Training Day (CBS)
Premiered February 2 at 10pm
Fifteen years ago, Denzel Washington won an Oscar for playing a corrupt cop who gave his trainee one hell of a time during an impactful, crime-filled day in Los Angeles in the film “Training Day.” Because every film ever made gets a reboot these days, this one is on tap as Washington is contending for another Oscar for his performance in the movie “Fences.” I personally liked the latter performance better, but I know that his portrayal of Alonzo Harris is very well-regarded. What’s interesting about this show, which technically counts as a sequel, is that it reverses the roles to take a lesson learned from what happened in the film and turn it on its head. It’s now the African-American rookie cop who’s a big superstar in the department thanks to his death-defying stunt that opened the premiere who is specifically positioned to take down a corrupt veteran cop by an African-African deputy chief so that he can ensure that there are not negative consequences that happen for the legitimate policework that he has done. Marianne Jean-Baptiste sprang back very quickly from her series regular role on “Blindspot” to a similar part here, coaching relative newcomer Justin Cornwell through his showy part. Bill Paxton definitely has the ability to play a loose cannon and is probably the most believable thing about his character, who seems far too exaggerated and off-the-rails to be taken seriously. That’s the problem with this show – its premise is familiar but everything is so emphasized to make it seem current and invigorating. It’s just the latest in a long line of cop shows that want to be cutting-edge and might appeal to some, but just don’t have what’s needed to be a creative and compelling series.
How will it work as a series? Cornwell’s Kyle has been sent in with a very specific mission, which is to keep tabs on Paxton’s Frank so that the department can be aware of what he’s doing. There’s no way that Frank is unaware that Kyle has been planted, and he’s already put his new trainee in enough danger without trying, so there’s sure to be a good deal of playing with fire to come that’s going to more than a bit over-the-top.
How long will it last? This was one of two CBS series that started on Thursday night, and it managed to achieve both poorer ratings and poorer reviews. That doesn’t bode well for a show that I don’t think anyone was asking for, and I don’t see CBS rushing to the aid of this one after it surely performs even less impressively in weeks two and three, after which I don’t think it will continue to air.
Pilot grade: C-