Third-episode verdict: Trauma

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 2

In the US: Mondays, 9/8c, NBC

Time for a third-episode verdict on “Jerry Bruckheimer’s Casualty” aka Trauma. After an opening episode that made it hard to spot the wheat (most of the writing and characters) from the chaff (the colossal, ridiculous explosions and accidents), Trauma settled into a second episode that did more or less the same thing again – but with fewer explosions.

Episode three, however, was a far better beast. There’s still the Casualty/House gambit of setting up an obvious accident then substituting a less obvious accident later on – in the world of Trauma, the obvious accident is the mysterious arrival of a car from nowhere which then ploughs through pedestrians/the wall of a house/whatever.

But the whole episode was considerably less over the top and gave us a kind of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead view of a typical police drama: while the exciting hostage negotiation is going on, we found out what the paramedics have been up to the whole time and they’re pretty impressive, as it happens.

The third episode also saw the characters begin to work dramatically for me. Until now, they’ve just really been types and case studies, but they’re starting to becoming more real now. Cliff Curtis’s chopper pilot is still the most interesting character (although not necessarily for the right reasons), although Anastasia Griffith’s promiscuous but authoritative lead paramedic comes a close second. The others need work, but are getting there.

I’m very tempted to keep watching, now the writers are getting on with telling stories rather than establishing the characters, but it’s not engrossing enough that I’m guaranteed to. In all likelihood, I’ll give up. But it’s good enough that I’m split on the decision.

Carusometer rating: 2
Rob’s prediction: Very expensive (c$3m per episode) so liable to get cancelled very soon. But better than Mercy and a lot of the other new dramas, so deserves more of a chance at life than them.


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.