Monday, September 18, 2006

TV: Justice

I've only seen the third episode of Fox's new legal drama Justice, but I think I've got the gist of it: hotshot L.A. defense lawyers, more concerned with image and guile than straightforward legal expertise, look pretty and bitch amongst themselves while defending their clients.

There are a few interesting elements here. It's an even more cynical version of The Practice, where courtroom stunts, media manipulation and jury stacking are more important than the actual law. It felt like a fairly fresh point of view to a tired old genre. In the episode I watched, the lawyers actually had to rein in their antics a bit, since their case was being tried in Orange County, whose jury pool (according to the show, and it seems accurate enough to me) is likely to be richer, more conservative, less sophisticated (at least as far as hi-tech courtroom displays go), and less trusting than that of L.A. County.

And the big twist of the show is that after the trial is over, and the defendant has been acquitted or convicted, we the audience get to see what really happened at the scene of the crime. It's a neat gimmick, though one that would've worked better if it hadn't been so crushingly obvious who was really behind the murder in the episode I saw.

Despite all that, I do not have a high tolerance for legal dramas. I don't even watch Boston Legal, and that's got the Shat! This one stars Alias's Victor Garber, and he gives basically the same delivery here as he did on that show -- a rapid-fire, mostly inflectionless barrage of data, but with dyed hair and a couple of smiles thrown in. Kerr Smith is unbelievably grating as the new kid at the firm, always whining and complaining and arguing with Garber about every single little thing. You just want to smack the shit out of him. The rest of the cast is just kind of there.

So, the cast didn't thrill me, the case was fairly obvious, and legal dramas don't really interest me in the first place. Which makes this the last time I'll ever watch Justice. It's not horrible, but it's definitely not for me.

5 out of 10

TV highlights for tonight: the return of How I Met Your Mother (Suit up!), and the premiere of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Also: the premiere of The Class, which I wouldn't go so far as to call a highlight.

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