Friday, March 18, 2005


There's been a lot of online speculation as to who has been cast to play Catherine Willow's mom on an episode of 'CSI' to air during May Sweeps.

TV Guide said a deal was being worked out to get someone who has 2 Academy Award noms and five Golden Globes. Now, they probably thought that was vague enough for a blind item, but perhaps they forgot that sites like the contains such information as "awards & nominations". Then it's just a matter of searching through it for the right criteria.

And someone does pass muster for the information, and who does have enough of a resemblance to actress Marg Helgenberger to be accepted as being related to Catherine. (Not that such concerns ever were given priority in casting before, but it's nice that more often than not nowadays showrunners are thinking in terms of tele-genetics.)

So don't be surprised if they land Ann Margaret to assay the role.

While thinking upon this casting coup, I started wondering about family ties for other TV characters, and particularly for those I'm especially keen on.

One of these would be Dr. Gregory House, of 'House' on FOX.

Although the role is played by British comic actor Hugh Laurie, House is being presented as an American. Hugh Laurie has assumed a very convincing mid-Atlantic accent and to this untrained ear, it appears that he's pulling it off.

(Unlike poor Mark Addy on 'Standing Still'. His Brit roots slip through on occasion and to top it off, he's probably trying for a Queens, NY accent to boot.)

We don't know much yet about the background of Dr. House. He's hooked on Vicodin because of debilitating leg injury for which he needs the assistance of a cane. And from a recent snippet of dialogue, it's possible that he had been shot.

Otherwise we don't know much else. So in casting actors to play his father, we're left with a pretty empty canvas to fill.

That's not the case for the ex-husband of Kate Harper on 'The West Wing'. We've never met him, but we know he'll have to be tall, balding, and have a Dick Van Dyke nose. Pretty tall order for the casting agent, unless they already had somebody in mind for the role when the description of her ex-husband was written.

And speaking of Dick Van Dyke, that's my suggestion for the role of Dr. House's father, should ever the need for him to be presented on the show arises. He's of the right age to play the father of a man in his mid-forties, and both Van Dyke and Laurie share a long-faced lankiness, right down to the melted bob of a tip to the nose. Any differences that melt the complete similarity between the two can be splained away by the input of genetic junk from the mother.

And who might play Dr. House's mother? Actually, I'm not that all interested. I would just like to see Dick Van Dyke in the role of his father. And why? Because this is a blog dedicated to Toobworld, my students. What I actually want is more than just Dick Van Dyke playing House's father.....

I want Dick Van Dyke playing House's father as Dr. Mark Sloan!

That's right - I think a link can be made between the shows 'House' and 'Diagnosis Murder' by having Van Dyke reprise his role as Mark Sloan one last time. Crossing network borders shouldn't be a problem. Just last week Winslow High School Principal Steven Harper, formerly on FOX's 'Boston Public', showed up in a Boston courtroom on an episode of 'Boston Legal' on ABC. Alan Brady ('The Dick Van Dyke Show' - CBS) showed up in 'Mad About You' on NBC. Professor Kingsfield of 'The Paper Chase' (CBS and Showtime) appeared in an episode of 'The Associates' on ABC.

And the master of the border crossings is Detective John Munch of 'Homicide: Life On The Street' and 'Law & Order: SVU'. Not only is he the heir presumptive to the throne of Crossover King, but two of his appearances have been on other networks - in an episode of 'The X-Files' on FOX, and in the second episode of the very short-lived 'The Beat' on UPN.

And the fact that both shows came from different production companies shouldn't be much of a hassle. The NYC cops of 'Law & Order' never had that type of interference from the Powers That Be when working with the Baltimore cops of 'Homicide: Life On The Street'. Who writes out their checks never was a concern when Jessica Fletcher teamed up with Thomas Magnum to solve a murder in Hawaii during a crossover between 'Murder, She Wrote' and 'Magnum, P.I.'.

And once again we go to Detective Munch as an example for this as well with all of his crossovers.

So from a production viewpoint, obstacles could be smoothed over. It's from the inner reality of the plotline that we might face a few arguments.

Most of all, it's the fact that there was never any mention of a second son for Dr. Mark Sloan in all the years 'Diagnosis Murder' was on the air. He had two children - Steve Sloan, a Los Angeles police detective who often worked with his dad in solving cases; and a daughter who was tragically murdered.

Added to this is the obvious difference in their last names - Sloan and House.

I'm not the only one who can see the obvious answer, right?

Greg House is the illegitimate son of Mark Sloan.

The days when our TV heroes were cast as exemplars of virtue are long gone. Nowadays they have flaws, and foibles, and failings - they are the F Troop. They make mistakes in Life, but eventually they admit to them and they rise above them. (Unless of course we're talking about Detective Vic Mackey of 'The Shield'.) That's what makes them human, what makes them real. And what makes them interesting to watch week after week.

Having been the bastard son of a noted crime-solving doctor on the West Coast might be a great splainin for some of Dr. House's acerbic attitude towards the rest of the world at large. And a chance to rectify that situation with a renewed relationship with the father he never knew might provide for as many episodes as they wanted to run with it; perhaps a once-a-year type of reunion.

And nothing says they HAVE to iron out all their differences. After all, we don't want House becoming all sweetness and light - that's not why he's become such an interesting character for the audience.

So that's my idea. Cast Dick Van Dyke as the father of Dr. Greg House on 'House'. And pull a few strings with Lee Goldberg to get him cast to play the role as Dr. Mark Sloan. And in doing so, we can then add 'House' to 'Jake And The Fatman', 'Mannix', 'Matlock', and 'Mission: Impossible' as shows with links to 'Diagnosis Murder'.

I'm throwing it out there free of charge; putting it into print that I wouldn't be looking for any monetary remuneration for the idea, O Powers That Be. I'll be happy with just getting the crossover link to add to the TV Universe.


1 comment:

Lee Goldberg said...

Works for me...then again, I'm as tv-twisted as you are: I'm the guy who had Joe Mannix, Ben Matlock and Cinnamon Carter show up on DM.

It will never happen...but it is fun to think about.