Friday, July 16, 2021

REVIEW: 'Dr. Death' - Shughart Figures Out How to Build a Case Against Duntsch That Puts Him in Jail for Life in 'Occam's Razor'

Peacock's Dr. Death - Episode 1.06 "Occam's Razor"

Duntsch attempts to fix a disastrous surgery. Shughart builds her case against Duntsch.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Peacock's Dr. Death.

"Occam's Razor" was written by Sara Pearson & Maxwell Michael Towson and directed by So Yong Kim

It's absolutely agonizing for Shughart, Henderson and Kirby as they wait for whether or not the grand jury issues an indictment against Duntsch. It's something that absolutely should happen based on all the evidence and testimony gathered. The trio knows that Duntsch should spend the rest of his life in jail. That's the outcome they are all hoping to achieve. They have to be strategic in how they pursue that though. They have to be respectful of the victims. Some of them want to come forward to share their stories. Others don't want to relive that trauma even further. Proving the charges themselves can be a daunting task for the prosecution. This has never been done before. Shughart being successful may open the floodgates of legal action being taken against the health care industry. This season has demonstrated the many avenues within the system that should have addressed Duntsch's behavior. In reality, the people in charge did the bare minimum of what is required of them. A patient speaks up claiming abuse. A suspension is given to Duntsch. A plan of action is directed. But it's incredibly easy for Duntsch to blow off all of those demands. He can conveniently find excuses to delay any drug test until he knows the cocaine is out of his system. Moreover, he can trick the psychologist on staff meant to offer an assessment of his ability to operate. That doctor spends such a short amount of time with Duntsch. All it takes is him proclaiming his innocence and pleading about his love for his patients. He needs to get in the operating room to alleviate their pain. That is his mission. It's all that he cares about. Of course, it's all a lie. People continually buy into it. It's a long time before so many are capable of walking away as well. Kim stayed for way too long. She too understands the scope of her complicity in all of this. The lawyers will question her about why she didn't speak up or leave sooner if she had these concerns. Those questions already haunt her. She has actually conditioned herself into believing a potentially better version of the truth. One where she didn't think much of the email Duntsch sent to her proclaiming himself as a killer. It was par for the course of his behavior. It was only after seeing how dispassionate he was following Jerry's surgery that she had any suspicions about his sociopathic tendencies. A patient then dying cemented that concern. That is possibly the rosier version of events. It's what she shares with Shughart though. Meanwhile, the audience is gifted with what is perceived as the truth according to the timeline. It's a complicated distinction. One that may not make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things. Kim has been concerned about Duntsch for awhile. She allowed herself to get conned by the fantasy as well. She found her way out. Her extensions of compassion and empathy are still rejected though. Jerry wants to die after what Duntsch did to him. He trusted his friend. And then, Duntsch pretends to barely know the guy. He believes he is only necessary when performing surgery. Everything that happens afterwards is the responsibility of someone else. As such, it's their problem when things go wrong. Of course, the show also delights in depicting the tragic downfall that consumes Duntsch's life. His medical license is removed in Texas. He doesn't apply for those credentials elsewhere. No one is willing to hire him either. He is living with his parents. Wendy never wants to see him beyond the one mandated day he is allowed with his son. Moreover, he is arrested for a DUI and shoplifting. It's all blatant self-destructive actions. It too feels like a familiar story construction. That even extends to the apparent tragedy of him driving back to Texas a year later willing to atone for his past only to be likely arrested once he arrives. That feels a little too neat. He too wants to condition his life as being not as bad as everyone believes. Shughart, Henderson and Kirby can prove his monstrosity though. A grand jury agrees with them. They have made their case. They can detail his pattern of abuse. They can convict him with life in prison thanks to the testimony of so many brave individuals. That's on the horizon. They simply have to follow through on that action. They are absolutely committed to that path. The prospect is no longer as daunting as it seems. Duntsch will finally be held accountable for all the pain he has caused across the decade as a surgeon.