Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Pilot Review: Proven Innocent

Proven Innocent (FOX)
Premiered February 15 at 9pm

If there’s one thing the world doesn’t particularly need, it’s more law shows. When they do premiere, especially on broadcast network television, there’s usually an attempt to find a hook that hasn’t been found before to distinguish it from the 1,945 other law shows currently on the air and remembered from throughout the history of TV. This one takes that to the extreme, following its protagonists as they try to prove the innocence of the wrongfully convicted, with the added detail that star lawyer Madeline Scott was actually incarcerated for a murder she didn’t commit by the very prosecutor she constantly goes up against in court. I remember Rachelle Lefevre from the pilot of “Off the Map” and other projects over the years, and she’s certainly the most memorable player in this cast even if her performance is not particularly good. Though he’s starred in two other short-lived shows since, I’ll always lament the sight of Kelsey Grammer on any drama that isn’t “Boss,” the excellent two-season Starz series that cast him in a fully evil role, one that he isn’t really inhabiting here even if his motivations are rarely all that pure. Vincent Kartheiser made sure to distinguish this part from his much more buttoned-up suit-wearer on “Mad Men,” here appearing scruffy and far more willing to get his hands dirty even if he initially appeared lazy. Russell Hornsby, who has appeared on shows like “The Affair” and “In Treatment” in the past, is saddled with a lackluster role as the serious face of the firm that has to conform to the rules when some of his associates don’t always play by them. What’s most regrettable about this show is the dialogue, featuring such gems as “Can’t kill your way out of this one” from Madeline to someone who proved her very wrong and the judge talking down to her with “I’m not going to lie, I’ve heard better. What else you got?” The innocence of the people portrayed may be in question, but the quality of this show is not. I’m already ready to forget about it.

How will it work as a series? It seems that her brother’s role in the death of the woman they both went to jail for killing may not be as clear-cut as she initially thought, and that’s going to lead to her questioning all of her life choices and her mission. Gore reviewing all of his cases at the same time just means that all the hard work everyone is going to here will be for nothing since no one will be able to trust their judgment at any point.
How long will it last? The reviews aren’t great, predictably. The ratings were even worse, and though Friday night isn’t traditionally a fantastic night for television, it is where many crime procedurals get buried, and therefore this show needs to do a lot better if it’s going to hope to survive. I wouldn’t give it all that long, and it certainly won’t get another season.

Pilot grade: D+

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