Gabriel Monroe,blunt neurosurgeon at St. Matthew's hospital,is not noted for courtesy to colleagues,of whom only heart surgeon Jenny Bremner stands up to him. Bank clerk Alison Bannister has a brain tumour,currently mild but lethal if left for too long. However there is an outside chance of side effects if operated on and Monroe mixes honesty and flippancy in persuading Alison and husband Lee of the need for surgery. When Alison slips briefly into a post-op coma a distraught Lee turns on Monroe but shows contrition when she successfully recovers and Monroe tells him that his own daughter died on the operating table. After taking their son Nick to university Monroe's wife Anna announces that she is leaving him,citing an affair he has six years earlier.Monroe also tells his pushy junior Daniel Springer that he reckons he is not cut out for neurosurgery.