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'Everwood' takes on a taboo

May 05, 2003|Josh Friedman | Times Staff Writer

Without mentioning the A-word, tonight's episode of "Everwood" (9, the WB) squarely addresses a topic rarely confronted on prime time: abortion.

Fortunately, the family drama does so with grace, sensitivity and reason, rather than the shrill rhetoric too common in the real world.

The episode, written by executive producer Greg Berlanti and Vanessa Taylor and directed by David Petrarca, finds Dr. Andrew Brown (Treat Williams) in a moral and professional dilemma when a pregnant 18-year-old (Kate Mara) and her father (Kevin Tighe) go to him for help, desperate for a quick and secretive solution.

Brown has done "the procedure" once before, but he doesn't know whether he can ever do it again. The death of his wife has given him a new appreciation for life, and another operation has reminded him that a fetus has visible organs at 54 days: It may not be a person, but it's "a perfect possibility of a person."

"I don't have any religious beliefs to fall back on or any kind of moral stance," Brown says. "I just have this feeling in my gut that this is beyond me."

Ultimately, he turns to his rival doctor in the Colorado hamlet, the more conservative Harold Abbott (Tom Amandes), for advice, with surprising results.

Meanwhile, life's more mundane romantic complications continue for the town's other teenagers.

Brown's son, Ephram (Gregory Smith), is humiliated when his date at the school's spring formal dance ditches him to make out with another guy. Then Abbott's daughter, Amy (Emily VanCamp), and Colin (Mike Erwin) quarrel when she chooses to console Ephram against Colin's wishes.

Even with plenty of the usual stuff, this is an unusually powerful episode.

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