Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pilot Review: Detroit 1-8-7

Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC)
Premiered September 21 at 10pm

Every season, networks offer up new cop shows often with no more than a few small tweaks on the procedural format. This particular program is going for a small number of modifiers but ensuring that they’re all big. Along those lines, this show is extraordinarily bleak, especially with the devastating end of the episode featuring the downed cop’s annoying cell phone ring tone. Think of it as ABC’s response to “Southland” that isn’t nearly as effective at being as dark as it’s trying to be (even though I didn’t like the NBC-turned-TNT show either). The bleeping out of expletives to give the show an edgier feel also fails because it turns the scenes into awkwardly comic interactions. Detailing the number of years each cop has put in on the force is supposed to highlight the differences between them, but unfortunately they just end up as overly defined stereotypes. Michael Imperioli is in the lead role as the stoic detective who literally gives a suspect the silent treatment until he gets so agitated that he confesses (after a mere minute or two, no less). Imperioli’s Detective Louis Fitch may be in Detroit, but you wouldn’t know it from his devastatingly strong New York accent. It’s a more focused role than the cop parts he had on “Life on Mars” two years ago and in the “The Lovely Bones,” but having him actually call his new partner on a cell phone rather than speaking to him when they’re right next to each other is pretty stupid. No one else in the cast is worth mentioning, and the show just is too interested in being dark and dreary to be legitimately intriguing. Don’t bother visiting Detroit.

How will it work as a series? Like any other cop show, there shouldn’t any shortage of potential plotlines. One veteran detective has his dream retirement home, but at this point, most of the other characters, especially those like Fitch that don’t wear their emotions on their sleeves, there are plenty of back stories to be developed.
How long will it last? It doesn’t have that much competition (just “Parenthood” and “The Good Wife”), but I still don’t see this one sticking. The ratings are a bit below those of the premiere of “The Forgotten” that held this time slot last year, and that show bit the dust by the end of the season. I’d give this one about a season.


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