TV doctors #13 – Dr. Keith Wilkes

Dr. Keith Wilkes (Rocky Carroll), Chicago Hope, CBS

Keith Wilkes, M.D. joined the Chicago Hope story as “Chief of Trauma” in 1996.  Now famous as NCIS Director Vance, actor Rocky Carroll’s been making his bones on stage and on large and small screens since the 80s.

TV doctors #12 – Dr. Melinda Warner, Coroner

Law & Order: SVU: Dr. Melinda Warner (Tamara Tunie), NBC

Dr. Melinda Warner (Tamara Tunie) has been the medical examiner on NBC’s Law & Order: SVU since season 2 at the turn of the millennium.  Stunning in appearance, the ex-Air Force Dr. gets to mix it up with the detectives every now and then, and even saved a living patient once.  Cool for a coroner!

TV doctors #11 – Michael Gallant, E.R.

ER's Michael Gallant (Sharif Atkins) back in Iraq, NBC

Michael Gallant (Sharif Atkins) arrived at the E.R. as the classic wet-behind-the-ears medical student in Season 7.  A member of the U.S. Army Reserve, his service in Iraq was a platform for E.R. to tackle veteran’s issues.

TV doctors #10 – Dr. Richard Webber

Dr. Richard Webber (James Pickens, Jr.), ABC's Grey's Anatomy

Dr. Richard Webber’s role as mentor on Grey’s Anatomy is rife with all the same personal issues that make nighttime dramas (soaps) work.  What’s he mentoring them in anyway?  James Pickens, Jr.’s long TV career landed him in a great role.

TV doctors vs. real MDs


the invitation card from the Open House in 1966

We’re almost halfway through my roster of African-American TV doctors.  We are profiling 22 regular television characters that have changed and are changing the way we look at the medical profession and its cultural context.  But I can’t wait to get back to telling you about the real doctors that impacted medicine in the city of Detroit back in the 1960s!

Let’s keep in mind that there were very few role models these men could draw upon as they served in World War II and Korean War, worked their way through medical school, broke down walls in 1950s Detroit, and built their own clinic from the ground up. Your interest and participation is essential to telling this story.

“Phase one” of the crowd-funding campaign   at concludes on Jan. 31.  A donation now will help us get the principal photography done.  Thanks for your support!

TV doctors #9 – Dr. Miranda Bailey

Residents called Dr. Miranda Bailey “the Nazi” for her tough exterior and even tougher demands.  Now an attending surgeon at Seattle Grace, this role is a central character on the hit TV franchise Grey’s Anatomy (thank you Shonda Rhimes!).  And Chandra Wilson’s portrayal has won her a SAG and several Emmy nominations.  How she handles the turmoil around her interns is a weekly joy to watch.

Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson), Grey's Anatomy, ABC

TV doctors #8 – Dr. Naomi Bennett

Dr. Naomi Bennett (Audra McDonald) on ABC's Private Practice

Naomi Bennett, M.D. was the OB/GYN fertility specialist and bestie to Addison Montgomery on ABC’s Private Practice, the first Grey’s Anatomy spin-off from creator Shonda Rhimes.  First played by Merrin Dungey in the backdoor pilot, then by Audra Montgomery through Season 4, there was plenty of drama between her and her ex-husband, played by Taye Diggs.

The 1st Naomi Bennett (Merrin Dungey), ABC

TV doctors #7 – Nurse LaVerne Roberts/Nurse Shirley, Scrubs

Nurse Laverne Roberts (Aloma Wright), Scrubs (Image: NBC)

Scrubs Nurse LaVerne Roberts (Aloma Wright) was the kind of don’t-take-no-mess-I-know-exactly-what’s-going-on nurse I would want caring for me.  She departed the half-hour comedy, but was brought back as her sister Shirley.  The ABC series lives on in syndication!


Nurse Shirley (Aloma Wright), Scrubs

from The Regular Guy and Scrubs Wikia)

TV doctors #6 – Dr. Otis Cole, Off the Map

Otis Cole (played by Jason Winston George) was “tough, plain-spoken, and highly respected at Clinica Cruz del Sur,” according to  Off the Map, another creation of Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice), although critically acclaimed, only lasted one season on ABC.

Dr. Otis Cole, "Off the Map" (Jason Winston George), ABC

TV doctors #5 – Dr. Peter Benson

Dr. Peter Benson, E.R., NBC (Eriq LaSalle)

E.R.’s Dr. Peter Benson was erratic and driven, part of one of TV’s great ensemble casts.  It was a fantastic role for actor Eriq LaSalle.