Currently starring on NBC's primetime hit "Medical Investigation" Anna Belknap portrays Eva Rossi, the press liaison for a team of highly skilled doctors and scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in NBC’s “Medical Investigation.” “Eva is smart, wily and exceptionally good at her job,” says Belknap. “She’s fun because she has no qualms about using any means necessary to accomplish a task."
Born and raised in Damariscotta, a small town on the coast of Maine, Belknap graduated from Middlebury College and received her masters in fine arts degree from the American Conservatory Theater. Most recently, she portrayed Lily in the 2003 drama series “The Handler” and has been featured in numerous guest spots on series including NBC’s “Law & Order.” Belknap is known to theater audiences in New York and Los Angeles for her roles in such plays as Mary Zimmerman’s “Metamorphoses” and Darko Tresnjak’s rendition of William Shakespeare’s “Pericles” (for which she was honored with the 2002 San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Craig Noel Award for Outstanding Performance.) In addition to her television credits (see below), she has numerous stage credits, and has performed at: Second Stage Theatre, the Huntington Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum, the Globe Theater, the Westport Country Playhouse, the Olney Theatre, Breadloaf Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theater, and the Williamstown Theater Festival. Anna is a member of the Rude Mechanicals Theatre Company.
Anna Belknap will soon make her feature-film debut in a starring role in the independent film "Death by Committee."
In her spare time, Belknap loves yoga, camping, hiking and scouring thrift stores for old furniture. Her birthday is May 22. Last known to be living in Brooklyn, New York.
Anna Belknap plays sexy in NBC's series ''Medical Investigation''
Illness can be a sexy topic for television, NBC executives have discovered.
They have combined health fears (think western Pennsylvania's hepatitis and salmonella outbreaks) with the investigation formula (CBS' successful "CSI" franchise). The result is "Medical Investigation."
The title may not be exciting, but the premise is interesting. A mobile medical team, from the National Institutes of Health, is summoned at a moment's notice to fly anywhere an unexplained health concern arises.
The premiere episode is full of intense, melodramatic dialogue. That may be the biggest drawback to this show finding an audience. The overemotional script detracts from the seriousness of the cases.
The series offers a home for actors who lost shows last season: Neal McDonough from "Boomtown," Kelli Williams from "The Practice," Christopher Gorham from "Jake 2.0" and Anna Belknap from "The Handler." With Troy Winbush, they form the team.
Dr. Stephen Connor (McDonough) leads the team. His moods are explosive, but no one questions his desire to learn the truth and save lives. He can be cocky and arrogant, always butting heads with local medical professionals. "My guess is better," he likes to tell them.
Dr. Natalie Durant (Williams) handles the intensive medical experiments and is rarely seen without her lab coat.
Eva Rossi (Belknap) is the sexy public relations specialist who travels with the team to keep the news media away. She will do anything she can to keep the investigations secret until the team is ready to release an announcement. Her charm and long legs are inferior only to her devious intellect.
Dr. Miles McCabe (Gorham) is the young pup who joined the team three weeks ago. He worries about impressing the demanding Stephen and is full of self-doubt.
Frank Powell (Winbush) is the field guy who gathers evidence from victims' homes, offices and anywhere they might have been.
The team sweeps into the area and takes over any investigation, often angering local officials. Their only goal is to discover the cause of the outbreak so it can be stopped and save lives. As in most television shows, they are even willing to break the law to achieve that goal.
"Let me tell you what the NIH involves itself in," says Miles. "Answers. Your tax dollars pay for the NIH so that when, God forbid, some unforeseen, nasty, never-before-seen-or-heard-of calamity strikes you, that some rubber stamping bureaucrat doesn't write you off without even trying."
The premiere episode claims to be based on actual events. A man turns blue and collapses while walking on a New York City street. Within hours nine more cases are reported, with all the patients on the verge of death. While the team tries to deal with that emergency, Miles is sent to investigate a baby hospitalized with spontaneous bruising. His diagnosis will determine if parents are arrested for child abuse.
The stakes are high and each character deals with the stress of making life-and-death decisions. Stephen, who is separated from his wife, seems to be the most affected by the extreme nature of the job.
The show's premise could rival the mysteries featured on the popular "CSI" and "Law & Order" franchises. Given a chance, "Medical Investigations" could find its stride and offer a hit for NBC on Friday nights.
Anna Belknap plays with energy and spunk
People turn deathly blue on the premiere of NBC's "Medical Investigation," a show that can make viewers go blue in disappointment.
This slick drama, debuting in the "ER" time slot Thursday, supplies the perfect preview of the upcoming television season. Although deftly photographed and edited, "Medical Investigation" offers nothing remotely surprising or fresh as it follows a team of experts from the National Institutes of Health.
