Three Rivers (TV series)

Last updated
Three Rivers
Three Rivers intertitle.png
Genre Medical drama
Developed by Carol Barbee
Written byCarol Barbee
Composer(s) Richard Marvin
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
Executive producer(s)
  • Carol Barbee
  • David Amann
  • Ted Gold
Production company(s)
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Original network CBS
Original releaseOctober 4, 2009 (2009-10-04) 
July 3, 2010 (2010-07-03)

Three Rivers is an American medical drama television series that aired on CBS from October 4, 2009, to July 3, 2010, and starred Alex O'Loughlin in the role of a famous transplant surgeon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. [1] [2] [3] On November 30, 2009, after just eight episodes of the season had aired Sunday at 9:00 pm (EST), CBS announced that Three Rivers had been pulled from its schedule with no plans to have it returned, [4] and the series was later officially cancelled. [5] However, the remaining unaired episodes were burned off Saturdays at 8:00 pm (EST). [6]



With the long running NBC drama ER coming to an end, CBS executives put out a call for a new medical show to fill the void. Carol Barbee was introduced via Curtis Hanson to a pitch by Steve Boman, a former transplant coordinator and Chicago newspaper reporter, for a drama about a transplant hospital. [7] Barbee decided to undertake the project telling it from three points of view of the donor, recipient, and doctor. The location for the show's setting in Pittsburgh was decided based on a determination that the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) was the world's leading transplant center with the coincidence that the dominant topographical feature of the city, the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers, would provide an allegory to the show's three points of view. [8] Barbee did her research for the show at The Cleveland Clinic with Dr. Gonzalo Gonzalez-Stawinski, who also tutored the show's lead star Alex O'Loughlin. Dr. Robert Kormos, co-director of heart transplantation at UPMC, also provided input. Transplant pioneer Thomas Starzl, who visited the set, is the inspiration for the fictional transplant pioneer who is revealed to be the father of character Dr. Miranda Foster. [8]

The pilot for the Pittsburgh-set medical drama was filmed in western Pennsylvania in March and April 2009, using the closed Brownsville Tri-County Hospital and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center for hospital interior scenes. [9] Post-pilot recasting resulted in actors Julia Ormond and Joaquim de Almeida departing and Alfre Woodard and Amber Clayton joining the series. [10] [11] Ultimately, the pilot was dropped, and a new episode was shot for the television premiere. A high-tech, more visually appealing hospital set for the ER and ICU was built on soundstages 19 and 20 at Paramount Pictures where interior scenes have thereafter been produced, although location shooting still occurred in Pittsburgh for exterior shots. [8]

Cast and characters


#TitleDirected byWritten byU.S. viewers
U.S. air dateProduction
Code [12]
1"Place of Life" Christine Moore Greg Walker9.17 [13] October 4, 2009 (2009-10-04)102-03
Andy tells a young pregnant woman who has peri-partum cardiomyopathy that to save her and her unborn child she must get a heart transplant. However, unexpected complications with the donor's family place the transplant in jeopardy.
2"Ryan's First Day" Rob Bailey Carol Barbee TBAOctober 11, 2009 (2009-10-11)101-02
Andy and the team try to save an 18-year-old college student in need of a double lung transplant but run into a road block that might not allow her to be eligible for a new set of lungs.
3"Good Intentions"Rob Bailey Sunil Nayar 7.84 [14] October 18, 2009 (2009-10-18)104-05
After Andy convinces UNOS to give a former drug addict a new heart, things take a turn when the patient disappears right before the surgery.
4"Code Green"Christine MooreDavid Amann7.90 [15] October 25, 2009 (2009-10-25)105-06

Following a bus crash, the parents of a young college football player must make a heartbreaking decision regarding donation of his organs. Meanwhile, Andy and Ryan rush to find a procurement team to give a man a heart transplant he desperately needs.

Special Guest Star: Devon Werkheiser
5"Alone Together" Duane Clark Frank Military7.70 [16] November 1, 2009 (2009-11-01)103-04
Andy tries a risky new procedure on his wife's partner who suffers from an aortic aneurysm.
6"Where We Lie" Matt Earl Beesley Ildy Modrovich 7.97 [17] November 8, 2009 (2009-11-08)106-07
Lisa bonds with an 8-year old boy who she saw being crushed by a ride at a fair. Andy and David try to get a patient some much needed medical attention.
7"The Luckiest Man"Rob Bailey Lance Gentile 8.45 [18] November 15, 2009 (2009-11-15)107-08

A car crash victim insists he wants to be taken off the life support machine so that he can help others with his organs while Andy and Sophia do all they can to save him.

Special Guest Star: Mandy Patinkin
8"The Kindness of Strangers" Peter Markle Jim Adler7.65 [19] November 22, 2009 (2009-11-22)108-09
The wife of a billionaire suffers the consequences after a setback leaves her without a new liver and her husband resorts to buying one on the black market. Meanwhile, a friend from Andy's past resurfaces.
9"Win-loss"TBATBA3.07 [20] June 5, 2010 (2010-06-05)100-01
When a bride is gunned down at her wedding, the team is sent to harvest her lungs to transplant but run into family problems. Meanwhile, a college basketball player about to turn pro is in need of a new heart.
10"A Roll of the Dice"TBATBA3.13 [21] June 12, 2010 (2010-06-12)109-10

When a woman's husband needs a new kidney, she contemplates beginning a "Daisy Chain" which means she will donate a kidney to someone and they in turn will donate their kidney until the chain is completed with her husband getting his kidney. Andy is not sure he wants to support such an action and he is concerned that another patient is rejecting his recently transplanted heart.

Special Guest Stars: Felicia Day, Arjay Smith
11"Every Breath You Take"TBATBA3.04 [22] June 19, 2010 (2010-06-19)110-11
Dr. Jordon and the others deal with the captain of a firehouse who needs a lung transplant. One of his firefighters must make the tough decision of whether or not she wants to be a living donor. Meanwhile, Andy faces a personal and professional dilemma when his uncle comes to Three Rivers for treatment from a stab wound, but requests that Andy keep it to himself.
12"Case Histories"TBATBA3.29 [23] June 26, 2010 (2010-06-26)111-12
An plane accident leaves a Korean woman blind, requiring a cornea transplant. A woman discovers that she is not pregnant and, instead, suffers from Ascitis. Miranda does everything to save her. Andy is bothered with Luke for trying to experiment with one of his patients.
13"Status 1A"TBATBA2.55 [24] July 3, 2010 (2010-07-03)112-13
Andy puts his patient Kuol at the top of the donor list to receive a new heart after his condition takes a turn for the worse. His transplant is put in jeopardy when police threaten to seize the money raised for Kuol's surgery.

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