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Hotshot plastic surgeon Christian Troy enjoys all the perks of the successful and growing Miami practice that he shares with his best friend, Sean McNamara. But while the money and women continue satisfying Christian's needs, years of selling a phony image have taken their toll on Sean and distanced him from his wife and children. This edgy medical drama from Ryan Murphy (Popular) explores the dark side of plastic surgery and the painful - and sometimes violent - lengths people will go in their quest for external beauty. Premiere episode runs 90 minutes.
Set in the sexy world of Miami's South Beach, "Nip/Tuck" cuts beneath the surface of the superficial world of plastic surgery, revealing the complexities and fragile nature of patients trying to mask their psychological flaws through cosmetic enhancement. Hotshot plastic surgeon Dr. Christian Troy (series star JULIAN McMAHON) enjoys all the perks of the successful and growing practice that he has shared with his best friend, Dr. Sean McNamara (series star DYLAN WALSH), since they graduated from medical school.
But while the money and women continue satisfying Christian's needs, years of selling a phony image have taken their toll on Sean and distanced him from his wife, Julia (series star JOELY RICHARDSON), and children, Matt (series star JOHN HENSLEY) and Annie (recurring guest star KELSEY LYNN BATELAAN). Exasperated with Christian's questionable professional behavior, Sean strongly considers dissolving the partnership, but Christian forces him to remain. Sean demands that they begin performing pro bono surgical work. The tense situation quickly becomes deadly when a Colombian drug lord arrives in search of a former employee who has had extensive facial reconstruction.
Not appearing in this episode is series star VALERIE CRUZ, who plays in-house psychologist Grace Santiago.
At Sean's insistence, Christian agrees to hire a staff psychologist. However, the male candidate they choose is no more ethical than Christian. As Sean and Julia continue having trouble in their marriage, teenager Matt asks Christian for help getting a circumcision to please Matt's girlfriend. Sean and Christian meet gorgeous identical twins who want to change their features in order to establish unique identities. Meanwhile, Sean becomes attracted to the twins' psychologist, Dr. Grace Santiago (new series star VALERIE CRUZ). Christian offers to watch over Julia while she and Sean are separated--but, unbeknownst to Sean, Christian has his own agenda with Julia.
Christian becomes furious when Sean agrees with Grace, who is now the practice's in-house psychologist, regarding a woman's desire for extensive surgery in order to look beautiful for her high school reunion. However, Christian later realizes that Grace may have been right about the patient's mental stability. Meanwhile, after finding Matt dazed and bleeding from attempting a self-circumcision, Sean agrees to perform the procedure properly and prevent permanent damage. But Sean is unable to operate on his son, so Christian does the surgery in exchange for Sean taking Christian's most demanding patient. Sean's nervousness results in an oversight that forces Christian to make an unsavory deal to save the practice. And Julia is ordered to attend anger management classes when she is reported to animal services for flushing Annie's pet gerbil down the toilet.
Christian tries to persuade Sean to go into business with a very successful pornography production company whose performers need cosmetic surgery. However, the new arrangement causes problems when the practice's more upscale clients become uncomfortable with the office atmosphere. Christian brings Matt to a consultation at a porn production, but Matt's subsequent encounter with a young starlet strains Christian's friendship with Julia. Meanwhile, Sean examines a young transsexual, Sofia Lopez (recurring guest star JONATHAN DEL ARCO), who wants to correct a botched sex-change procedure. Sean's revulsion turns to compassion after listening to the patient's life story. He is horrified to learn that the incompetent doctor who performed the procedure was his medical school mentor. Also, Julia takes classes to pursue her dream of graduating from medical school, but she feels insecure and worthless when she meets her instructor, a longtime college friend who has balanced career and family successfully. Julia feels better when she befriends a handsome, flirtatious classmate, however.
Sean and Christian interview a potential patient, a Caucasian man who wants his eyes to look Asian so he can be accepted by his fiancée's family. Meanwhile, Sean suspects domestic abuse when he notices old scar tissue on a patient while performing a nose job. And Julia must choose between medical school and motherhood again when she discovers that she is pregnant.
