The ex-wife who won't leave on 'A Gifted Man'
September 24th, 2011
11:29 AM ET

The ex-wife who won't leave on 'A Gifted Man'

If you watched only the first ten to 15 minutes of CBS’ “A Gifted Man” and then changed the channel, it’d be understandable.

Dr. Michael Holt, played by Patrick Wilson, is a talented New York City neurosurgeon so dedicated to his profession that he’s seemingly failed to develop interpersonal skills. He doesn’t wish his assistant (played by Emmy winner Margo Martindale, yet another asset to this lauded cast) happy birthday, fires a tech who failed to deliver to his standards in the OR, and is brusque with his sister.

None of that makes for a likeable character…until his ex wife walks into the room. And then we realize his sister was right: He is a lot less of a jerk when she’s around.

If you’ve seen any of the promos for this show, you knew as well as I going in that his ex would be a ghost. I suspected Anna (Jennifer Ehle) was the apparition we’d been waiting for when he bumped into her outside of a restaurant, and grew more confident when it became clear they’d been married. I was still a little intrigued that that was how “A Gifted Man’s” creators chose to introduce her.

Anna’s not a spirit, to the good doctor, at least. In his eyes – and thus in ours - Anna is as flesh and blood as the patient on his operating table. Holt’s “I’m talking to a ghost” aha moment doesn’t come until much later, a few scenes after Anna explains how she’d been killed. (That bit of exposition also explained the sounds of a car crash and that ball bouncing around in the opening scenes.)

This set-up made for a few unexpected comical moments when Holt’s caught chatting with Anna by a nurse he’d been short with, which to her looked like Holt was walking around talking to himself.

But I’m not sold on how quickly he got over his ghostly ex strolling into his life – one minute he was convinced something was wrong with his brain and explaining that he can’t be irrational, but in the next seemed to accept his new spirit-filled life. Anna, by the way, is awfully chatty for a ghost. I kept asking myself why he didn’t just try to ignore her when she kept popping up with more lines to say and grins to give.

I suppose it wouldn’t’ve suited anyone to drag out his understanding of and acceptance of what Anna is, though – it’s clear that she’s supposed to guide him to start using his gifts for good. We’ve already seen him, thanks to an instruction Anna gave, helping out the patients of the free clinic she left in disarray due to her death.

The pilot ended on a supremely cheesy note (the white light surrounding Anna in the doorway - really?) but I found myself willing to watch this to see where it goes.

If you caught “A Gifted Man” last night, what did you think?

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Filed under: Fall TV • television • TV recaps

soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. gregg

    I think the show does what you want in a show...entertain! I really like it and am sad that it was cancelled.

    November 8, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  2. Andi Murfy

    Thanks... Your article is very informative and it has filled me with the ocean of knowledge. It gives me a path to the right direction. I will also share it with my friends.

    October 11, 2011 at 3:28 am | Report abuse |

    This show rocks its what we have been missing in tv ,better than 'house" as far as hospital shows go although they are completely diffrent plots. Anyways I was stuck from beginning of episode 1 to the end of episode 2 and everyone is right about the wife looking and sounding just like meryl streep,more so in the movie "Death Becomes Her" (1992) She is one of my fav actresses but this new girl Jennifer Ehle is just as good or better,and lets not forget Patrick Wilson who plays the doc and he hits right on the head ,top notch acting in this show and it SHOWS!!!!!!

    October 2, 2011 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. drew

    This show is what we have been missing in tv ,better than 'house" as far as hospital shows go although they are completely diffrent plots. but I was stuck from beginning of episode 1 to the end of episode 2 and everyone is right about the wife looking and sounding just like meryl streep,more so like the movie "Death Becomes Her" (1992) She is one of my fav actresses but this new girl Jennifer Ehle is just as good or better,and lets not forget Patrick Wilson who plays the doc and he hits right on the head top notch acting in this show and it SHOWS!!!!!!

    October 2, 2011 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
  5. Susan

    Just turned in to the 9-30-11 program and the first thing I heard was when he told the women that had a tumor and was pregnant that an MRI wouldn't hurt the baby because it didn't emitt (sp) radiation. Wrong! Huge radiation! unless I misunderstood. Don't programs like that have a professtion/expert MD, Fireman on the shows to make sure they are stating correct info? I could be wrong and am sorry it I am but I'm just saying..........

