his brother. He looks to Jordan for comfort. Their connection still runs deep even though they are in relationships with other people.
What the Fans Think
The Night Shift first aired as a last-minute summer replacement, and its renewal is a testament to the viewers who religiously seek out new episodes. Some watch The Night Shift online to recap previous episodes before the new season. Fans appreciate the specific emphasis on military doctors while enjoying the comfortable elements they recognize from classic medical dramas. The current political climate adds resonance to a show that touches on military life. People connect with the show’s characters, who experience normal milestones and feelings despite their unique life situations. As The Night Shift enters its second season, fans grow increasingly eager to see how their favorite characters will emerge from the events of last season’s finale.