When Christian's prized possessions are vandalized, he tries to contact the women he has wronged in the past to find the culprit. In the process, he continues to ponder his behavior towards women in general. Meanwhile, Sean is invigorated after an encounter with a patient, Megan O'Hara (recurring guest star JULIE WARNER), a chiropractor going through a divorce. And Matt's ex-girlfriend, Vanessa Bartholomew (recurring guest star KATE MARA), asks for his help to revitalize her relationship with her new girlfriend, Ridley Lange (recurring guest star SOPHIA BUSH - "One Tree Hill").
When Julia surprises Matt having sex with both Vanessa Bartholomew (recurring guest star KATE MARA) and Ridley Lange (recurring guest star SOPHIA BUSH), she humiliates him by demanding an intervention with Ridley's nonplussed mother and Vanessa's outraged parents, who didn't even know that Vanessa is a lesbian. Julia also clashes with Sean regarding how to parent Matt, but Matt appreciates his father's support. Following Sean's advice, Matt forms a stronger friendship with Vanessa, even though she cannot love him.
Meanwhile, Julia flirts with her classmate, Jude Sawyer (recurring guest star PHILLIP RHYS), but balks when he invites her to a swingers' party. As Christian attempts to maintain an honest relationship with his accommodating girlfriend, he must confront his feelings for Julia after he mistakenly thinks he sees her at the swingers' party with Jude. Although clueless Sean had hired Jude as an intern as a favor to Julia, Christian terminates Jude. Sean visits Megan O'Hara (recurring guest star JULIE WARNER) for a chiropractic session, wanting more. And Christian and Sean operate on a man who needs his oversized breasts reduced in order to gain admission to more swingers' parties--but they also discover that he ironically has hepatitis C.
While driving his friend Henry (recurring guest star ANDREW LEEDS) home, Matt looks away from the road and strikes a shy girl, Cara Fitzgerald, throwing her out of sight into a ditch. Disoriented and worried because there is marijuana in the car, the boys don't realize that they've hit a pedestrian and leave the deserted area. But later, Matt learns that Cara is hospitalized in a coma. Guilt-stricken, he visits her and meets her mother, a strict Christian Scientist who refuses to allow doctors to do any reconstructive surgery on Cara's face, which is destroyed. Without admitting to anyone that he is responsible, Matt persuades Sean to convince Cara's mother to allow him to fix Cara's features--and prevent blindness--for no charge, in order to save her from a lifetime of social rejection. Henry, an Orthodox Jew, tearfully almost confesses to Julia, but Matt stops him.
When Sean readily agrees to provide chiropractor Megan O'Hara (recurring guest star JULIE WARNER) with breast implants, Grace correctly surmises that they are having an affair and infuriates Sean by informing Christian.
Meanwhile, Grace is bewildered by Christian's curt rejection of a female patient who wishes to change her face so it doesn't remind her of her sexually abusive father. Christian also operates on Mike Shane (JAMIE McSHANE), who urgently wants a birthmark removed from his testicles before his honeymoon. Later, Christian is horrified when he recognizes Mike on the news--he lied about the honeymoon. Mike is actually a priest who is acquitted of molesting 10 boys after an examination fails to reveal the identifying birthmark. Although Sean wants to anonymously call the diocese, Christian violently confronts Mike in a confessional booth and forces him to call the police and confess. Extremely distraught, Christian confides in his friend Sean and finally admits that his foster father routinely bought sexual favors from him when he was a child.
Christian accompanies his sexy girlfriend, Kimber Henry (recurring guest star KELLY CARLSON), to a spa where they encounter rival plastic surgeon Merrill Bobolit (recurring guest star JOEY SLOTNICK). Eager to break up with the clingy Kimber, Christian agrees to a hideous deal, ""trading"" her for Bobolit's Lamborghini sports car. The men concoct a manipulative scheme to bring Kimber and Bobolit together, but she later finds out the truth and gets revenge on Christian during rough sex play.
