Gross Anatomy opens in a med school class of the same name, with a farewell ceremony to the human cadavers. This is factually accurate but would typically be in a chapel or similar, and more student led, intended to show respect for death. Our star medical student, Dora (Dana Davis), whispers a goodbye to her cadaver, Seymour, but sees that it’s not Seymour on her table, but an unknown female.
Megan’s (Dana Delany) “first day in charge” with Lacey (Mary Mouser) does not start well- she is not ready for Mathletes at 7:05, thinking school began at 8:15. (No one told her this? A bit unfair.) At the scene, Dora and her professor Dr. Fischer are arguing over “murder or mishap?” Megan arrives and asks Dr. Fischer what is missing from the body if she is an accident victim- Dora pipes up that there are no signs of resuscitation. Megan wins out and the body is transported, inviting Dora and classmates to watch the autopsy. I found this a bit unrealistic- wouldn’t the body be taken regardless to verify identity and cause of death?
At the external exam, Megan asks the students what color the victim’s eyes were. Two answer “green”, although this is impossible to tell due to changes in the body. Sam (Sonja Sohn) questions student Shane Matthews and Bud (John Carroll Lynch), his wingman Doug Chase, who admits they met the victim at a bar. The bartender identifies her as Jackie, who works at a limo service.
Later, Lacey is being a typical teenager, insisting “meat is murder” and rebuffing Megan’s attempts to bond, preferring to video chat with her friends. Dora calls Megan, thanking her effusively for being cool, and Megan invites her to watch the internal exam the next day.
Jackie Johnson’s coworker Mitch identifies her as quiet, but troubled, like she was “running from something”. New employee Dani (Nathalie Kelley), after toying with Ethan (Geoffrey Arend), is now heavily flirting with Peter (Nicholas Bishop) who rebuffs her advances. Kate (Jeri Ryan) joins Megan and Dora for the autopsy, commenting on the boys’ club atmosphere. They find an enlarged uterus and signs of infection. Cause of death is blunt force trauma to the spleen.
The detectives invite Megan to track down Jackie’s real identity with them; Dora is ordered to stay in the break room until she returns. Jackie’s apartment is obviously the scene of the crime. They find hairs and antibiotics. Kate goes to the medical school to talk to her old professor- Dr. Fischer. She observes that she was his type, and so was the victim. She asks coldly, “Did you kill her?” He produces an alibi- a panel in Chicago.
Back at the lab, Dora talks Ethan (Geoffrey Arend) into letting her look at the body again, with Dani’s help. Just before Megan discovers them, they observe green discoloration. She blows- “This is not a school project, this is a human being! You mess up in class, you get a B-. You mess up in here, a killer goes free!”
Megan shows them that it’s a lymph node with tattoo ink- except Jackie’s tattoo is all black. Using a UV light, they find the hidden tattoo of a local Irish band, Ronan. Dora is then summarily “shown out” of the morgue.
In a great “embarrassing mom” moment, Megan confronts Lacey while she is video chatting, insisting on a family dinner the next night. Ronan Gallagher identifies the victim as Jackie O’Shay, his on-again off-again girlfriend, who was running from her old life. He hasn’t seen her, and has lost the best thing in his life.
While in an elevator with Peter, Dani reveals her troubled relationship with her father after he calls. The hair turns out to be half Jackie’s- along with the uterus troubles, this points to a baby. There are no records of one- but she had a waterborne infection, perhaps from a water birth? They find her midwife, who gave Jackie medicine for the baby’s colic- Bud takes notes- and tells them Jackie was giving the baby up for adoption. The murder weapon, a baseball bat, is also found.
In another “embarrassing mom” moment, Joan (Joanna Cassidy) invades the family dinner with childhood stories of Megan dissecting dead birds. Dora interrupts, having found her original cadaver Seymour. Megan responds, “Good for you, better yet, good for Seymour!” His extremities are in a different knot than she tied- the same kind Shane tied.
Shane has an alibi, but the murder weapon has the baby’s father’s DNA- Ronan’s DNA. Bud’s gut says the “bad boy rocker” is innocent. Having upset Megan with her story, Joan talks things out with Megan. Bud goes to Megan with his beliefs; Sam interrupts with “you can stop it with the sad clown face”. She found that Shane used to work for the limo service. They find his brother Mitch there who shares his club thumbs.
Megan breaks Mitch, observing his allergic reaction to the baby’s medicine. A couple who couldn’t have children had arranged to adopt Jackie’s baby- until she decided to keep her. The unharmed baby is found, and calmed, by Bud, and a nervous Ronan takes his daughter.
Again in the elevator, Dani and Peter kiss. I don’t see this ending well. Dora calls one last time, and Megan and Lacey finally have their mother daughter night. With Twilight, ugh.
Check out the next Body of Proof below, about a lottery winner that everyone wanted a piece of.
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