    October 1, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  6. EhleIsAwesome

    How can some of you NOT LIKE Jennifer Ehle!!! OMG, she is completely wonderful! I loved this show, and the moments with Jennifer were so 'otherworldly', which I'm sure is just what they were going for.

    September 30, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Anomic Office Drone

    I liked the concept of the show and most of the actors in it, but I found the ghost of the ex-wife to be really grating. Maybe he could meet a new ghost. When I'm watching a show with a romantic element both characters have to be likeable, and I didn't feel that way about the ghost wife.

    I might watch again, but if even do that it will be their last chance to impress me.

    September 26, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. erod's worth giving it another chance. Think I'll watch it again.

    September 26, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. so what

    @Lavonya. get back to work scrubbin that floor and cleanin them toilets or wh!tey gonna fire you!

    September 26, 2011 at 6:27 am | Report abuse |
  10. Lorraine

    Love this show! Patrick Wilson is super cute – love drowning in those beautiful eyes – sweet eye candy, for sure.
    Jennifer Ehle adds another dimension (pardon the pun!) in that I've never seen her before (no, didn't watch Pride & Prejudice). I love the polar opposites each play – gives substance to this show – which is a rarity in today's TV show offerings. It's refreshing to see how one "jerk" can change into someone who actually gives a damn about someone other than himself. It's reflective of today's society I think – too much emphasis on "me, me, me" and not enough about how "I' impact others in my speech (Lavonya??). There's so much garbage on TV these days that this show is way above the claptrap junk and therefore so welcome. Thanks to the producers – and good luck in giving those of us that do give a damn about what we watch something to look forward to watching each week. (I also see Meryl Streep in Jennifer – it's truly uncanny – I love Meryl and the physical similarities Jennifer has to her will bode well for the show, I believe). Credibility, folks – we need more of it in our new shows.

    September 25, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. @Sokman

    You suck as a troll...lmao. Worse there is. Come can do a little better than that. Reach deep down in the pit of your soul. There is a troll waiting to come out...reach man! Reach and free that troll....lmao

    September 25, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Annalise

      If you haven't realized it yet, LAVONYA, Mimi and Sokman are most likely the SAME PERSON just trying to get a rise out of everyone. None of their comments are relevant and by responding aggressively, you cast yourself in the same light as them. Cheers!

      September 25, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sokman

    We be jelos of yous cuz we's spected to use real wurds and grammer, for realz. Just axe yo momma

    September 25, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. @get over it

    Lol. If I'm on your mind that early in the morning... maybe. Nothing bad was written from me and yet you seek me out. Must be something

    September 25, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  14. Thomas R.

    ^^ How low can some people get to use a blog as a personal playground to say hateful things. ^ ^How old are you?

    September 25, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jan

    IAnna the ghost needs to disappear PERMANENTLY, she was horrible! Love Patrick Wilson, was excited that he was getting a TV show, BUT this ghost girl needs to go away, the show would be MUCH better without her! I understand this is the idea of the entire show, but again, SHE was bad, annoying, and I had to force myself not to turn the station whenever she would appear. The show would be just fine without her, Patrick and the rest of the cast were good, she is NOT needed, and if she stays, the show will be cancelled for sure, because many like me will stop watching.

    September 25, 2011 at 4:24 am | Report abuse |
  16. Mark

    Not much for ghost gimmicks, and did get a little tired of Jennifer's simpering sweetness...but there's something about this story and the's different, and they're different...I want it to succeed and will DVR it along with the very few other shows I do that for. I'm willing to give it a chance. Good luck.

    September 24, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |

    white peoples be all jelos of us. we own you now. white cry babys.

    September 24, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • get over it

      'lil chip on the shoulder there? You have my word that no one is "jealous" of you.

      September 25, 2011 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Boooo

      And you be not funny. You is ah-visly trah-in to emmtate how you's think colah'd folk talk by yo ignant comments. They's folk that made gooo money off doing dat wen they's write signifcant books 'bout slav'ry. You on the other hand look like a classless idiot. Grow up and find something better to do with your time. Or else you're just taking up air that good people could be breathing.

      September 26, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Beautiful Vixen

    I don't know how much of it I missed from the start, but, I saw where he was in the streets and staring at a ball. I wasn't planning on watching this show. After seeing that, I decided to see what it was all about and I can't say for sure if it's a show I will continue to watch. The actor (Patrick Wilson) is that a plus. It kind of reminds me of Ghost Whispers in some way but not quiet.

