Hour Drama for Television
Arianna Eisenberg & Marlon Ollivierre
DetroYt is set during the boom-time that was mid-1980’s Detroit. This hour-long drama deals with the struggles of everyday people who perform extraordinary acts of courage every day in hopes of bettering themselves and those around them.
Dr. Artemus Godfrey heads up the Neurosurgery Department within St. Helen’s, the city of Detroit’s top trauma Medical Center. He was the only African American in his distinguished class to graduate with top tier honors – and make it look easy. With internships at the prestigious John’s Hopkins and Cleveland Clinic he had his pick of hospitals and medical centers worldwide – and they were all eager to get him.
He chose, instead, to go home to Detroit in order to set up and headone of the top Neurosurgery departments in the country – competing with the likes of the Top 10 from UCLA to the Mayo Clinic.
His heart brought him home.
Dr. Art, as he’s affectionately called by his staff and patients alike, is strong, confident and heralded worldwide as one of only a handful of neurosurgeons who will tackle those cases deemed inoperable by others. He is that good.
Currently married to his wife of 19 years, equally confident and strong-willed Angela Pritchard-Godfrey, a high-powered star in the Prosecutor’s office. Together they are parents to 17-year old son Booker and 15-year old daughter Taura – both clearly children of privilege, having grown up under very different circumstances from that of their parents. This difference brings about much conflict as Artemus is a man fully cognizant and aware of his humble beginnings – and lives in a place of gratitude for having had to struggle. He is the man he is today because of it. But he deeply loves his children and would do anything for them – including be the one they love to hate at times.
His relationship with Angela is infinitely more complex and throughout the affairs, heated arguments, separations and reconciliations that emotional and physical flame continues to burn white hot. There continues to be; however, temptations that constantly work to undermine this love. Sometimes to hold on one has to let go.
Added to this volatile mix of emotions is Angela’s mother, Superior Court Judge Marvena Pritchard. A worldly wise and highly opinionated woman, one of the first black female Judges to have risen through the ranks, she is a no-nonsense Prosecutor and nothing has changed in the interim. She is at odds with her own daughter on how the law applies to those who are less fortunate in terms of class.
Angela finds solace in her father, Marvena’s ex-husband and former star major league baseball pitcher, Edward “Fast Eddie” Pritchard. Now a powerful member of the Detroit City Council and community activist, his passion for justice for all was passed down to his daughter. While there is still that hint of heat between Marvena and Eddie, the animosity and disparate life views still seeks to tear them apart.
Throughout the theme of this drama Dr. Art’s past and upbringing inspires and drives the show with moments of great tenderness and grief in the guise of flashbacks that haunt and uplift him simultaneously.
Born to a single mother (Miss Geraldine Worthington) who worked the obligatory two jobs to support Artemus and his younger sister Chloe, the young boy was left alone a great deal of the time. Being from the rough side of town was obviously a struggle, particularly as the neighborhood was a known haven for drugs, prostitution and other illicit activities. Poverty brings out vices that are neatly hidden in suburbia.
The aspiring young man always knew he would rise above his circumstances just as his mother exhorted and expected. She tolerated no less than perfection from her children. “If I didn’t think you could get an A instead of a C then a C would be wonderful. It’s not wonderful because you have A in you!” she would tell them. The role Miss Geraldine played in her children’s lives was inestimable to their success. Artemus never forgot and she will come back to him in flashbacks to urge him on and offer her words of comfort and advice. He believed that his dreams died the day he buried his mother but just the opposite occurred.
Geraldine’s surviving father, Art’s granddad, the Reverend Abraham Worthington – Pastor Emeritus at Detroit’s First Congregate Baptist Church – never allowed Artemus to feel sorry for himself. Telling his grandson…”She never truly left, for her memory is a wonderful gift that is left to us all. Make your mama proud going forward and never forget she’s always there when you need her.”
Irrespective of how good a doctor is, there is always tragedy in the midst of elation; there is always struggle to save a life that might be ready to go on its way. Troubles within the hospital, troubles at home and with a cast of characters that rival anything Shakespeare could write, St. Helen’s remains an island of sanctuary for Dr. Art as he plies his trade and keeps his heart open to the prospect that tomorrow is another day.
His past informs his present and defines his future. He is proudly his mother’s son. He is a good man. He is a courageous man. Memories will flood back at times when he needs them the most.
While DetroYt is rife with betrayal, seduction and death it will also inspire and uplift. The volatility of this drama mixed with the music of the day, from Marvin Gaye to NWA, in the end and while you will cry at times but you will also most definitely cheer for the sheer spirit of humanity – at its best and through its worst. It mirrors the drama of the city itself, from high times to sad decline.
Through it all the city and her people remain strong, determined and fearless in the face of adversity.