The American TV series Nip/Tuck (2004-2010), produced by FX, is centred on best friends and plastic surgeons Sean McNamara and Christian Troy, the owners of a successful South Beach (Miami Beach) surgery practice. Given the professional context where they operate, the use of Standard American English is normatively required when interacting with all of their patients and members of staff, a requirement which is usually met. Nevertheless, the pilot show of the TV series includes a doctor-patient interview among Christian, a Latino prospective patient — and criminal — and the latter’s brother, who are subsequently joined by Sean, an interview whose participants do not comply with the unmarked use of Standard American English in professional contexts. In fact, the conversation is characterised by the socially marked use of colloquial lexical items and of Spanish/English codeswitching. During the interview, Christian not only collects all of the information which he needs in preparation for the operation, but also deceives both his patient and Sean. In this article, through the theoretical frameworks of sociolinguistics, conversation analysis and stylistics, but also through television studies, after identifying and examining the linguistic strategies which Christian applies, the author tries to demonstrate that his conversational behaviour and the realisation of his goals are made tactically effective by his non-standard choice of colloquialisms and of codeswitching, and that he succeeds in becoming the most powerful speaker thanks to his skilful use and manipulation of different sociolinguistic codes.
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