Guest Author - Lizzie Flynn
“Eli Stone” premiered on ABC on January 21, 2008 as a mid-season replacement. The show centers on a corporate attorney that is suddenly overcome by hallucinations. It was picked up for 13 episodes and during that time we’ve watched Eli go from corporate big-wig to fighting pro bono for the underdog- and watching his life collapse as he does it.
During the pilot episodes, we meet Eli, who is played by British actor Johnny Lee Miller. He’s a take-no-prisoners corporate attorney who is consumed with his lavish lifestyle. He has a fast car, nice apartment, big office and gorgeous fiancée. He seems quite content with the way his life is heading. Then one day he starts to hear George Michael singing “Faith”.
Eli continues on with his life, despite the increasing audio hallucinations. When a young woman walks into his office looking for help in fighting a pharmaceutical company, he brushes her off. Her son is autistic and she believes it’s because of mercury in his vaccines. Eli wants no part of it and goes about his day. That night, as he’s in bed with his fiancée, he hears the music coming from his living room. This time, when Eli goes to investigate, he actually sees George Michael standing on his coffee table. Thus begins Eli’s struggles with his increasingly inconvenient visions which are so realistic that they begin to disrupt his real life.
Eli begins to search for answers for these visions from two sources: his brother and a Chinese acupuncturist. The acupuncturist, Dr. Chen, believes that these are prophetic visions and tries to convince Eli that he must find the message the visions are trying to convey. He helps Eli along by using acupuncture needles on his head. During his first session Eli sees that the young mother who was looking for his help was actually the first woman he’d ever slept with. He decides that the visions must be telling him to help her and he agrees to take her case pro bono.
As the case proceeds, Eli is struck with more visions and he seeks help from his brother. He’s afraid that he’s going to turn into his alcoholic father. Eli’s brother tells him that Eli is suffering from an inoperable brain aneurysm and most certainly inherited that defect from his father. From this point Eli is torn between the scientific explanation for his visions and the fact that they do seem to be prophetic. He continues to see Dr. Chen for spiritual guidance, while contemplating medical intervention to stop the hallucinations.
Each episode of “Eli Stone” revolves around what his visions want him to do in the legal arena and how they’re tearing his personal life a part. Eli eventually loses his fiancée, his fancy car and his office. He most certainly would have lost his job if he’d not won the autism case- at the end of which his young client insisted that the settlement include lifetime employment for Eli. He continues to take- and win- pro bono cases which involve the subjects of his visions. His work causes strife in the law firm and eventually pits one managing partner against the other. Because of all of this turmoil in his life, Eli makes the decision to try medical treatment for his aneurysm.
“Eli Stone” takes minor controversial topics, intertwines science and mysticism, throws in some personal drama and stirs the pot. It’s a compelling storyline that has potential to grow and thrive. ABC is hoping to find the show a good timeslot so that more people stumble across it and get hooked. The season 1 finale airs on April 17, 2008.