A.J. Heightman
Editor-in-Chief, JEMS & Firefighter Nation

The new series Trauma premiering Monday night is being billed by NBC as "the first high-octane medical drama series to live exclusively in the field." The show's Website says it's "like an adrenaline shot to the heart, an intense, action-packed look at one of the most dangerous medical professions in the world: first responder paramedics." Unfortunately having had the opportunity to view the pilot in advance of its September 28 premiere, I think the series is ripe for "Do Not Resuscitate Orders".

When It's On: The series premiere of 'Trauma' is Monday, September 28th a 9p (8 Central). In the pilot, San Francisco's team of first responders deal with a tragedy involving their own.

CONNECT: During and after the show's premiere Monday night, login to this post on Firefighter Nation and add your comments, thoughts and own review of 'Trauma'

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Also on JEMS.com & FFN


I realize that, having been raised watching the epic Emergency! TV series, I have a bias for shows that portray emergency personnel as professional in appearance and attitude, disciplined and ethical and compassionate to their patients.

I also realize that it's 2009 and writers and producers like to inject sex into every episode, and have characters with cocky, rebellious 90210ish cast members who bring a host of personal problems to work, but this series bubbles over with a cast that should be stationed on Wisteria Lane, not the streets of San Francisco.

The premiere of Trauma doesn't begin with a well-dressed crew checking their drugs and equipment before their first run. It starts with the sights and sounds of the boyfriend/girlfriend crew having sex in the patient compartment of their rig.

Then, before you can get the words "I can't believe it" out of your lips, you hear the dispatcher (who obviously knows the way the crew starts their shift), tell "Naughty Nancy" Carnahan to button her blouse and respond to an emergency call.

You're next brought to the rooftop resuscitation of an electrocuted patient who gets a helicopter response in the middle of the city. It's here you're introduced to the wacko of the show, helicopter paramedic Reuben "Rabbit" Palchuk, a raucous dude with an attitude as big as his helicopter. The show's promotional hype says Reuben "oozes bravado to match his talent, but there's a hint of vulnerability in there too... which charms the panties off all the girls. They don't call him "Rabbit" for nothing."

Hold on, it gets worse.

Turns out, "Rabbit" is also a sexist who personally selects the male member of the sex crew to accompany the patient because he doesn't want a female medic in "his" helicopter.

Don't be mad, be sad, because, when the chopper lifts off the roof, instead of departing and gaining altitude like every well-trained aeromedical pilot in the nation does, the pilot of "Angel Rescue 2" swoops down between the skyscrapers and collides with a sightseeing helicopter that's also flying between the buildings. Everybody on board the choppers dies except for (you guessed it) "Rabbit".

Reuben the rebel lives to fly another day.

The show flashes forward a year and "Rabbit" returns to work cockier than ever and equipped with a new, post-traumatic "I can't die" attitude. He takes his new, young, petite, ex-Iraq war chopper pilot on a high-speed, reckless ride down the hills of San Francisco, telling her it's like the scene in Steve McQueen's movie "Bullitt".

"Bullitt"? "Bullitt" was released 1968, 41 years ago. Even I don't remember Bullitt!

If Rabbit's law-breaking ride doesn't ruin our image enough, he proceeds to rip the door off a drunk's car as the man attempts to get in his parked car. Then he cons the inebriant into believing the incident was his fault. Don't fret though, because Reuben, ever the gentleman, strolls into the nearby bar to retrieve a pitcher full of ice for the man to put his amputated fingers in.

Just when you think this show can't get any worse, you're taken to a corny multi-vehicle car-versus-gasoline truck MCI (caused by a text-messaging jerk), and forced to watch some of the most unethical EMS behavior you'll ever see.

First, "Rabbit" lands in his chopper and waltzes up the highway and hears the text-messaging patient whining that "he wants to go in the helicopter". Without skipping a beat, Reuben injects him with Versed and walks away.

Then, stoic Cameron Boone, a black paramedic who carries emotional baggage (and a strained marriage) after witnessing his friends die in the aeromedical crash, encounters a pretty blonde patient with a minor arm injury and "re-triages" her so she can get a ride in the helicopter with him.

While "Rabbit" gets set to ride shotgun and leave Cameron alone in the back of the chopper with the target of his affection, his rookie helicopter pilot, Marisa Benez, welcomes him to "Booty Airlines".

There is a happy ending to this magical series premier though. Despite detesting "Rabbit" for his bad attitude and for surviving the crash that killed her boyfriend, she closes out the show by hopping in bed with him.

Johnny and Roy, please don't watch this show. Stop by my house and we'll do shots of Ipecac instead.

A.J. Heightman is Editor-in-Chief of JEMS

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I will try and catch it just once but you are justifying my suspicions.

I may not live in a large city but I do know that their EMS works more like ours in the way that they are not even close to be trained or certified to even be in some of those situations that are shown in previews

Plus, like others said what's with the choppers for every little call?

Poor Johnny and Roy, even Chet would be pissed! LOL

Since when is the Fire/EMS service nothing but a hookup or booty call? I am loving how that makes all of us look.....
hey what ever makes the ratings right
I had never heard of emergency until after I became an EMT.....matter of fact it was probably around 2 years after....no I was motivated to join EMS after a friend of mine had a heart attack, i was on the call for lift asst. and being only being a FF at the time all could do is help lift and basic first aid & CPR.
well thats good i never really wanted to get into ems just fire then i realized that there are way more ems calls than fire calls so i started getting into it
maybe we should all watch this show and get on here and see what differences we all see tommarow
I watched the trailers a couple of months ago and it was to me "injuries incompatible with life". I have better ways of wasting time.
well im gonna watch it just to give it a chance if it bombs it bombs
Sounds like an Airborne "Mother, Jugs and Speed"! Loser. It will get canned three weeks out.
I will try to see it myself and see how it will work. Like everyone we would like to see a more realalistic fire and ems show return to the networks but Hollywood wants to make exciting shows to draw people in.
I did find a German TV show on youtube called Medicopter 117 which maybe simiar to Trauma.
One part of this show had to do with a car crash in a tunnel and a tanker truck stops in front of the tunnel to call for help. Well the tanker gets rear ended and catches fire while the copter medics are working on the injuried. The helicopter picks up a shipping container and puts it down in front of the tunnel to keep the fire out and then flys around the mountain to use a police car to go inside to pickup the crew and injuried before the fire comes racing through to the other end. This show lasted a few seasons in Germany from what I have seen. The Germans and other countries have their own ideas about TV shows too.
How about a show called the Flying Doctors in Aultralia.
I miss third watch lol
ilol be here for the party at 8 central
We, as firefighters, are the most critical occupation when it comes to reviewing entertainment medias about our profession. Law enforcement officers do not get all bent out of shape over the bs content movies and T.V. shows about their jobs. Yeah right, you really can get DNA results back in 24 hours. CSI does it all the time. Its just entertainment, people.

Would we have the notarity with the public that we do possess if Hollywood made stuff about how are jobs REALLY are? Most of our shifts are boring and tedious. Who would want to watch that? No one fights fires and saves babies EVERY DAY. Let Hollywood put their spin on it.

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