Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pilot Review: Common Law

Common Law (USA)
Premiered May 11 at 10pm

I knew absolutely nothing about this show going in other than its tagline, “It’s like marriage, only with bullets,” which has adorned many a subway platform in New York City for the past month or so. Like many USA series, it features two leads with a distinctly entertaining relationship, and in this case, one familiar face that has headlined shows before, and another ensemble player ready for his big career-making role. Michael Ealy was less than enthusiastic as a Muslim FBI agent on “Sleeper Cell,” and then proved more energetic in a recurring role on “The Good Wife.” Now, he’s found a fantastic part in Travis Marks, an off-the-handle police officer who always pulls out his gun to intimidate suspects and has slept with every woman in the police department. Warren Kole, previously a guest star on multiple episodes of “The Chicago Code” and “24,” is like a mix between Michael Westen from “Burn Notice” and Harvey Spector from “Suits,” slightly calmer but just as egotistical. Together, they make a fun pair, and they’re more effective than the supporting cast, which includes Jack McGee from “Rescue Me” as their agonized chief and Sonya Walger from “Lost” and “Flash Forward” as their couples counseling therapist. Mercedes Masohn of the just-cancelled FOX show “The Finder” appears in a great guest spot, and I’d love to see her back here again in this fabulous role, especially since she’s lost her day job. Like other USA series, this one works because of the chemistry of its two leads, and like other pilots, this show needs a bit of work, but I’m convinced it will get there, and in the meantime, it’ll be superb summer fun.

How will it work as a series? I’m not sure the show will need to stay true to its name, and can move away from the therapy aspect to focus on its cases, watching Travis preemptively rob a convenience store or Wes do whatever he does best. This show is going to fit in well with other USA series, providing light entertainment that isn’t meant to be taken entirely seriously.
How long will it last? Completely unknown – USA tends to back its shows and give them a fair shake. The network has had a slew of hits recently, so I imagine that this will just be the latest. That same logic dictates that it could bite the dust without anyone caring since the channel is doing well enough anyway. I suspect it a renewal will be called for soon.

Pilot grade: B

1 comment:

darci said...

Sure, the formula has been done before, but I thought that the pilot was good and I hope they let the show develop because both of the lead characters have more depth than the average character in a law show. I thought the tension between the two was great and also adds a lot of potential for future exploration.

Oh and one more thing, I thought it was awesome that they used that song "Blanco" by Pitbull and Pharrell when Wes and Travis were chasing Ramon through the streets of downtown, that song is so intense it really added the icing on the cake to a great action scene - plus, I love a great foot chase.