My 8 Favorite Medical Examiners

Megan Hunt, Lanie Parish, Evan Marks, Max Bergman, Jimmy Palmer, Abby Scuito, Ducky Mallard, Jane Rizzoli, Maura Isles, Woody

I love crime procedural shows. I find the action fun to watch, the drama intriguing, and spend a lot of time trying to figure out the case of the week before the law enforcement officers do – usually unsuccessfully, but hey, that’s part of the game!

Of course, besides law enforcement folk, you also need a medical examiner – someone has to process the dead bodies, and figure out the cause of death. But medical examiners go beyond that sometimes, and find clues on the body that help the law enforcement officers figure out who the perpetrator is and bring him or her to justice.

On the shows I watch, which I will state up front is not a complete list of all crime procedurals on TV currently, the medical examiner can vary from being the star of the show to being a recurring character that we don’t always see very much of. That does not matter for my list! Even if they are only on every other show, if I like them, you will find them here.

Maura Isles – Rizzoli and Isles

Maura and Jane - Rizzoli and Isles

One of the two headliners on this show, Maura is, in my opinion, amazing! Jane finds her very annoying and gets frustrated with her often, and I will agree that she can be stubborn and rigid in her thinking, but in my opinion, those traits contribute to her being such a good medical examiner.

Among my favorite things about her are her pet, Bass, the sea tortoise, her insistence on not jumping to conclusions even in the face of pressure from Jane and her snarky retorts.

Dr. “Ducky” Mallard – NCIS

Ducky Mallard - NCIS

Let me state upfront that David McCallum was my first crush when he starred on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in the 1960s. Yes, I am old enough to have watched it when it first aired. And, in my opinion, he has not lost any of his boyish charm.

As Chief Medical Examiner for NCIS in Washington, he certainly has a lot of experience and a lot of prestige. He also has delightful quirks that add to my enjoyment when watching the show. Among my favorite traits are the fact he talks with the dead bodies while performing an autopsy, and I enjoy listening to the stories and trivia he shares freely.

Jimmy Palmer – NCIS

NCIS Season 10 Episode 2 (2)

Jimmy is the Assistant to the Chief Medical Examiner, aka, Ducky. Technically he is not a medical examiner, but he did take over earlier this season when Ducky was on medical leave following his heart attack.

Among my favorite traits of Jimmy are the way he regularly puts his foot in his mouth by saying what is on his mind without thinking – he definitely does not have a filter for what is appropriate – and his boyish enthusiasm. I also enjoy watching the relationships he has with the other members of the team.

Megan Hunt – Body of Proof

BODY OF PROOF Season 2 Cast (32)

This show is another example of having the lead character be a medical examiner. Megan is a former neurosurgeon who left the field following injuries sustained in a car accident which make her hands unsteady sometimes. She is known to be difficult to work with, but she is also extremely talented at whatever she does.

Megan is very good at solving puzzles and at making those unexpected connections that are important when you are solving a mysterious crime. She is also willing to not leave any stone unturned, even if it upsets people. As I said, her abrasive personality sometimes leads to conflict, but in the end, she gets the job done.

Woody – Psych

Woody - Psych

Woody is not technically a medical examiner, but rather a coroner. And, as I discovered in my research, there is a difference. A coroner does not have to be a doctor. All they need to do is to be able to declare someone to be dead. This is useful in places such as rural areas where there may not be the resources to hire a doctor.

Despite that fact, I am still including him in this article since he does serve the function of medical examiner of Psych. The reason I like him is because he is appropriately wacky for this show. He fits right in with Shawn and Gus, making their visits to the autopsy room even funnier.

Max Bergman – Hawaii Five-0

Ah, Max! I love this dude, and I think it is because he is a nerdy geek who embraces his nerdy geekdom full force! What’s not to love about a dude who drives a car with a “Warp 9” license plate? Or who uses a Star Trek keychain with the USS Enterprise hanging off it? Confession – I own one of those key chains too.

In addition to being a nerdy geek, he also shares some traits with Maura Isles, in that he too will not speculate, no matter how much the Five-0 team presses him. He definitely thinks outside the box, and is a good person to have on your team when there is a hard to solve case.

Lanie Parish – Castle

Castle Season 5 Episode 5 Probable Cause (2)

No nonsense is the description that comes to mind when I think about Lanie. She’s good at what she does and knows it, and is the perfect foil for Castle and his occasional silliness.

Lanie easily focuses on what is needed to help crack the case. And, she is a good friend to Beckett, allowing Kate to have someone to confide in. She is also not afraid to speak her mind, which is an asset at the precinct.

Evan Marks – Beauty and the Beast

Evan Marks - Beauty and the Beast

We know very little about Evan, and I’ll be straight up with all of you, my shallow fan girl side hijacked this article and made me include him on this list. He’s adorable, he’s got a British accent, and did I mention he’s adorable?

What, you are looking for more reasons here in the second paragraph? There are none, because my shallow fan girl is, well, shallow. and the show has not been on the air very long. Give me more episodes and I will probably be able to come up with some non-shallow reasons.


As I said at the beginning, it is likely I left off several really good medical examiners. So, let me know who was left off the list in the comment section below – I love hearing about the other great medical examiners!