Tuesday, April 26, 2022

TV Tuesday: Transplant

I know, I know - there are so many medical shows on TV! And we already watch Grey's Anatomy, New Amsterdam, and The Resident. But, last winter, we started a new one, Transplant, that comes at the genre from a whole new perspective. We couldn't wait for season two, which just began a couple of months ago. We're really enjoying this medical show about an immigrant doctor trying to make a new life in Canada.

Bashir Hamed, played by Hamza Haq, is a Syrian refuge living in Toronto, struggling to build a life for himself and his little sister, after their parents--and almost everyone else they knew--were killed in Syria. He can't seem to get hired as a doctor in Toronto, since there is no infrastructure left in Syria to transmit his documentation and qualifications. But when a terrible crisis occurs, Bash lets instinct takes over and puts him own life at risk to save the lives of several strangers ... including Dr. Bishop, the Chief of Emergency Medicine of a local hospital who previously interviewed and rejected him. Now, Dr. Bishop is convinced and adds Bash to the ER staff, though he has to restart his career as a resident, in spite of his extensive experience. The rest of the ER staff isn't so sure about Bash, but his skills and compassion slowly win them over. In his personal life, Bash is struggling to care for his young sister, Amira (played by Sirena Gulamgaus), as they both try to assimilate into Canadian society, while still grieving their terrible losses. On top of all that, Bash is probably suffering from PTSD, as he experiences flashbacks of his horrific experiences in wartime and as a prisoner.

It's refreshing and enlightening to see a person of color and a refuge at the center of an excellent drama like this. The refuge crisis is huge in the world, and there are so many skilled immigrant workers--engineers, scientists, doctors--toiling away at manual labor jobs and barely making a living because they can't get hired in their field in the U.S. or Canada. Bash's story highlights these crises but never in a preachy way. His and Amira's stories are engaging and sometimes heart-breaking but also warm and sometimes joyful. And, while Bash is at the center of this show, it is still a medical drama, complete with new patient stories in each episode and the kinds of crazy experiences we have come to expect from TV ER's. The actors playing Bash and Amira are outstanding, but so is the rest of the cast, and the writing is excellent. Through each episode, as Bash and his fellow medical staff tackle new patients, the audience learns a little more about his backstory and his challenges (and joys). It's a thoroughly engrossing story, and we look forward to each new episode, rooting for Bash and Amira to find happiness in their new lives. And now I see a Season Three is planned; I can't wait!

Transplant is currently airing its second season on NBC. It is also available on Peacock and Hulu streaming services.

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