Did we like it?
Didn’t reach ‘first series of Murder One’ standards, but like all American legal dramas, this creation by Jerry ‘CSI’ Bruckheimer was perfectly watchable fare.
What was good about it?
• Annabeth Chase (played by Jennifer Finnigan) is a very attractive (obviously) lead character, but for once this lead isn’t a singleton trying to juggle a useless love life with her job. Instead, she’s a recent mother with a stable home battling to balance her work life with her motherly duties, which throws up a lot of issues not readily tackled by other dramas.
• We love evil, nasty lawyers, and Annabeth’s adversary this week was a classic, especially when, as she insisted on taking the case to court, he shrugged, “more billable hours for me.” The bastard!
• The storyline in the opener was about an abusive husband who imprisoned his family in the house through an elaborate system of locks and alarms, until the son grew so desperate he set the place on fire. Unfortunately, the mother got the blame initially and as she fought to protect her children it mirrored nicely Annabeth’s worries about neglecting her own new baby.
• The ways in which Annabeth’s motherhood affected her judgement but also her desperation to nail the abusive husband.
• The interesting relationship and rivalry between Annabeth and her new boss, Maureen, who Annabeth sees as having taken her rightful position.
• The character of Jeffrey, played by Evan Arnold, put us in mind of the fabulous character of Brandon in Hitchcock’s Rope.
What was bad about it?
• It seemed slightly odd that Molly McNeill was immediately arrested for the fire in her house despite the mountains of evidence inside that may have suggested something else was afoot – you know, like all the windows being nailed shut and the dog collar and chain in the cellar.
• Molly’s husband Kirk was a little too evil – he was full of snidey, vicious looks when he thought no one was watching. He might as well have had “I’m a wife-beating asshole” tattooed on his skull – would have had the same effect. The fact he was a moma’s boy was a touch too Psycho, as well.
• The ending was shot in slo-mo, somewhat soft-focus and gave the sense that everything was OK. By contrast a show such as NYPD Blue is adept at leaving more of an open ending – a note of temporary calm rather than a forced happy ending where even the baby managed to sleep through a whole night.