Friday, September 29, 2017

Pilot Review: Law and Order: True Crime

Law and Order: True Crime (NBC)
Premiered September 26 at 10pm

Dick Wolf’s “Law and Order” brand is a successful one that I don’t think will ever die, even if the flagship show went off the air in 2010. “SVU” just started season nineteen and shows no signs of slowing down. It could only have been expected that, with the success of “American Crime Story” and “True Detective,” this franchise would attempt to venture into the anthology format, recreating a famous historical trial. I do think that the association is a bit of a misnomer since, aside from the signature clinking whenever a setting is identified on screen, this show doesn’t have many traits of the other shows, notably lacking an opening credits scene and any other identifying characteristics. I’m not familiar with this particular crime since I was born just before it occurred, and therefore I can’t speak to the accuracy of what’s being presented. As a series, I think that its most interesting asset is the actress being billed as its lead, Emmy winner Edie Falco, who plays attorney Leslie Abramson, who immediately identifies the sons as the killers and apparently will later represent them. Falco is a great fit for this role, and she’s already having fun with it. A few familiar faces like Elizabeth Reaser of “Grey’s Anatomy,” Sam Jaeger of “Parenthood,” and Josh Charles of “The Good Wife” appear wasted in supporting roles that either minimize their talents or make mockeries of them. Representing recent times on television has its appeal, but at a certain point things feel unnecessarily exaggerated and often just plain corny. This show lacks any sort of true gravitas, ending with an intense music-enhanced guilt montage that doesn’t really track with anything that comes before it, and the investigation is honestly very dull. Seeing what other shows have done in dramatizing criminal investigations, this is a real disappointment.

How will it work as a series? There are real events on which this is based, and so it can’t diverge all that much without claiming to portray them on screen. Keeping things in the courtroom is the best idea since events can be relayed through witnesses rather than through flashbacks, which are sure to be less engaging.
How long will it last? Putting this after “This Is Us” doesn’t make that much sense since the audiences aren’t really the same, and the ratings were decent as a result. The reviews aren’t terrific, but given that this show will focus on a different trial in season two, I think NBC will opt to give it a shot to prove itself again.

Pilot grade: C

No comments: