Melinda Karnofsky, often called Mel, is the ex-wife of Niles Crane. She is a plastic surgeon, serving as the doctor for Maris Crane. She and Niles met when he continued to receive bills for Maris' surgeries after they had divorced. She is much like Niles (and Maris) in demeanor and personality, but continues to push him in a wrong direction (as she is like Maris). It's mentioned that she is divorced and has an adult son, but his name is never stated; however Niles remarks that he is middle-aged, indicating that Mel is much older than she looks but simply had a lot of plastic surgery herself.
She is humiliated by her own wedding reception by Niles after she is ditched at Donny's wedding for Daphne. Niles and Mel agree on a quick divorce if he plays the "doting husband" for a few weeks, before a quick and simple divorce.
Eventually, her crazy idea of a "perfect marriage for a few weeks" puts a strain of Niles and Daphne's relationship to the point where she couldn't be seen in public with him and arrives at the last minute to ruin their time. This pushes Niles over the edge to where he confronts her in front of all her friends and tells her that their marriage is over, the whole charade is off and that he loves Daphne and doesn't care about her (Mel) anymore. Mel, escorted by her friends who insult Niles, leaves hurt and defeated and is never seen again. She is played by Jane Adams.
In the first episode that Niles meets Mel, Niles asks another man who works at the hospital if the photo of a man was of her husband, and the man replies, it is her son, and Mel is divorced from her first husband. This also implies that Mel is older than it may look. (The Late Dr. Crane. Season 7, Episode 8)