‘The Night Shift’: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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The doctors on NBC’s The Night Shift face a challenging environment at San Antonio Memorial Hospital, with insane patients, on-site medical care and dwindling funds to keep the place running. The medical drama features doctors who served on the front lines of the war in the Afghanistan and bring that same intensity into the emergency room.

The show’s star, Eoin Macken, who plays T.C. Callahan, describes the show as a cross between ER and M*A*S*H.

Here’s what you need to know about The Night Shift and how the doctors handle the move back home after serving on the battlefield.

1. Hospital Dramatics Head to the Alamo

The Night Shift

(Lewis Jacobs/NBC)

The medical drama sets its story in San Antonio, Texas, and these doctors will have a lot of ground to cover. The San Antonio Memorial Hospital services 22 counties and must often send medical care by helicopter, according to creator Jeff Judah.

That’s why Callahan doesn’t flinch when the hospital boss Michael Ragosa threatens a shut down, because the hospital provides the closest trauma center in 10 counties.

2. The Army Doctors Need the Night Shift Adrenaline

Callahan and his best friend Topher spent three tours in Afghanistan as military medics, so the transition into the hectic night shift seemed natural. They feed off the adrenaline of saving dying babies and extracting trees from impaled motorists.

Macken tells NBC about Callahan’s move from the battlefield to the emergency room:

TC is suffering an awful lot from having been in Afghanistan and now he’s working in the ER, and the reason why he works in the ER on the night shift is because he needs that adrenaline rush. So he’s a little bit of an adrenaline junkie in that way.

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3. Callahan Works Hard & Plays Harder

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Callahan may save lives at night, but he puts his own life at risk while off-duty by engaging in bar fights and drinking too much. Topher tries to keep him out of trouble, and his ex-girlfriend Jordan, now the night shift supervisor, needs her best doctor sober on the job.

The brooding and handsome doctor isn’t the biggest fan of following the rules, though.

He’s an intense dude who’s very quick to wrangle, but he’s a very, very smart doctor. He just doesn’t like being told what to do, so he likes doing things his own way.

4. Crazy Patient Plot Lines Are Based on True ER Stories

The doctors on the night shift see different kinds of patients during the “witching hours.” After dark, the stupid drunks, drug addicts and the plain crazies all come out and many end up making a trip to the ER.

The stories on the show are inspired by real life ER cases. The producers said at the NBC Summer Press Day that they “were fascinated by the ER doctors working with the unique cases that only occur at night.”

5. 150 Miles Separate San Antonio and Mexico, Yet No One on ‘The Night Shift’ Speaks Spanish

The Night Shift


It makes sense Callahan and Topher would return to San Antonio, the Military City, after three tours in Afghanistan, but the show doesn’t take advantage of its mix of English and Spanish speakers trying to find care at the local hospitals. San Antonio-based critic Matt Stieb criticizes the show for dropping the ball on incorporating the real city elements in his review for The San Antonio Current.

“… the show balks at SA’s rich Tejano culture. Given the captivating power of well-paced Spanglish (see Breaking Bad or Junot Díaz’s work), The Night Shift has the opportunity to craft telling scenes of bilingual connection and clash in the hospital, an important cross-cultural space. Rather, Spanish is avoided like the plague and the sole dude who gives off the slightest of SA vibes is Dr. Callahan’s bookie, onscreen for a handful of frames.”

Creators Judah and Gabe Sachs focuses more on the military theme of the show rather than the diversity factor. Judah tells My San Antonio why the show chose the Texas city rather than a more popular American metropolitan.

“It worked out also because we wanted to have a military theme involved, and there’s so many bases… we could have people from San Antonio working at the hospital and a lot of others from around the country who settled there after being in the military.”

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