‘Monroe’: Series 1 episode guide

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Coming to ITV1 in March, Monroe is a new medical drama series from writer Peter Bowker (Occupation, Desperate Romantics), starring James Nesbitt, Sarah Parish and Tom Riley.

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The six-part series explores neurosurgeon Gabriel Monroe’s world both inside and outside the hospital, as medical emergencies cut across the lives of everyone involved from staff to patients and relatives.


Episode 1
Thursday 10th March 2011, 9pm

Monroe (James Nesbitt) is a brilliant neurosurgeon, a husband and a father. At work, he has the courage to perform cutting edge brain surgery – operating on the very thing that makes us who we are. At home, he’s afraid to admit that his life is falling apart. To his patients, he is the most powerful person in the world: the man with the power to change their lives forever. Yet he is also human, and every bit as flawed as he is brilliant.

Nobody is more aware of Monroe’s flaws than Jenny Bremner (Sarah Parish), a glacial cardiac surgeon with little time for Monroe and his emotional approach to his patients. Bremner is a closed book, but with the help of his best friend and anaesthetist Lawrence Shepherd (Tom Riley), Monroe is determined to unearth her sense of humour.

While Bremner’s trainees Andrew Mullery (Andrew Gower) and Sarah Witney (Christina Chong) are left to observe her operations from the sidelines, Monroe does all he can to encourage his weak-stomached trainee Wilson and keep the ambitious Springer in check. Monroe’s registrar Sally Fortune (Manjinder Virk) has made it through her training to become his trusted right hand woman, but he isn’t convinced that his new recruits have what it takes.

Along with Shepherd, the formidable theatre nurse Wickens (Liz Hume-Dawson) and porter-cum-bookie Bradley (Thomas Morrison), they constitute Monroe’s dysfunctional hospital family. If he cannot repair his life at home, they might turn out to be his only family.

When a young woman, Alison Bannister (Sarah Smart) is admitted with a brain tumour, Monroe has to help her to face a frightening decision: an operation could leave her paralysed or unable to speak, yet without surgery, she is likely to die within a few years. Does she want to survive if surgery might change who she is? And can Monroe get her through this crisis as his own life starts to spiral out of control?


Episode 2
Thursday 17th March 2011, 9pm

As Monroe (James Nesbitt) struggles to accept the fact that his wife, Anna (Susan Lynch), has left him, he throws himself into work and tries to pretend that his life is not in free fall. His best friend and anaesthetist Shepherd (Tom Riley) can see straight through him, and his teenage son is demanding answers – but can Monroe find the courage to admit the truth about why his marriage has ended?

At the hospital, Monroe and Bremner have to deal with a double shooting after a fourteen year old boy accidentally shoots his twelve year old brother, before attempting to kill himself. Springer (Luke Allen-Gale) literally manages to add insult to injury by offending the boys’ father as his son lies on the operating table, and Monroe is forced to resort to extreme measures to prove that the boys are in good hands. With his own home life disintegrating, Monroe is determined to engage with the boys’ family and understand why the parents are estranged, but his attempts to help are less than welcome.

The bitter and funny personality clash between Monroe and Bremner (Sarah Parish) continues, and Bremner is incensed by Monroe’s attempts to play ‘family therapist’ with the mother of her patient. Shepherd is buoyed up by a mystery date, but refuses to share any details with Monroe and Bradley. Meanwhile, Bremner discovers that even the trainees are gossiping about her impersonal attitude to her patients, and Witney (Christina Chong) has some explaining to do. Springer finally meets his match in the form of a fearsome theatre nurse.


Episode 3
Thursday 24th March 2011, 9pm

With his family home up for sale and his teenage son, Nick (Perry Millward) refusing to take his calls, Monroe (James Nesbitt) throws himself into his job, tackling life at the hospital with his usual energy and humour. When Anna (Susan Lynch) makes it clear that she has moved on, he tries to embrace his new single status, but is he ready to leave the past behind?

When an ex-soldier is admitted with a blood clot in his brain, Monroe takes the controversial decision to avoid surgery. As he comes under increasing pressure to operate, will his “wait and see” approach be the right one? Bremner (Sarah Parish) is torn when she is asked to operate on an elderly lady for the second time. Will she break her own rule and let emotion get in the way of her clinical instincts?

