Chinese Title: "Miu Sau Yan Sum" (roughly translates to deft hand compassionate heart)
No. of episodes: 40
Lawrence Ng Kai Wah as Ching Ji Mei (Paul)
Bowie Lam Bo Yee as Lai Kwok Chu (Henry)
Gigi Lai Zhi as Frances
Melissa Ng Mei Hang as Sarah
Bernice Liu Bik Yee as Betsy
Moses Chan Ho as Lam Man Chi (M.C.)
Raymond Cho as Heung Jong Yan (Chris)
Maggie Siu Mei Kei as Man On Sang (Anson)
Michael Tong Man Lung as Edmond
Sam Chan Yu Sum as Angus
Claire Yiu Ka Lei as Grace
Halina Tam Siu Wan as Phoebe
Belinda Hamnett as Martha
I have never liked the Healing Hands (HH) series. In fact, I hate them. I find them pretentious, biased, and lacking of an engaging, or even logical, storyline. Even the acting isn't that great. There is one redeeming factor about them, and it is that they have excellent characterization. Despite this one saving grace, the third instalment to this doctor series joins its predecessors as ultimate failures when it comes to good script writing. And the fact that it is 40 episodes of utter crap as opposed to 20 or 30 makes this even worse. I urge you not to read ahead if you're an HH fan.
Paul reclaims his crown as the champion of failed relationships ending in death when it is discovered that Tracy (his girlfriend in HH2) has committed suicide. Sinking into depression, he takes a brief holiday to receive therapy following Frances' advice. Frances herself is traumatized when her lawyer boyfriend Edmond is murdered and she is responsible for examining his corpse (she's a coroner). Lonely souls that they are, they briefly date other people before getting together. Hurrah.
Henry continues field dating but is troubled by his receding hairline. His romantic storyline has him sandwiched between the much-younger Betsy, his trainee in ER, and Sarah, a straightforward, no-nonsense doctor who specializes in bones.
The ambitious M.C. is tested when he suffers from numerous problems such as his incomplete recovery from SARS, the closing of his clinic, the death of his mother, and most significantly, his frosty relationship with his young son Joe. Though this relationship improves drastically with Sarah's help, M.C. is torn when Joe's mother Martha returns to fight for custody.
Anson and Chris get married, but are devastated when a medical check-up reveals that Anson's unborn child will have Down's Syndrome. Their relationship becomes strained due to differing opinions about whether to keep the baby. And guess who doesn't want the baby – you're right.
Add in lots of scenes in bars, bad or exaggerated English, lots of narrated preaching at the end of each episode, nice cars, luxurious homes, and people dying and getting revived in the ER and you've got HH3 in a nutshell!
Evaluation of Cast and Characters
Paul is a wonderful character; calm, rational, and above all, an excellent doctor and good man to the core. Problem is, his love life sucks. I am so tired of TVB killing off his girlfriends, just give the man a wife and get over it! As for the actor, Lawrence Ng really does look like a doctor, and he gives Paul an attractively gentle, intelligent demeanor. He's not too great at romantic scenes, though.
Way back in HH1, I thought it was TVB's joke of the year when they casted Bowie Lam as the flirtatious, field-dating Henry. The guy isn't handsome by any standard and doesn't look anything like a doctor, even with his lab coat on. His performance in the HH series is nothing great dramatically, although he is very dryly funny as Henry.
I can't stand Anson as a character and Maggie Siu is the reigning Ice Queen of the HH series. However, she does make an interesting and, at times, convincing couple with Raymond Cho. Raymond Cho himself is an actor I have never thought as compelling, but his silly, genuine Chris is the one of the few HH characters I enjoy watching.
Bernice Liu is one stunning girl but she is a terrible actress. You can't have it all, you know.
Gigi Lai's Frances was one of the more tolerable characters of this series – average performance, mostly because she didn't have to cry.
Moses Chan's M.C. is another character I enjoy watching and Moses is surprisingly adept at giving M.C. his ambitious, face-means-all personality. The child actor who played his son Joe was a joy to watch and was the only thing that kept me from falling asleep while watching this series.
Melissa Ng and Sarah are both boring. Period. Ditto Michael Tong and Edmond. Sam Chan's minor role was likeable, but he disappeared shortly after resigning as a doctor. Claire Yiu was quite ok as Grace.
The Barf Bag (Oops, did I forget the Loot Bag? No I didn't)
TVB has a major problem when it comes to producing profession series – it assumes that everyone who is a doctor/lawyer is rich, speaks English, refer to each other with English names, drive nice cars, go to bars after work every day, and sleeps with everyone and anyone in their social circle. Files of Justice is the infamous lawyer series known for this, and Healing Hands is the doctor series that preaches these oh-so-great, pretentious-as-hell TVB stereotypes.
What is laughable about this is that nearly none of the actors speak understandable English. The two most used English words in here are "CLEAR!" (pronounced more like 'keeeeryuh!' because you know TVB actors have problems with the letter L) and "adrenaline" (a word butchered by Bowie Lam in the ER scenes). All the other English words are the characters' names – which make the dialogue seem full of English, when really, the only people who can speak the language even remotely decently in this series is Melissa Ng, who grew up in San Francisco, Moses Chan, who lived in Australia, Sam Chan, who was educated in London, Bernice Liu, who grew up in Vancouver, and Belinda Hamnett, who is of mixed heritage and doesn't even have a Chinese surname. And you know what? More than half the people in that list aren't even main characters in this series. Oh the irony.
The awful English isn't even the worst part of this series. Nor is it the horrible date-all-your-friends-until-they-die-or-get-cancer relationships. The worst part is all the preaching about life by cancer-ridden people at the end of each freaking episode. This series had characters spouting metaphoric dialogue like no tomorrow and made me feel like I was going to die the next day. I need to stop writing this review because the pain from watching this series is rushing back.
Hmm, you know what. I think I'm going to give this series an even lower rating than A Handful of Love. The horror!
To Watch or Not to Watch, That is the Question
One guess as to whether I recommend this series …
Bu Bu Jing Xinstarring Cecilia Liu Shi Shi, Kevin Cheng, Nicky Wu, Yuan Hong
The New Adventure Of Chor Lau Heung (DVD, English subs)starring Miu Kiu Wai, Barbara Yung