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Remedy: Hospitals and Hierarchies

Note: This is an in-depth review of a television series that has recently aired. The article will reveal major plot points of the episode. Read at your own discretion!

Remedy is the latest hospital drama to debut on Global. The Canadian  show focuses on the Connor family, who are well known to the Bethune General Hospital. Dr. Allen Connor, patriarch of the family, is currently the acting chief of staff, and his two daughters, Dr. Melissa Connor and Nurse Sandy Connor work in the hospital as well. Griffin Connor, Melissa and Sandy’s brother, was set to become a doctor as well and was in med school, but became the disappointment of the family when he dropped out.

The pilot opens with Griffon Conner being taken into an ambulance for a machete cut on his back, alongside another man with the machete plunged into his chest. Griffin begs not to be taken to Bethune, but ends up there anyways. His family is shocked to see him, since he disappeared two years before and had been addicted to drugs. He had ended up into a fight with the injured man while working at a club and accidentally stabbed him in self defence. He is facing charges of manslaughter if the man does not survive. His return has only brought more problems to his family, though they are relieved that he is all right. Rebecca Baker, Allen’s ex-wife and the matriarch of the family, is a lawyer and has taken on her son’s case. Allen also gives him a job at the hospital as an orderly.

The episode also follows the story of Zoe Rivera, a member of the hospital cleaning staff who preps rooms for patients. While cleaning out the garbage for one patient’s room, she is stabbed with an inappropriately discarded needle. It turns out that Melissa was the one who carelessly tossed the needle. Zoe is frightened, since there is a possibility that the patient had HIV. However, the patient’s mother does not want his blood drawn for a test, because he was dying from a gunshot wound. Melissa, desperately wanting to make things right, secretly draws blood from the boy to test it. It turns out that the boy was HIV positive, which means that Zoe may now have the disease as well. If legal authorities found out that Melissa had drawn the blood against the patient’s wishes, then there could be serious repercussions for the hospital. Due to this mishap, Zoe is dogged by a legal representative of Bethune, trying to get her to sign a form that would protect the hospital but not her.

A third, minor plot point follows Sandy’s fiancé Brian Decker, a bumbling doctor who is constantly making mistakes and is unable to command respect from those around him. He snaps at an orderly when he tells the doctor how to fix a patient’s dislocated shoulder.

These three simultaneous storylines all focus on one theme: the idea of hierarchy and separation between both family and staff.  In the Connor family, Griffin is the black sheep, having failed to live up to the expectations his family had set up for him. There is also a lot of tension between Melissa and Sandy. Melissa is rather cold and condescending, seemingly thinking she is better than the nurses, after becoming angry when she is mistaken for one. She also thinks little of her brother Griffin, not trusting him at all and believing that his working in the hospital might lead him to be addicted to drugs. Being the only other doctor in the family, she feels that she isn’t taken seriously by her father, the Chief of Staff, seen when he doesn’t want her to participate in an operation. Sandy is a kind person, who cares for the patients and is ready to give her brother a second chance and loves that he’s working with them. The two sisters clash because of their opinions of their brother.

Zoe, being a part time worker at the hospital, may now have HIV thanks to the carelessness of a doctor and is now a liability to Bethune. Knowing this, they have been trying to get her to sign papers to protect themselves. Her coworkers have made sure she hasn’t signed anything, creating an “us against them” situation. The people lower on the hierarchy don’t trust the higher-ups. On the other hand, the higher-ups feel that everyone below them is out to get them and they have to watch their backs.

These social divisions are only made worse by the colour coded scrub system employed by the hospital. The orderlies, more professionally known as porters, are at the bottom of the pack and wear brown scrubs. Above them are those who prep rooms for patients, wearing orange scrubs, then nurses in purple scrubs and doctors in indigo. Those wearing brown and orange are usually ignored by the others, despite having the important and difficult job of cleaning up the hospital and taking patients from place to places.

It is evident that the show revolves around segregation in the hospital due to this hierarchy, though it’s brought up so often it feels forced. Every episode so far makes sure to mention how someone else in the hospital is out to get the characters, be it the legal system, the doctors, or the nurses. It’s quite interesting how the show handles about three different storylines per episode, each unique and not looking to converge with one another, however, they’re quite heavy-handed with the segregation and victimization of the characters.

Remedy currently has three episodes out, and each one has been getting better than the last. Now that the basic premise has been established, hopefully they will ease off the divisions within the hospital. The drama doesn’t set out to be the next House, but it explores the parts of hospital functioning that usually aren’t discussed. While not extraordinary, it’s able to hold its own among other popular medical dramas before it.

Photo credits:,,

Christina Beharry is a Mental Health Studies student at the University of Toronto. She has a passion for writing, gaming, and music, and enjoys sharing her ideas with others.


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