1 9 8 8 (USA)
1 x 120 minute episode
6 x 60 minute episodes
Debuting in June 1988, this short-lived ABC summer series revolved around the psychiatrists and their patients at the Garrison Center – a private residential mental health facility in New England in 1988, treating patients with a wide range of psychological and emotional problems.
The family-owned hospital was founded by Dr Sam Garrison (Josef Sommer), whose daughter, Issy (Katherine Borowitz), is also a psychiatrist on staff. Her husband, Dr Leonard Schrader (Bob Gunton), is the medical doctor who treats patients’ bodies while the rest of the staff treat their minds.
Dr Garrison’s son Matt (Tony Soper) is the business manager of the hospital. His wife, Claudia (Susan Diol) hates living there and wishes her husband would take her away.
Sam’s wealthy ex-wife Lily (Alexis Smith) – who has bought the house down the road to be nearer to her children – couldn’t stand living there either, which is why she left him.
Other staff members include nurses led by Lucy Cox (Maureen Moore); activity director Billy (Joseph C. Philips); Louise (Louise Latham), the veteran secretary; and Ginny (Madi Weland), the head social worker.
The other dedicated, overworked, and underpaid shrinks on staff include Dr Art Makter (Michael Jeter) – obviously gay but fiercely protesting his heterosexuality; Dr Ved Lahari (Art Malik) and Dr Marie Teller (Michael Learned from The Waltons). Ved and Marie are having an affair.
Originally titled The Clinic, the series was created by Jay Presson Allen, who also created Family. ABC executives were not enamoured of the show and its subject matter (they found it glum and too talky) and relegated it to the “killer” Thursday night timeslot opposite LA Law.
The pacing of episodes was overly deliberate, there was a general lack of humour, and it seemed to take itself too seriously. Every scene contained confrontation, and the tensions and conflicts quickly became overwhelming.
Dr Sam Garrison
Dr Marie Teller
Dr Issy Schrader
Dr Leonard Schrader
Dr Art Makter
Dr Ved Lahari
Joseph C. Phillips
Lily Garrison Shannon
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