The show is simply an imitation in a season packed with them. It's NBC's attempt to make its own "CSI," the high-rated CBS drama that has yielded two spinoffs.
Every week, the brilliant team of "Medical Investigation" will race to unravel mysteries and save lives. In the grim premiere, inspired by true events, the experts scramble to help the growing number of blue patients. The doctors don't provide a lot of relief to blue viewers.
In the second episode, airing in the series' regular Friday slot this week, the specialists treat young girls who have come down with encephalitis. In another installment, the doctors aid children suffering fatigue and rashes.
The setup gives way to formulaic drama. The experts furrow brows, bicker and shout before they have a eureka moment: That's what's causing the sickness!
This storytelling doesn't give the first-rate cast a lot of room to maneuver. The actors also spend time in the premiere lecturing others on the National Institutes of Health, as if that august agency needed a sales job.
Most of the pontificating falls to Neal McDonough, the intense actor who was a revelation as Deputy District Attorney David McNorris on "Boomtown." In "Medical Investigation," McDonough plays Dr. Stephen Connor, who barks orders, snaps at underlings and comes off as ridiculously tough.
"He suffers from a bad case of high expectations," a colleague says.
The same could be said of "Boomtown" fans. They want more from McDonough, but "Medical Investigation" limits him. When Connor isn't snarling, he's fretting over his faltering marriage and his beloved son.
Even so, the actors give some oomph to the predictable storytelling and suggest the show could grow. Kelli Williams, who was a treasure on "The Practice," is winning as Connor's more levelheaded colleague. Christopher Gorham, the young hero from "Jake 2.0," brings touching confusion to his role as the team's newest member.
Anna Belknap, who was so good as an undercover cop in last season's "The Handler," plays the publicity liaison with energy and spunk. She delivers even though the premiere hands her the worst situation: repeatedly misleading a reporter to throw him off the story of the blue patients.
No one will be misled by "Medical Investigation," a show as derivative as its title. It's just stubbornly average. Sadly, by those standards, it's NBC strongest new drama this fall. That's what kind of season it will be.
Anna Belknap is one to watch as she stars in the new TV drama ''Medical Investigation''
The star of the new medical drama appeared on the CBS series "The Handler" last year. The show was canceled before Belknap could make an impression. She gets a better chance with "Medical Investigation." Belknap gets to show a lot of different sides of her character as she plays a conniving press liaison for the medical team.
NBC medical show patterns itself after today’s trendy police procedurals. Crime doesn't have a monopoly on mystery and intrigue. Medical Investigation takes the procedural story-telling techniques that have made CSI: Crime Scene Investigation TV's most popular drama, and attempts to transfer them from apprehending felons to arresting diseases. The similarity in the title of the new NBC drama to the CBS smash is not coincidental. NBC wouldn't mind if viewer confusion creates a broader sampling for the new show. A golden send-off in the ER time slot, before Medical Investigation settles on Fridays, is another means toward the same end.
Those who do find Medical Investigation will likely be satisfied but not blown away. The writing doesn't approach the level of CSI or ER, probably a more apt comparison, and although there are some sharp performances, they don't quite match the outstanding work presented weekly on CSI.
Dr. Stephen Connor, an uncompromising leader and disciplinarian in the mold of a Gen. Patton, heads an elite team of specialists from the National Institutes of Health, which moves in when local efforts at disease containment fail or a case with widespread ramifications is especially baffling. In the pilot, it's a fast-spreading epidemic that renders its victims a vivid blue.
As far-fetched as this might sound, everything in the show has a basis in medical fact, according to executive producer Marc Buckland.
"There's no fabrication of the medical aspect of this show," he said. "Everything is based on scientific fact. Some of the stories were events that occurred. Others are dramatizations of things that could occur in today's world."
"This one was inspired by a true event that happened in the '50s," said Neal McDonough, who plays Connor. However, the organization depicted is a composite character, co-executive producer Larry Andries said. "The NIH is more research and [the Centers for Disease Control] is more investigative. What we've done is combine both agencies into this fictional team. The NIH, I think, will thank us for giving them some exposure they haven't had before."
McDonough, who scored plaudits in the under-appreciated Boomtown, is superb again as Dr. Connor, who like Patton, alienates with a superior attitude and condescending manner even those who marvel at his successes.
Professionally, Dr. Connor is almost too good to be true, a physician whose skills include an ESP-like ability to re-create the conditions responsible for the affliction he is trying to treat. Alas, his almost superhuman feats come at the expense of his personal life. The obligation to be prepared to drop everything at a moment's notice and fly off to the site of the latest medical crisis has cost him his marriage and the quality time he cherishes with a young son, who idolizes him.
McDonough is well supported by a solid ensemble. Kelli Williams, on the rebound from The Practice, is McDonough's equal as Dr. Natalie Durant, the one person Dr. Connor respects enough to allow her to tell him when it's time to ground his flights of ego or dial down his uber-intensity.
