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Season 4 of 'The Heart Guy' Arrives on Acorn
December 12, 2019  | By David Hinckley

Hugh Knight has been kicked out of a hospital where he was a nationally renowned surgeon and forced to relocate to a backwater town where he must demonstrate that he has rehabilitated himself.

Just from that premise, fans of the beloved Doc Martin series might be tempted to leap in and watch The Heart Guy, which is Hugh Knight's story and which launched its fourth season Monday on Acorn.

That's not a terrible idea. Fans should know, however, that Hugh is nothing like Doc.

Hugh (Rodger Corser) has only himself to blame for his fall from stardom. He has all the arrogance often attributed to great surgeons, with an accordant sense of entitlement and full confidence that rules are for everyone else.

When he learned the startling news they are not, at least not always, he was ordered by the Medical Board to leave Sydney and spend a year at Whyhope Hospital in his small Australian hometown.

That is where The Heart Guy (known as Doctor, Doctor in Australia, where it is produced) has unfolded. Instead of holding court with the most prestigious medical minds and stars in the country, Hugh finds himself sparring with family and friends, not all of them on good terms with him, and a new set of colleagues.

While Hugh may have lost his parking spot, he has lost none of his confidence or, others would daresay, arrogance. Since arriving in Whyhope, he has blown through a steady stream of relationships, including a potentially serious one with his close colleague Penny Cartwright (Hayley McElhinney).

As Season 4 begins, their professional relationship has hit a critical point where Hugh must decide whether to do the right and fair thing, or whether to put his own interests first.

His decision has immediate and potentially long-term consequences for Penny.

As this season begins, Hugh also faces the potential distraction of a new colleague, Tara, another top-level doctor who has been exiled to Whyhope for bad behavior. The question soon becomes whether lighting a second fire could quell the first, or whether the result is a bigger fire that's twice as hot.

Meanwhile, Hugh's brother, Matt (Ryan Johnson), gets a visit from his estranged wife, Charlie (Nicole da Silva), who insists it doesn't have to be over. Everyone expects Matt to reply that yeah, it does, but Matt hasn't always been firm that way.

A dozen other dramas bubble up around Whyhope, making The Heart Guy more of a soap opera than a medical or character drama. Some episodes hardly mention medicine at all.

And no, we didn't forget that while Hugh is lining up women for fun, he's also got a little woman back at home. His daughter Eliza, courtesy of his estranged wife Harriet (Genevieve Hegney), who has disappeared, is about to turn 1.

That helps explain why, sometime after his forced exile ended, Hugh is still hanging around Whyhope. It doesn't fully explain why he keeps living his old life while his Mum tends Eliza.

Still, The Heart Guy manages to make an annoying character the centerpiece of a show that often ends up being, well, heart-warming. Good job, Doc.

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