Meanwhile, as the doctors' nurse, Liz Winters (recurring guest star ROMA MAFFIA), consults with male-to-female sex-change patient Sofia Lopez (recurring guest star JONATHAN DEL ARCO), they become attracted. Upon learning that Liz recently broke up with her girlfriend, Sofia offers to give Liz a makeover, during which they kiss. Confused, Sofia cancels the surgery, but Liz eventually persuades her to undergo it.
Julia allows her attractive classmate Jude Sawyer (recurring guest star PHILLIP RHYS) to be her personal fitness trainer, but when she finds out that he only teaches at the gym in order to meet lonely, older women who pay him for sex, she angrily confronts him. Jude convinces her that he no longer works as a gigolo, but Julia later finds him at school having sex with one of his female professors.
Sean and Megan O'Hara (recurring guest star JULIE WARNER) finally consummate their relationship in a hotel. When Matt hesitantly tries to tell Sean about the car accident in which he recently paralyzed a girl, Sean misinterprets him and thinks Matt is aware of his affair with Megan. Sean admits the truth to the shocked Matt, who forgets all about his own confession. Although he intended to end the relationship, Sean reconsiders when he finds out that Megan's cancer has returned, and she needs him more than ever before.
An error during surgery causes Christian to lose his confidence immediately before he and Sean must take a surgical test for recertification by the medical board. Christian's situation worsens when he finds out that he has received a difficult assignment for the examination: to perform cosmetic surgery on the cadaver head of a midget. He persuades a morgue worker to let him practice on a small corpse.
Meanwhile, exhausted and stressed by the imminent death of his cancer-stricken lover, Megan O'Hara (recurring guest star JULIE WARNER), Sean operates on a dead woman's head for the test and hallucinates that it is speaking to him. The head voices the thoughts of Sean's conscience, eventually infuriating him so much that he runs out of the examination room.
Christian's chronic client Mrs. Hedda Grubman (recurring guest star RUTH WILLIAMSON), a shallow older woman who is addicted to cosmetic surgery, brings her rich, elderly fiancé in for penile surgery while she receives genital rejuvenation of her own. Mrs. Grubman is later shocked when her fiancé leaves her for his faithful longtime assistant, who is proud of her wrinkled yet beautifully natural looks.
Sean is devastated when Megan asks him to help her commit suicide so she can die with dignity. Sadly, he does so. Sensing Sean's grief, Julia accompanies him to Megan's funeral--and realizes the truth about Sean and Megan's affair. Sean confesses to Julia, who numbly contemplates the end of her marriage.
After operating on a woman, Montana Caine (CHERYL WHITE), for varicose veins, Sean and Grace are astounded to discover that Montana has multiple personality disorder. Montana's alter ego Sassy is an impetuous child who now wants her breasts reduced. Although Montana's therapist warns that if Sassy, a sort of gatekeeper personality, is not appeased, other personalities may be unleashed, Sean refuses to perform the breast reduction. However, after Montana transforms into Justice, a frighteningly tough male who demands the surgery, Sean complies before any other personalities show up.
Meanwhile, two gay men beg Christian to petition a social worker to allow medical coverage for their adopted son with a cleft palate, since they cannot receive benefits like legally married parents would. Upset at being forced out of Julia and Sean's family because of their marital difficulties, Christian pities this modern family unit and does the surgery for free and at his own risk.
Cara Fitzgerald (recurring guest star KERI LYNN PRATT), the girl whom Matt and his friend Henry (recurring guest star ANDREW LEEDS) hit with a car, returns to school, having recovered from the accident with minor memory problems and a pretty, reconstructed face created by Sean. Wrenched by both guilt and attraction to Cara, Henry renounces his Jewish faith in order to attend Christian prayer group meetings with her. But when Cara asks Matt to take her to the prom, Henry loses control, and Matt fears that Henry will confess their secret.