Bremner is annoyed by Monroe’s attempts to find her human side, and Shepherd (Tom Riley) remains tight lipped about the details of his mystery date. Monroe finds Shepherd’s love life a welcome distraction from his own, but he is shocked when the identity of his friend’s new woman is finally revealed. Meanwhile, Springer (Luke Allen-Gale) tries to cover up the fact that he has ‘mislaid’ a patient, while Witney (Christina Chong) faces the wrath of Bremner and there’s a surprise addition to Monroe’s poker circle.


Episode 4
Thursday 31st March 2011, 9pm

Monroe’s (James Nesbitt) life plunges further into chaos as he discovers that ‘civilized divorce’ is harder than he had ever imagined. As Anna (Susan Lynch) starts a new life, Monroe is determined to show that he can move on too, but his attempts to enter the world of dating seem doomed to failure.

At the hospital, Monroe is sure that surgery can help Brendan (Tony Mooney), a family man whose epileptic seizures have been getting worse. However, Brendan has other ideas: he firmly believes that God is talking to him during his seizures, and is reluctant to give up these powerful religious experiences, even if it means that his condition will deteriorate.

Monroe tries to persuade him to go ahead with the operation, but Brendan’s teenage daughter, Phoebe (Phoebe Dynevor), accuses Monroe of being too arrogant to understand her father’s special closeness to God. Is Monroe right to try to persuade him, and what will Brendan decide to put his faith in?

Witney (Christina Chong) and Mullery (Andrew Gower) are unnerved by Bremner’s (Sarah Parish) suspiciously good mood, but Monroe is sure that he knows her secret. Unable to resist having some fun, he reveals that he knows about her relationship with Shepherd (Tom Riley), but Bremner is furious to find that she is the subject of gossip and takes decisive action. Meanwhile, Witney struggles to prove that she isn’t judgemental, Bremner has to treat a young patient with a crush on her and Springer (Luke Allen-Gale) continues to infuriate Monroe.


Episode 5
Thursday 7th April 2011, 9pm

When registrar Sally Fortune collapses, Monroe is faced with the terrifying prospect of operating on a colleague. Fortune’s condition is serious – she has an aneurysm in her brain which could burst at any moment, and one wrong move during surgery risks leaving her permanently damaged. Fortune places her trust in her mentor, but when the procedure begins to go badly, Monroe has to hold his nerve in a race against time to save his registrar.

Monroe’s thorny relationship with Bremner reaches a crisis point when Bremner becomes involved in Fortune’s treatment, and Shepherd finds himself torn between his best friend and his new girlfriend. Shepherd is convinced that he can make Bremner happy, but can their fledging relationship survive the pressures of the hospital?

The trainees are all anxious about Fortune, but Mullery seems more worried than anyone – is there more to his concern than meets the eye? Meanwhile, Witney has to contend with a patient who refuses to have her surgery cancelled, and Springer learns that no patient is disposable.

At home, Monroe claims that he is being ‘mature’ by helping his wife to start a new life without him, but their son Nick is not convinced. Is Monroe finally ready to let go of the past, or is he giving up on his marriage too easily?


Episode 6
Thursday 14th April 2011, 9pm

Monroe is finally forced to confront the painful truth about his past when a lively night shift at the hospital suddenly takes a darker turn. The day of reckoning has finally arrived for the trainees as they face their assessments, and Monroe tries to persuade Bremner to make Shepherd stay.

Monroe (James Nesbitt) is finally forced to confront the painful truth about his past when a lively night shift at the hospital suddenly takes a darker turn. When a thirteen year old girl is admitted following a road accident, Monroe knows that there is little chance of saving her and an operation could leave her severely damaged. However, her father begs him to operate and give her a chance to live – whatever the consequences.

Shepherd (Tom Riley) sees that Monroe is wavering and accuses him of allowing his emotions to cloud his judgement. But Monroe is a father as well as a surgeon, and seeing this young girl makes his own pain come flooding back. Can Monroe save her, and will he ever be able to let go of his own grief and make peace with his family?

Shepherd is still smarting from his break up with Bremner (Sarah Parish), but finds it impossible to avoid her at the hospital. When Monroe discovers that he is thinking about leaving, he begs Bremner to give his best friend a second chance, but Shepherd is not prepared for what Bremner has to tell him.

Meanwhile, the competition between the trainees intensifies as the day of their assessments arrives. Springer (Luke Allen-Gale) is sure that Monroe wants to get rid of him, but Wilson (Michelle Asante) has a surprise in store. Witney (Christina Chong) is frustrated when she loses out on a training opportunity to Mullery (Andrew Gower), but Mullery has bigger concerns as Fortune (Manjinder Virk) continues to feel the impact of her surgery.