Williams finds it humorous that both she and McDonough are segueing from playing lawyers: "I finally got the legal jargon down after seven years," she said. The transition isn't as challenging for her as it is for her co-star; her father is a doctor. "Finally there's another doctor in the family," she said with a laugh. McDonough joked that he's putting her family background to good use. "Half the time, I have no idea what I'm saying, so she's my acting coach."
Troy Winbush plays Frank Powell, a crack researcher, whose work in the lab makes Connor's medical miracles possible. Frank is the Medical Investigation player who could slide right over to CSI and fit in.
Christopher Gorham and Anna Belknap provide youth appeal. Gorham, who was seen (but not by many) last season in UPN's Jake 2.0, is the newest member of the NIH team, Dr. Miles McCabe, who is still striving to earn the complete trust of Connor. In the pilot, he's dispatched to a secondary case in a distant location, where he dares to use unconventional tactics in search of a satisfactory result.
Belknap, who was in the same time period last year on CBS's The Handler, plays the one character still in need of work, NIH publicity liaison Eva Rossi. While she works in a field not renowned for its ethics, Eva takes it much too far over the top in the premiere, using extreme flirtation and borderline kidnapping to keep a reporter from breaking a story on the doctors' activities. "She's a consummate liar, so you're not sure exactly what she's saying is the truth, even to her own team," Andries said.
While Eva is clearly crafted to provide some comic relief, Andries acknowledged that the writers might have gone too far and promised subtle changes to make Eva more credible. "There's a great opportunity to go from the pilot to episode two and tweak things in tiny ways. You'll see Anna's character become much more smart, savvy and strategic in what she does."
Although Eva is a less-than-compelling reason to watch -- she might even be a turnoff -- there is enough that's pleasing and interesting in the premiere to bring back the majority of the audience to witness the transformation.
Entertainment Weekly says of “Medical Investigation”:
… if you want to snooze, this show will put you out faster than a mallet to the back of the head …
TV Guide says,says of “Medical Investigation”:
… at times as generic as its clinical title … But there’s suspenseful urgency to these scary cases
The Hollywood Reporter says:
Leading the team is Neal McDonough, who plays Dr. Stephen Connor, dedicated, driven and demanding. We know there's a softer side thanks to the scenes with his son on a baseball diamond that bookend the story. Between those scenes, though, Connor is mostly a one-dimensional figure, a far cry from the complex district attorney McDonough played so brilliantly in "Boomtown." …the most engaging character by far is the medical unit's public information officer, Eva Rossi (Anna Belknap). Her use of feminine wiles to divert a male reporter from the story, while somewhat implausible, nonetheless provides some desperately needed lighter moments and playfulness …
… the concept is derivative of "CSI" and a dozen other sources … Personal lives will apparently take a back seat to cases … its network … will schedule the show Fridays opposite ABC's "20/20" and CBS' ill-conceived "Dr. Vegas." If nothing else, that should be good news for cable. …
USA Today gives it three stars (out of four) and says:
… take points off from Medical Investigation for such blatant copying. Then, TV being a relative business, add points back for copying well, taking the CSI template and using it effectively to turn medicine into a guess-what-happens-next mystery. …
The Los Angeles Times says:
When I saw that a new drama on NBC was called "Medical Investigation," I thought, fine, if that's all the thought you're going to put into the title, I'll just call this "Review of Television Show." … a slick thriller, goofy in its dialogue but also well-made and zippy. .. inspired by Hollywood clichés. In addition to telling each other there's no time, the characters make haughty speeches.
Anna Belknap gets undercover in the ''Handler''
THE HANDLER stars Joe Pantoliano as Joe Renato, an FBI agent who trains and handles agents who go undercover to solve crimes at all levels of Los Angeles' diverse society. From underground prostitution rings and drug traffickers to the worlds of high tech and high finance, it's a behind-the-scenes look at how Joe's well-schooled operatives infiltrate and tackle them all. Joe is the ultimate "puppet master" who also interfaces with government and local law enforcement agencies that come to him for help with both long-term and quick sting operations. He knows from personal experience that going undercover is an all-or-nothing job. Any lapse in "character" can mean the difference between life and death for his operatives, and Joe goes to great lengths to make sure his people are properly prepared, mentally and physically. He tirelessly directs a revolving cast of characters, including Lily (Anna Belknap), a wide-eyed rookie undercover agent; Darnell (Hill Harper), an ambitious veteran; Heather (Lola Glaudini), an enthusiastic transfer, and Marcy (Tanya Wright), Joe's trustworthy assistant and sole confidante. They all walk a fine line between fighting crimes and committing them, all the while looking out for each other.