By Terry Kelleher
October 16, 2000 12:00 PM

ABC (Wednesdays, 10 p.m. ET)

Dr. Ben Gideon, the brilliant head of experimental medicine at a Boston hospital, is warning his latest desperately ill patient, a business tycoon with kidney cancer, about the perilous treatment that awaits him: “If you die, and I very well might kill you, that’s against my reputation. When you suffer—and believe me, you will suffer—that’s on my conscience. ” If Gideon sounds insufferably godlike, well, that’s not the way Andre Braugher plays him. Instead he brings to the character the same edgy intensity and low-key empathy that informed his portrayal of Det. Frank Pembleton on NBC’s Homicide: Life on the Street. Gideon’s Crossing showcases those attributes but doesn’t know when to quit. Throughout the commercial-free Oct. 10 opener, Dr. Gideon gives a few too many fiery, eloquent, commencement-style speeches about patient care, medical ethics and the meaning of life. At one point singer Rubén Blades, cast as the hospital’s chief administrator and Ben’s best friend and sounding board, sighs, “This is getting tedious.” He’s right. Meanwhile, the residents and interns who are Gideon’s acolytes barely interact with him and seem to be stuck in a different, more frivolous series—perhaps Trapper John, M.D. We recommend immediate surgery.

Bottom Line: Bravura performance, but Braugher needs support—stat!