Made in Jersey (CBS)
Premiered September 28 at 9pm
There’s no reason I should have thought that this show would be any good. I was a big fan of Janet Montgomery in her role as Ames on season two of “Human Target,” and had hoped that it would be fun to see her in a starring role. Unfortunately, that comes with a miserable Jersey accent and a need to mimic the style of “Legally Blonde,” wherein only a tried and true Italian Jersey native knows anything about hair products and female habits that proves crucial time and time again in trying murder cases. Were the element of Jersey and Martina Garetti’s heritage not pushed so much, this show might be bearable, but it’s featured front and center and then trumpeted in case any viewers missed the point. No one else on the show has charisma, from Pablo Schreiber to Stephanie March, and there isn’t quite enough for Kyle MacLachlan to do, though a procedural law drama isn’t the place that he belongs anyway. The show has a tendency to try to go into thriller mode with fast music and intense dramatics, but it doesn’t work to its advantage. Featuring a protagonist from New Jersey who has a meteoric rise from oblivion to stardom is far from compelling, and there’s nothing positive to distinguish this show from any other law drama. I like that Montgomery is getting TV work again, but I do wish that it were on any other show than this since it has absolutely zero potential to succeed and enormous potential to annoy.
How will it work as a series? Now that she’s gotten herself noticed, Martina is going to talk everyone’s ear off to make sure that she retains a seat at the table, which is sure to lead to contempt and eventual respect from her coworkers. It’s a very familiar setup, and procedurals can go on forever since there’s no shortage of possible cases.
How long will it last? Not long. If there’s a network that’s entirely unforgiving of low ratings, it’s CBS. While this show never had much of a shot on Fridays as it is, its numbers weren’t impressive, and the only comfort is that both “Blue Bloods” and “CSI: New York” were down as well. I’d still expect to see this one booted by November, if not sooner.
Pilot grade: D-