    September 24, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • mexirish5939

      Oh no...I just realized I called the actor Patrick Walsh in a previous post. Sorry... I blame his beautiful eyes...they threw me for a loop. LOL

      September 25, 2011 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
  19. Mimi

    way too many white people

    September 24, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Janet

    I really liked it. I'm not familiar with Patrick Wilson; I thought he was very good as the lead, playing a character who could be very unlikeable, but making him a sympathetic character. Same for the woman who played his assistant. I know Jennifer Ehle from the BBC Pride & Prejudice, so I already knew she was good. I'm not a big fan of dramas, but I'll want to keep watching this one.

    September 24, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Judy

    I was entranced. Jennifer Ehle is such a good actress and badly underrated. I never thought of her looking or acting like Meryl, whom I adore along with Jessica Lange and Glenn Close, but I will watch closely next time to compare.

    September 24, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Misbehaving Again

    ^ Bet she didn't even have big cans...lmao. Alright..i'll play good..ha's so hard though

    September 24, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Rlg

    Enjoyed it. Waiting to see where it's going; hopefully not downhill.

    September 24, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  24. vera

    i loved, loved, loved this show and all the characters. it is absolutely my kind of program to watch and i can't wait for the next episode. it is lovely and different from all the other stuff the is the same and BORING!!!!!!! so there

    September 24, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  25. yek

    Lets hv a sing alone!

    September 24, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  26. @Evel

    Bet she was a nag and tried to put the ball and chain on you. Women like them makes it bad for the rest of us. B!tch and moan (not the good about everything.

    September 24, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  27. KajinPL

    Could you imagine the arguements? "I hate you!", "I hate you!", "I hope you die!", "Go to hell!", "You're coming with me!!".

    September 24, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Evel Knievel

    I'm glad my ex-wife didn't stick around.

    September 24, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  29. GL

    I agree, great new show! Can't wait for the next episode, I am on board too!

    September 24, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |

    It ok for a show about white peoples.

    September 24, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  31. mexirish5939

    I'm completely on board.It's very satisfying to see a cold,condescending character dropped into a situation over which he has no control.It's interesting to watch him face a situation that he can't dismiss/bully his way out of. I enjoyed seeing glimpses of him when he lets his guard down and you see his humanity. Looking at Patrick Walsh's beautiful eyes doesn't hurt either.Also, it's a real treat to see Jennifer Ehle in the cast. I've been a great fan of hers ever since she played opposite Colin Firth in the Pride & Prejudice miniseries. I can't wait for the next episode.

    September 24, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • luge1969

      Thought the show was interesting and very good with potential to be even better. Love the medical aspect of it! The ex-wife looks and sounds so much like Meryl Streep though – who I like a lot – but that part was a bit distracting but she was also fantastic! :-)

      September 24, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Nate Paul.

    Great show, I'm on board. Awards are in this shows Future !!

    September 24, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  33. TV Viewer

    Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Show!

    September 24, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • luge1969

      Thought the show was interesting and very good with potential to be even better. Love the medical aspect of it! The ex-wife looks and sounds so much like Meryl Streep though – who I like a lot – but that part was a bit distracting :-)

      September 24, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  34. KajinPL

    So they are just putting up with each other, huh?

    September 24, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  35. Evel Knievel

    Someone didn't drink their Kool-Aid today.

    September 24, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  36. SomeGuy3

    You tell 'em Evel.

    September 24, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Kate

    Stupid racist garbage and dumb arguements.

    September 25, 2011 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  38. Another Guy

    Some people should read this article about anti-racism:
    Wikipedia Article

    September 25, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Another Guy

    Here's that link for anti-racism:

    September 25, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Annalise

    I suspect this person is actually NEITHER black nor of minority background but is just attempting to incite racial arguments and dissensions. Regardless of the situation, his/her comments are thoughtless and irrelevant to the show.

    September 25, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Yes

    Exactly! I wish people were more perceptive as yourself...

    September 26, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  42. Booo

    I think a person would have to either be a first time visitor to this blog or an idiot to think otherwise of such comments. That said, I responded today because A. I'm bored, and B. I'm tired of reading this junk. But I do not feel as though I've some how taken the bait or sunk to this person's level just because I was bored enough to call this person out after months of being hooked on this blog and reading the same mess day after day.

    September 26, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |

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