Michelle Borth, who was once proclaimed the nakedest woman on television for her role on Tell Me You Love Me, puts on an Army uniform for her new ABC series Combat Hospital, airing Tuesday nights at 10 p.m.
According to the native New Yorker, we will see “Michelle with no makeup on, hair pulled back and over-sized camos. It is the most unattractive that I have ever been.”
In the series, Borth plays Major Rebecca Gordon, the newest doctor at an airbase in Kandahar, Afghanistan. In this interview, she talks about learning medical procedures on YouTube, gives her opinion on whether Combat Hospital is more Grey’s Anatomy or M*A*S*H, and whether or not she be returning as McGarrett’s girl on Hawaii Five-0.
What kind of research – military and medical – does one do for a show like this?
Michelle Borth: Everything. You would be amazed at what you can learn on YouTube. I am not kidding. Any operation you type in, you can find like 10,000 hits on it.
So you can watch operations online?
Michelle Borth: Oh, yes. Over and over. I learned how to insert a chest tube. I swear. Type it in. I did more medical research by far than military.
Did you have advisers to go to on weapons training?
Michelle Borth: We are lucky we have an on-site medical/military consultant who is at our disposal all of the time – 24/7 – to answer any questions we have: how to pronounce a word, how to physically do a procedure.
How would you describe the show?
Michelle Borth: In a nutshell, it is a one-hour medical procedural that takes place in a Role 3 Medical Unit in Southern Afghanistan. It charts the lives of the residents, doctors and nurses and the struggle that they have to go through professionally and personally in wartime.
Is this going to be a Grey’s Anatomy or M*A*S*H-type of show?
Michelle Borth: I think there is a comparison to Grey’s Anatomy. I am not going to lie. It is not a carbon copy. I think the main difference is that it is higher stakes and a faster pace because it is more of a pressure-cooker situation so everything is a little bit heightened, which isn’t to say … We have humor in it. We absolutely try to find humor as much as we can so it is not too heavy because what we are dealing with is a very serious issue.
But there is romance and relationships?
Michelle Borth: Yes, but it is going to be much more interesting because fraternization is against regulations in a war zone. So, some things that are interesting in Grey’s are going to be much more interesting how we work it out in our show because we have to go against all these rules and regulations.
Can you describe your character?
Michelle Borth: Coming from Western civilized medicine where you have almost limitless resources, my character’s biggest struggle is learning that we don’t have the fancy resources. We have limited resources. We don’t have the fancy MRIs and CT scans, so my character has trouble understanding that you can’t expend all the resources on wounded soldier. That is a big adjustment for someone coming from America. “Oh, but I want to use the blood for this man,” but you can’t. You have 10 other injured soldiers coming in and they need the blood, too. It is a big adjustment.
If you were in that situation, what would you do?
Michelle Borth: I would do exactly what Rebecca did. I would try to save every life possible because she hasn’t learned yet. As a doctor it is instinctual to think, “I am going to save him,” as opposed to letting him go.
Any chance of you going back to Hawaii 5-0?
Michelle Borth: That’s a good question. I don’t know. I have a small arc in it. Catherine Rollins, Steve McGarrett’s girl, was an original character and she wasn’t killed off in the original one. As long as they keep me alive, I will be glad to go back.