Dr. Death review: A miscast Mandy Moore leads this murky medical thriller

In the second-to-last episode of Dr. Death, former NBC News producer Benita Alexander (Mandy Moore) attempts to pitch a story to Percy (Michael Maize), an editor at Vanity Fair magazine. She wants to investigate her fiancé, Dr. Paolo Macchiarini (Édgar Ramírez), who has lied about many aspects of his life, particularly regarding his groundbreaking “biosynthetic tracheas” that appear to be causing harm to his transplant patients.

However, Percy is not interested, suggesting that a story about a journalist who fell for her deceitful doctor subject would be more compelling than a complex medical investigation. This irony is reflective of the new season of Dr. Death, where the scientific aspects provide gripping drama, while the romantic elements fall flat.

When Macchiarini arrives at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute in 2012, he is hailed as a pioneer in regenerative medicine. Despite skepticism from some, including Dr. Nate Gamelli (Luke Kirby), Macchiarini’s surgeries appear successful, and his reputation grows. Meanwhile, Benita falls for Macchiarini’s charms, leading to a secret romance and an engagement.

The series explores Macchiarini’s misdeeds across various locations and timelines, intertwining his medical malpractice with his personal relationships. However, the central romance between Benita and Macchiarini feels underdeveloped and fails to explain how a seasoned journalist could be deceived by him.

While Dr. Death effectively portrays the horrors of medical malpractice, particularly through the story of a young woman named Yesim Cetir (Alisha Erözer), who suffers complications from a trachea transplant, it struggles to make Benita and Macchiarini’s relationship convincing. Moore’s performance feels out of place, and the chemistry between her and Ramírez is lacking.

Despite its compelling medical true crime elements, Dr. Death’s second season is ultimately weighed down by its central romance. While it effectively portrays the horrors of medical malpractice, particularly through the story of a young woman named Yesim Cetir (Alisha Erözer), who suffers complications from a trachea transplant, it struggles to make Benita and Macchiarini’s relationship convincing. Moore’s performance feels out of place, and the chemistry between her and Ramírez is lacking.

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