At last! The series premiere of Body of Proof airs this coming Tuesday! With the premiere just days away, Corey Miller, a writer and producer on the show, spoke with ShaneSSaunders.com exclusively about the new series finally making the airwaves at ABC.
Dana Delany in Body of Proof (photo: ABC)
Saunders: Body of Proof is a drama with the lead character, Dr. Megan Hunt (Dana Delany), dealing with the aftermath of a life-changing event. Would you say the show is equal parts procedural to serialized drama?
Miller: The show was originally pitched by Christopher Murphey and Matthew Gross as a “charactercedural,” and that is the show ABC bought and is allowing us to do. Whereas I wouldn’t go as far as to say it is serialized like a pure character drama, because the episodes for the most part can still stand alone, viewers will definitely get to see Megan Hunt on a journey. As you said, she has been dealing with a life-changing event. Once a renowned neurosurgeon, she was involved in a bad car accident. With this came a mysterious malady called “paresthesia.” An actual affliction, paresthesia caused Megan’s hands to go numb without any warning. And the first time it occurred, she was performing brain surgery, and her patient died. That caused Megan to lose her license. With that event, she woke up to certain realizations. In the pursuit of a stellar career, she lost her husband as well as custody of her daughter — and then she lost the career.
We wrote and shot thirteen episodes for our first season. With each episode, we have tried to get Megan to realize something new about herself, and to take steps to self-correct. She’s a fascinating character because she’s in her forties, but basically starting over in many ways. I believe she’s almost on a quest for self-actualization. She’s coming to terms with her past (her own father killed himself when she was a kid, and she’s still somewhat under the thumb of her own domineering mother), trying to become a better person and mother, and yet she still throws all she can into her new career, and into her new role – as an advocate for the dead. There is a lot to explore, and we hope to get the chance to go even deeper if we get a season two.
: The show was slated to air last Fall, then in the winter, and now after months of delays the show is finally airing. Why were there so many delays?
Miller: Actually, it was never delayed. It was just re-thought. We were originally scheduled to air on Friday nights at 9pm. That can be a tough night for a new show to find an audience. ABC has always been very supportive of the show, and were even more so once the first few episodes began coming in. So they made the decision to wait and air it in a more desirable time slot. We all wondered, as everyone else did, when that would be. So we just kept writing them and shooting them. When we heard that they were saving us for a plum spot after Dancing With The Stars, and were going to throw tons of promotion behind us, we were all very excited. We feel that they are really doing everything they can to get the word out on the show.
: In what ways does Body of Proof
standout from the numerous other crime shows currently airing on TV?
Miller: The main thing that makes it stand out is that it has a extremely-intelligent, complicated, and multi-faceted female character at its core. And though it’s about death, it’s not solemn or morbid. It celebrates life, and there is a lot of humor in each episode.
: Dana Delany was starring on Desperate Housewives
when the project came up. Was she considered for the lead role from the very beginning? Were there any other names being considered?
Miller: I was not around at that stage of the project, but from what I understand, the producers had met with some actresses for the part, and then the (now former) President of the network recommended Dana to them. Besides Housewives, Dana had just done an arc on Castle, and really had a lot of fans at ABC. Dana even says she gives Nathan Fillion credit for getting her the job, because he kept telling anyone who would listen that she needed her own show.
Body of Proof (photo: ABC)
: Shooting took place in Rhode Island, adding a real nice authentic look to the show. Was there ever a chance that filming on location wouldn’t be possible?
Miller: Well, authentic in an odd way, since Providence was substituting for Philadelphia. We actually called our version “Providelphia.” From what I gathered, everyone had such a great experience working in Providence for the pilot. The city was very welcoming, and did everything possible to get us to come back if was picked up to series. There was certainly a chance that it would shoot in New York or Los Angeles, but Providence won out. They were extremely great to us.
: In 2009
you announced your departure from CSI: Miami
, and had plans to work on a character-based show with humor. What changed your mind to work on another drama?
Miller: Did I say that? Well, good, because Body of Proof is a character-based show with humor! Even though CSI was a huge blessing for me, after eight and a half years in that world, I thought it was time to shake myself out of my comfort zone. It was scary to leave that nice protected bubble, but since my departure I have met so many great people, and have had the chance to write some different characters. Crime still pays (the bills) for me, but I still feel I’m getting a chance to stretch as a writer with every new project I am able to do.
Saunders: And finally, any word on your new pilot?
Miller: Well, even though I sold my spec pilot Lost Angels to the Peter Chernin Company and Fox just after leaving CSI Miami, unfortunately, it didn’t get picked up to shoot. It’s much more serialized than the current television climate is comfortable with. But hey, if the tide turns again, I’d love to be able to revisit it.
Body Of Proof premieres this coming Tuesday at 10pm on ABC. You can follow Corey on Twitter at @TooMuchFire