Medical Investigations and Third Watch


Medical Investigations (2004 -    )
Third Watch (1999-    )
Type: Crossover
Group: 32

   I dunno about this one. I mean, it's definitely a full fledged crossover. I just don't know about... the quality level. On the surface it seems okay, but when you really look at it, it's got some problems.

   Okay, first off, very quick profile on both shows. Third Watch is a drama about New York's police officers, firemen and paramedics, their lives and problems. Good solid drama. Medical Investigations is a drama about the investigators from the National Institute of Health. When a deadly medical situation breaks out, when a plague threatens to wipe out some town these guys move in and, in the words of Barney Fife, they nip it in the bud. Bud nippers.

   In this case the crossover is your standard two episode storyline. Story starts on one show, ends on the other. In this case it started on Third Watch and ended on Medical Investigations. The problem with this setup though is nothing of lasting importance can happen in the crossover plot. For example, you can't really have something of lasting importance to someone from Third Watch happen on Medical Investigations or else it won't make sense way later when people watch Third Watch without the Medical Investigations episode. This causes one of the problems I have with this story which I'll get to in just a bit.

   Okay, the story starts on Third Watch with the robbery of a jewelry store. One of the robbers is... suspiciously sick. Not good news when you are crossing over with a show about those who do battle with deadly diseases. It ain't gonna be a cold. The robbery goes bad. The guy actually robbing the place kills the owner but gets away. The wheel man, the sicky, gets nabbed but only after he crashes his car. The paramedics arrive to treat his injuries and, oops, he coughs a big blood loogey all over one of the paramedics. In his mouth and everything. Uh oh!

   So the sick and injured prisoner is put in the hospital. As it turns out, there is another patient in the same hospital has similar troubling symptoms. The two of these guys both having symptoms of a deadly infectious disease sets off the alarms with the folks at the National Institute of Health. They rush in! Arriving on the scene they discover that, yes, in fact the robber does have a deadly and contagious disease. The Marburg virus. Very nasty. Spreads through transmission of fluids and such. Lots of bleeding out of, well, everywhere you can think of followed by just a pinch of death.

   Here's where my first problem with this show happens. See, the other patient, a foreign doctor visiting the United States? Yeah, turns out he didn't have Marburg or anything even remotely deadly. Probably just ate some rancid chicken nuggets or something. So as it turns out these big wig investigators adept at finding medical outbreaks discovered this potential problem totally by accident. Kinda weak.

   So now it becomes a big deal to find this guy's partner and whoever else he worked with. This isn't a disease you normally just catch out and about in New York City. The people this guy associates with might also have the disease and might lead them to the source of the outbreak. But the robber doesn't want to talk since that will mean his partner will get caught. He doesn't understand that the bigger picture is his partner (who turns out to be his brother) might actually DIE!!! The first episode ends with our heroic paramedic finally getting sick after having sex with his girlfriend. Bodily fluids exchanged. Uh oh...

   Part two starts with the discovery of a potential connection to the robbers. There is trouble at an apartment and one of the neighbors has seen the robbers visiting the place. Turns out the apartment is filled with illegal exotic animals. The owner is dead but not from Marburg. He's been eaten by a lion in his bathroom. Why does that sound like a Monty Python bit? Anyway, they still think they might be onto something. It could be the disease was transmitted by an illegally imported animal.

   Meanwhile, our paramedic and the robber are now sharing a room and getting progressively ickier. And as that happens the specter hangs over the paramedic's girlfriend? Has he inflicted her with death by humping? Seriously, they do work hard to make you worry that these two regular characters from another show (cough cough) might die.

   So the search continues for the other sickies on the loose. They might be spreading this horrible disease! Next thing you know a woman arrives dead at the hospital. She died from Marburg. Then we see the sick robber's brother hacking up a storm as he goes into the subway. He puts a hand slick with bloody phlegm on a railing and leaves a bloody hand print. Then a young boy coming off the subway, uh oh, puts HIS hand right on the nasty blood patch. Doesn't even flinch. If I touched someone else's fully healthy loogey I would scream like a little girl! New Yorkers: a tougher breed. But the main point here is, this guy is spreading bloody loogey death all over New York!!!

   Back at hospital they start trying to connect the dots. How is the dead woman connected to the robbers? Where did this outbreak start? Well, it turns out this woman worked for a pharmaceutical company that had samples of the virus locked up. This is clearly where the virus started! She clearly stole a sample and it leaked! The bosses at the pharmaceutical company say this is impossible! Only it is soon discovered to be true. She did steal a sample of the Marburg virus. This is clearly the starting point of the outbreak. Well... it would be if this story had any tie to reality at all. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

   Finally the robber in the hospital breaks and tells them what they need to know. So it turns out the plan was to sell the Marburg virus to a foreign company for beauceau bucks. The good guys find out where the deal is going to happen and rush to the scene! The second robber escapes but the vial is recovered. Only... the virus is in tact! No leak! It can't be the source of the virus! How can this be? It can be due to impossible plotting that's how.

   Oh yeah. While this is all going on all the sick people are just getting more goopy and bloody. Then the robber in the hospital dies a bloody nasty death. Not looking good for those characters from Third Watch. They might die! Oh no!

   The investigation turns up a new lead. A boat this group of thieves might have been using to smuggle animals! Maybe their is an infected animal on the boat! They board the boat and, sure enough, robber number two is there dead and goopy. Also on board, one dead sick monkey. Outbreak contained. The end. Seriously. The end.

   So let me back up here. So this woman stole the Marburg virus only that wasn't the source. her bootleg monkey was. ?!?!?! What are the odds? Seriously. I felt bad for her. Went to all that trouble infiltrating that company to steal the disease and it turns out she already had a sample free and clear. It would make a good verse in an Alanis Morisette song...

   It's the deadly virus you've stolen from a lab When you already have a contraband monkey infected with it. Isn't it ironic, don't ya think?

   And while we're on the topic, what is with this gang of thieves? Pretty busy and multi-faceted bunch. At one time they are busy 1.) robbing jewelry stores 2.) pilfering deadly viruses and 3.) importing illegal exotic animals. Slow down guys! One thing at a time! Divide your focus, don't give one task your full attention and see what happens? You get a fatal disease from a monkey.

   And then there is the quick wrap up. Hello? What happened to deadly blood and loogies all over New York? The kid who put his hand in the ick? Nothing came of that? Apparently not. At the end of the episode this is brought up and the super docs says, "Well, we can only wait and see what happens." Then they get on a plane and go home and this plot, I will bet money, never pops up on either show ever again.

   Oh wait... I forgot one major plot point. So, this deadly disease kills everyone who gets it. I mean the lady died all nasty. Both the robbers die horribly. Even the monkey exploded in his cage. But what about the noble paramedic visiting from Third Watch? Surely he's doomed. Maybe his girlfriend too! Nope. Turns out he got better and she didn't catch it at all. No worries. Even though its impossibly fatal both the important recurring characters from the other show amazingly do not die. Why? Because you can't kill someone on another show in a crossover. You can't have a major plot point happen not on the main show. Hello?

   Boooo!!! The thing is, if you watch this crossover without paying much attention it seems okay. It plays well. The acting is good. But the minute you start really thinking about it... man the show just has all sorts of impossible stuff going on. I think I could forgive any single one of them if they were the only problem on the show. But all lumped together? Too much for me dude. Too much dumb luck and impossible coincidences to swallow. Too neat and tidy an ending to what really would be a messy complicated problem.

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