It’s almost too perfect. Sometime in 2018, Jodie Whittaker will take on the role of the 13th Doctor Who, that playful time- and space-hopping hero of British science fiction television. She’s also the first woman to get the role in the show’s half-century history.
But before that, American audiences can get to know her through the new series “Trust Me,” which Hulu premiered last week. On that show, she also plays a doctor. Or, more precisely, she plays a person playing a doctor.
On “Trust Me,” she stars as Cath Hardacre, a caring but overworked nurse in a busy Scottish hospital, a single mother barely scraping by on her salary. Seeing some doctors engage in negligent behavior with patients, she blows the whistle to her supervisors. But given the clout that doctors have, the hospital administrators instead rebuke her, and place her on suspension.
Stung by being punished for playing by the rules, Cath decides to break them in a major way. When a doctor at the hospital, Dr. Abby Sutton, announces she’s moving to New Zealand, Cath swipes her resume and applies for a job at an Edinburgh hospital, posing as Dr. Abby Sutton. After all, she’s worked alongside doctors in the emergency room for years. How hard can it be, right?
So “Trust Me” is a medical drama with a noir thriller’s heartbeat, as Cath goes to greater and greater lengths not to have her deception found out by her co-workers. When she faces a patient with a life-threatening condition, the suspense is doubled. Can she figure out how to treat him without having the requisite medical knowledge, and can she do so without being revealed?
Aside from her incomplete medical training, the thing that may sink Cath is that she’s just not arrogant enough to be a doctor. She’s just too caring and nurturing to her patients, and too quick to pitch in and help others. “You’re one of us,” a nurse tells her, a compliment that unnerves Cath.
With a season made up of only four hour-long episodes, “Trust Me” makes for a satisfying binge, parceling out the twists and turns to keep the audience glued. And Whittaker proves to be an appealing, complex protagonist, a decent person who may be getting in way over her head. For thriller fans, she’s truly what the doctor (or “doctor”) ordered.
“Trust Me” is one of several European shows that Hulu acquired and put on the air last week. Others include the Danish hostage drama “Below the Surface,” the French-Swedish mystery thriller “Midnight Sun,” and the British reality show for oenophiles, “The Wine Show.”
Also on streaming: Horror and the 1980s have been a good combination for Netflix with “Stranger Things.” The German thriller series “Dark,” which premiered last Friday, digs into some of the same territory. The show has been compared to “Twin Peaks’ in its exploration of a small town beset by gruesome mysteries — although this town’s secrets apparently include time travel.