Critical Condition: Mary Kills People

Mary Kills People (Neon, from Tuesday)

➢ “Mary Kills People is a smart, entertaining series that understands, on a core level, that nobody really wants to watch a TV show about medically assisted suicide. Use of that phrase so early in this review may send some running for the exits, but that would be a mistake. Mary Kills People is an energetic, savvy programme that combines elements of crime thrillers, medical soaps, and propulsive character drama, employing all those recognizable forms to illuminate the complexity of the knotty issues at its core.” — Variety.

➢ “Mary Kills People — that got your attention, right? — is an unusual and fairly entertaining Canadian series … What makes the show different is the dark comedy … The counterintuitive humour helps make up for the less wise choices, mostly involving the sexual tension between Mary and the cop who’s on her trail.” — New York Times.

➢ Messy, complicated, and yes, just north of plausible. Somewhere along the way, Mary Kills People, created by Tara Armstrong, was billed as a dark comedy, but that’s the wrong shelf — it’s a serious and stylishly watchable drama, thanks mostly to Christos Dhavernas’s capable performance of a morally ambiguous person with too many dangerous irons in the fire.” — The Washington Post.

➢ “What ties it together, keeps it in line and most makes it go is Dhavernas. An actress of wit and intelligence, she’s perhaps best known as psychologist Alana Bloom on Hannibal … Grounded and believable, with the dry, witty, old-fashioned self-assurance of a Barbara Stanwyck or Katharine Hepburn, Dhavernas shades her comedy with drama, and playing drama is never more than a breath away from comedy.” — The Los Angeles Times.

➢ “Mary is not slow-burn television — its narrative speed is closer to a procedural. In the first episode, you see queer teens exploring their sexuality, the main character confronting the right-to-die debate, another character dealing with drug addiction, and a single mother struggling to balance kids, a financially dependent ex, a high-pressure job, and a botched assisted-suicide attempt. It might sound like everything and the kitchen sink, but it actually fits together perfectly and manages to set up what Mary will confront for the remainder of the series, while leaving plenty of room for mystery along the way.” — New York magazine.

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