If there’s one thing we don’t need more of, it’s TV dramas revolving around hospitals and/or doctors. Next to police procedurals, they’re pretty much the most overused concept in TV history. So then, why should you be interested in Beat the Reaper, a new HBO drama about a doctor, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio? Because this one’s got a pretty nasty twist to it.

According to Deadline, HBO has just purchased the series, beating out four other networks for the rights. Written and executive produced by movie writers Brian Koppleman and David Levien (Ocean’s Thirteen), Beat the Reaper tells the story of a young E.R. doctor. So far, so familiar. Where things become interesting is when a patient recognizes the doctor as his true identity: a former employee of a notorious crime family. Now the doctor has to try to protect his new life, keep the secrets of his old life from coming out, and evade the mobsters from his past who want him dead. As if that’s not enough trouble, he also begins to learn that “everything he knew about his past may have been wrong.”

Beat the Reaper is based on the debut novel by writer Josh Bazell, who is a physician himself, so he ought to bring some verisimilitude to the story. It sounds like the premise has some similarities to A History of Violence. That concept made for an amazing movie, the question is just whether Koppleman and Levien will be able to stretch it out into a continuing story in an entertaining and sustainable way.

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