Still feeling unfulfilled, Christian reacts unexpectedly to a sex-addicted woman's claim that he is the father of her unborn baby: He offers to help raise the child. And Sean tries to keep his marriage to Julia intact, despite her inability to forgive him for cheating on her. Realizing that the only way they will succeed is if both of them maintain complete honesty, Julia steals Christian's hairbrush and Matt's razor and takes them to a genetics laboratory that determines paternity.
Christian and Sean operate on a South American woman with grotesquely huge breasts and discover that she is being used to carry liquid heroin into the U.S. in her implants. Ruthless Colombian drug lord Escobar Gallardo (recurring guest star ROBERT LaSARDO), whom the doctors previously encountered when they created a new face for one of his former henchmen, blackmails them into removing the implants and handing them over. Escobar knows about the dead body that Christian and Sean deposited in the Everglades--and he knows where Sean's family lives. The frightened surgeons must agree to continue performing the operations on poor, misguided young women who want to immigrate to America but end up putting their lives in danger.
Meanwhile, Julia's judgmental classmates at a fitness center object to Sean's transsexual patient, Sofia Lopez (recurring guest star JONATHAN DEL ARCO), joining. Julia refuses to sign a petition and, after having a poignant talk in which Sofia persuades her to try staying with Sean despite his affair, staunchly defends Sofia. The wealthy housewives quit the class, forcing it to be canceled, but Julia gains a surprising new friend and confidant in Sofia.
And Christian struggles with unfamiliar paternal instincts when his well-meaning and lonely ex-girlfriend, Gina Russo (recurring guest star JESSALYN GILSIG), who is 6-months pregnant with his baby, continues her reckless lifestyle. Christian sympathetically asks her to move in with him so he can take care of her and his child.
In the season finale, drug lord Escobar Gallardo's (recurring guest star ROBERT LaSARDO) demands that Sean and Christian perform free breast implant removal operations on women Escobar uses to smuggle liquid heroin into the United States nearly force McNamara/Troy into financial ruin. But the loss of potential patients to the surgeons' rival, Merrill Bobolit (recurring guest star JOEY SLOTNICK), is especially stinging to Christian. When he confronts Bobolit about falsely advertising Kimber's (recurring guest star KELLY CARLSON) surgery as Bobolit's work, Christian learns that his former girlfriend is now engaged to the prosperous Bobolit, and the couple is determined to ruin McNamara/Troy. Meanwhile, Sean's troubles at home worsen, and he and Julia move closer to divorce. Christian goes to Julia, explains the situation that he and Sean are in and confesses blame, begging Julia to stand by Sean.
As their financial woes deepen, the surgeons consider an unusual patient--a dog. Approached by a well-to-do gentleman wanting hair implants for his balding prized show dog, Sean and Christian resist the desperate temptation and refuse the $150,000 offer. However, the opportunity is not lost on Bobolit, who accepts the money only to face a lawsuit after the pooch dies on the operating table.
Sean and Christian insist the unethical operations end when, after the surgeons remove yet another heroin-laden breast implant, Escobar demands they take out the kidney of the unsuspecting woman so that he may sell the organ on the black market. When Sean and Christian refuse, Escobar shoots Liz in the leg, forcing the doctors to perform the surgery. Despondent, Sean later confronts Escobar with a gun. Instead of killing the drug lord, Sean agrees to one final operation--to give Escobar a new face.
Meanwhile, Matt finally confesses to Cara (recurring guest star KERI LYNN PRATT) about the accident. He's surprised when Cara says she already knows and thanks him for changing her life. She now realizes that good looks mean everything. Christian is relieved when Julia asks Sean to return home and excited when Gina (recurring guest star JESSALYN GILSIG) goes into labor. But Christian's elation is doused when Gina delivers a Black child. Rather than abandon a helpless baby, Christian decides to embrace fatherhood.
With Bobolit tangled in bad publicity and a multimillion-dollar lawsuit and Escobar no longer extorting their services, Sean and Christian experience an upswing in business. And Escobar, who was the FBI's #6 Most Wanted criminal, now finds himself in government custody--with the face of the FBI's #2 Most Wanted outlaw.