The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Beautiful Mind – Season 1, Episode 1

In the first episode of Beautiful Mind, the audience was introduced to Jin-Sung, a cop obsessed with justice; Myung-Soo, an incredibly suspicious presidential candidate; Suk-Joo, an idealistic surgeon; and Young-O, a brilliant but cold and cruel surgeon. What do all of these individuals have in common? Murder and a cover-up.

Jin-Sung was on the beat and chasing after a traffic violator in episode 1 when her speedster suddenly entered a hospital and attacked Myung-Soo, a presidential candidate who was making a speech. Before Jin-Sung could get her hands on the criminal, he was spirited away by Myung-Soo’s private security and that was the last that Jin-Sung saw of him. That is, until later that night when she witnessed the criminal being thrown out of an unmarked van and ran over by said van.

Jin-Sung immediately reported the attempted murder of her speedster and had him transferred to a local hospital where two talented surgeons performed simultaneous surgeries on the murder victim. Unfortunately, the surgeons were unable to save the man’s life, and while everyone wanted to close up the mysterious victim’s case, Jin-Sung refused to do so. Why? Because there were little odds and ends, including the man’s death while on the operating table, that weren’t quite adding up, and Jin-Sung was determined to get to the bottom of whatever was going on.

Young-O begins his first day of work at a hospital and what a first day it is.

The takeaway from Beautiful Mind’s first episode? The show is an emotional roller coaster that has big plans in mind. The only question is, will the show be able to successfully pull it off? Time, as always, will only be to tell.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Episode 1 passed the race test but it did not pass the Bechdel or Russo test.

Doctors at a hospital gather to hear Myung-Soo’s speech about a new medical technology endeavor.

Episode 1 passed the race test, and the episode easily passed this test because there were many instances where non-White individuals talked to each other without mentioning White people as the entire cast was Asian and none of the characters ever mentioned White people. As to the Bechdel and Russo test, episode 1 failed to pass either of these diversity tests.

There were two named women in episode 1, Jin-Sung and Min-Jae, and while there were instances where women occasionally talked to each other, the episode did not pass the Bechdel test because there was never instance where the two named women in the episode talked to each other let alone talked to each other without mentioning men.

As to why episode 1 did not pass the Russo test, there were no LGBTI characters in the episode.

*The Bechdel test entails three requirements:
1. It has to have at least two (named) women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

**The Vito Russo test entails three requirements:
1. The show contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and/or transgender
2. The character must not be solely or predominately defined by her sexual orientation, gender identity and/or as being intersex
3.The character must be tied into the plot in such a way that her removal would have a significant effect

***The race or people of color (POC) test has three requirements:
1. It has two people of color in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something other than a White person

****Just because a show passes the Bechdel, Russo and race test does not mean that it is not sexist, heterosexist, racist and/or cissexist, etc. The Bechdel, Russo and race test is only a bare minimum qualifier for the representation of LGBTI individuals, women and people of color in television. The failure to pass these tests also does not identify whether the central character was a woman, a person of color or a LGBTQI individual and it does not dictate the quality of the show.