Monday, September 01, 2008

Chaplain Sighting!

Last night, Gary and I were watching (on DVD, since we've indeed canceled our TV subscription) the creepy but brilliant Dexter, about a sympathetic serial killer. Dexter works as a forensic specialist for the Miami police, when he's not killing bad guys himself, and in this episode, one of the officers in the department had been forced to shoot and kill a perp, the second time in a month he'd been put in that position. His boss, worried about psychological fallout, tried to convince him to seek counseling. "The department's chaplain has a good ear," she told him.

"Chaplain!" Gary said, pumping his fist in the air. "They have a chaplain!"

Of course, we don't get to meet this character, but at least the existence of chaplains is acknowledged. Now if only medical shows could follow suit!


  1. ER had a main character who was a chaplain.

  2. They did? When? We must not have gotten to that season yet!

  3. Given that it's Dexter, I'm betting the "has a good ear" will be followed in a few episodes by a Reservoir Dogs moment.

  4. Seems to me that it was 1 or 2 seasons ago. The chaplian was played by Reiko Aylesworth, the lady from 24 with Keifer Sutherland.

  5. They did, although I didn't think much of her. There was also a chaplain in the last season and a half or so of "St. Elsewhere," long ago. The chaplain was a CPE Resident, scared and klutzy, but more sympathetic than the character on "ER."

  6. Oh, and there also was a chaplaincy position, at least at one time, in the Tulane Medical School in New Orleans. When I was doing campus work, now more than 20 years ago, an Episcopal priest was chaplain to the Medical School. As I recall, he had almost no connection to the hospital, and was a campus minister for students and faculty.

  7. Thanks, everybody! Gary and I haven't gotten to that season of ER yet: we're years behind in our DVD watching!

    As I've said on the blog before -- and as I've also said to ER personnel and medical students -- I'd love to see a TV show about all the people in the hospital who aren't doctors and nurses: the EMTs, techs, lab personnel, volunteers, chaplains, nutritionists, housekeepers, security guards, administrators, and countless other support personnel I must be leaving out.

    Scrubs at least had a janitor in a major role; that was a step in the right direction!

    Of course, I'm sure such a show would wind up being no more realistic than the MD/RN-centric ones, but at least it would be a refreshing change.

    Hey, Marshall, how about a CPE miniseries? I think it has potential!

  8. You know, Susan, perhaps we could do that - as long as was scripted. As an "unscripted" program, things would be entirely too scary - and probably violate HIPAA seven ways from Sunday. In any case, it you want to write the pilot I'll be happy to be your consultant/coauthor/something.

    I used to say that the only real hope I had to getting rich as a chaplain was to write a steamy novel about a chaplain and the hospital he or she worked in. There's certainly enough drama....


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