ABC Wiki
Wiki.png This page does not adhere to the layout guide.

Please help the ABC Wiki by editing this page to be conform the set layout guidelines.


HeartBeat is an ABC network medical drama series created by Sara Davidson, which aired from March 23, 1988 to April 6, 1989, lasting for two seasons and 18 episodes.

HeartBeat is produced by Aaron Spelling Productions.


The series followed the staff of Women's Medical Arts, a medical center founded by three women who are frustrated with how women's health concerns are addressed in the male-dominated medical field.


Main Cast

  • Kate Mulgrew as Dr. Joanne Springsteen/Halloran
  • Laura Johnson as Dr. Eve Autrey/Calvert
  • Gail Strickland as Nurse Marilyn McGrath
  • Lynn Whitfield as Dr. Cory Banks
  • Ben Masters as Dr. Leo Rosetti
  • Darrell Larson as Dr. Paul Jared

Recurring Cast

  • Gina Hecht as Patty


The fictional Women's Medical Arts clinic was based on the Santa Monica Women's Clinic in Santa Monica, California.

The clinic's founder, Dr. Karen Blanchard (OBGYN) served as a model for the character played by Kate Mulgrew.

"HeartBeat" is the first prime time television series in the United States to feature a lesbian as a main character, Marilyn McGrath; and with her partner Patty, in a long-term lesbian relationship.

Broadcast History

"HeartBeat" debuted on Wednesday, March 23, 1988, at 9 p.m. (Eastern) as a special two-hour pilot and moving to its regular broadcast time of 10 p.m. the following week.

For the second season, the schedule was changed to Thursday at 10:00 p.m; this programming made it compete with NBC's "L.A. Law".

However, "HeartBeat" did not perform well in the ratings and was canceled at the end of its second season.


"HeartBeat" is praised by LGBT television historians for its inclusion of Marilyn and Patty as a couple, and for their sexual orientation being treated as a non-issue.

However, ABC received criticism because unlike the heterosexual characters, Marilyn and Patty were not allowed to be sexual or physically affectionate with each other.

The feminist content and context of the show have been studied by feminist cultural critics.


"HeartBeat" was nominated for the 1989 People's Choice Award for "Favorite New TV Drama."

It also received the 1990 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Drama Series (tied with "L.A. Law").