Jack Gallagher (Chris Vance) is the new unorthodox psychiatrist named Director of Mental Health Services at a Los Angeles hospital. He battles his conservative administrator named Nora Skoff (Annabella Sciorra), a woman with whom he happens to share a romantic past.
Mental: Everything changes at Wharton Memorial Psychiatric Hospital when radically unorthodox psychiatrist Dr. Jack Gallagher (Chris Vance, C) arrives as the Director of Mental Health Services. As Gallagher takes on new cases, he is confronted with patients battling unknown, misunderstood and often misdiagnosed conditions in Menta.
In a post filled with spoilers of Mental premiere
Complete Recap and Spoilers of Mental – Pilot – Series Premiere
We open in the psychiatric wing of the Wharton Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles. Senior attending physician Dr. Carl Belle reminds two residents that despite the arrival of the new Director of Mental Health Services he is still in charge of their training. Carl discusses the new boss (who will be arriving that day) with another psychiatrist, Nora Skoff. They both seem to feel they were passed over for the job.
Police tell them a man in custody, Vincent Martin, was found naked and screaming. We can see that Vincent, a schizophrenic, believes many of the people in the hospital are aliens. He tears off his jacket and holds out a metal chair, patting his naked body to show them he is human. Carl tries to give Vincent an injection but is knocked aside. When the cops draw their weapons another man takes off all of his clothes and stands next to Vincent. This man convinces Vincent they are outnumbered and helps get him into custody. The man then gives security orders for Vincents care. What? This nude gentleman is actually Dr. Jack Gallagher, Wharton’s new director.
Jack and hospital administrator Nora Skoff discuss the unique beginning of his tenure at Wharton. She shows him that someone has already posted his nude antics on the hospital intranet. He makes a comment about how good she looks which seems to indicate they know each other personally.
The two residents, Dr. Arturo Suarez and Dr. Cloe Artis, talk about Jack. It is clear Arturo has a thing for Chloe.
In the elevator Veronica and Jack make awkward small-talk.
Jack meets with Vincent who tells him he “forgot” to stop taking his medication. While Vincent notices an alien ship just outside the window Jack points out he has been on meds for 12 years. Vincent wants to be put back on them so he can get back home.
Veronica meets with Grayson Emerson, a man who has acute anxiety disorder manifesting itself in his placing his dead cats in the freezer. He can’t bring himself to bury them.
Jack runs into Vincent’s sister, Elodie. She wants to Vincent committed immediately. Jack thinks it’s a mistake but she tells him she has power of attorney. Legally he has 72 hours to observe Vincent.
Veronica asks Jack about the department’s budget. The funding for her resident day clinic is about to expire.
Nora officially introduces Jack to the department. Jack has decided to start including the patients in the treatment meetings. This bothers the other doctors. Jack performs a card trick and tells them that since unlocking the human brain is so difficult they should “experiment, break the mold.”
Jack drops by Nora’s clinic. He is bothered by how structured her methods seem. When Veronica leaves to take a phone call, Jack takes two of her patients outside to watch a live band. Veronica is furious. He thinks she should “break from routine” and she points out her methods helped them make progress.
Vincent has scratched a drawing in the side of room. When Jack asks if he is an artist, Vincent says “not anymore.”
Jack goes to Elodie’s home. Her young children who are interested in Vincent’s progress. Elodie tells Jack that Vincent woke up in the middle of the night and ended up pushing her over. He had been aggressive with her and a third sibling prior to going on the meds and Elodie doesn’t want her children to see him that way. She won’t let Jack see Vincent’s room. Elodie’s daughter hands Jack a Get Well Soon card to give to Vincent. Jack gets a call that Vincent has been found by the police.
Vincent is at a warehouse, feverishly moving boxes around. He tells Jack he has been working there for the past ten years. Jack wants him to come back to the hospital and get better. Vincent tells Jack he “was stupid to think things would be different.” Vincent leaves with Jack as soon as he sees the card from Elodie’s daughter.
Jack asks Arturo and Cloe to meet with Vincent and Elodie’s brother, Leo. Leo tells them he has barely spoken with his brother and sister since their parents died a year ago. Their parents left their house to Elodie. Leo’s guess is that when they moved back into their old house Vincent found his old drawings and remembered his old life.
Jack sneaks into Elodie and Vincent’s house. In Vincent’s room he spots tons of drawings, mostly of reptilian figures. Jack is arrested when he tries to leave the property.
Nora bails Jack out of jail. She tells him Elodie will drop the charges if Jack allows her to commit Vincent.
During a medical review panel of Vincent’s case, Jack tells the staff he thinks Vincent has changed since his initial diagnosis. Jack wants to attempt using holistic methods to stabilize Vincent while they figure out just how sick he really is. He thinks Vincent’s individuality has been crippled as an artist over the past decade and they have a unique opportunity to give him a fuller life. The panel agrees to allow him to have his final 20 hours with Vincent.
Emerson returns, having placed his dead wife in the freezer.
Jack brings Vincent art supplies. After a few moments Vincent begins to draw.
Veronica gives Nora her letter of resignation. She’s been at Wharton her entire career and is upset she has to adjust her methods. Nora explains she hired Jack because of the level of commitment he displayed with Vincent in the opening scene. Nora admits that she never would have hired Jack two years earlier, “before I had cancer.”
Jack shows Elodie that Vincent has been drawing again. He suggests to Elodie that they place her brother in Nora’s day clinic. Jack says this is a “chance” for Vincent to have his gift back.
In the cafeteria Carl tells Jack he specializes in addiction and pharmacology, and has been able to bring large companies to the hospital to conduct research trials. He asks that he be allowed to maintain the autonomy provided by the last director.
Veronica comes to Jack’s office to thank him for supporting her clinic. They discuss her eight-year marriage and his near-marriage to an oncologist. Jack fell in love with psychiatry as a child after visiting an amputee who had itchiness in his missing foot. On her way out Veronica says “I’m not going anywhere.”
Vincent tells Jack he’s feeling better but is worried about losing control again. Jack assures him they will take it slow. Elodie and her children arrive and Vincent gives them both a hug. Vincent and Elodie exchange a smile.
At home Jack gets a call from his ex, Becky. He tells her he’s at a hospital in L.A. and begins to choke up. When he asks if she needs money she hangs up on him.