Review of "Justice" From The TV MegaSite
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"Justice" Review by Suzanne 8/31/06

cast of "Justice"

The jury is still out on this show...

I found the first 2/3 of this show to be really slow and kind of dull. I was going to tell you that the writing was just not there and the casting was questionable. At the end, however, the show got much better and had a bang of a finish. So you might just have to be patient with this show while it finds itself a bit. Perhaps America does not have the kind of attention span for this (especially FOX viewers), but we'll just have to wait and see.

This is a slick legal show about a team of hotshot lawyers in L.A. The lead lawyer of the firm, Ron, played by Alias' Victor Garber, is sort of a white Johnny Cochrane. He is supposed to be very obnoxious and a real shark. Problem is, he is too obnoxious. I didn't find him to be likable at all. On the much-better show from last season, "In Justice" (similar name, too!), they had an obnoxious, shallow, ambitious lawyer played by Kyle McLachlan, but he was more likable and you could see that he cared about people, deep down. Victor Garber may not be charismatic enough to play this part. On "Alias" he was the cold secret agent. We knew that he loved his wife and daughter, but he had a hard time showing it, and he didn't have to be very likable. Alias would not have worked if he were the center of the show. Besides, he had the ultra-vulnerable Jennifer Garner and the ultra-sweet Michael Vartan playing opposite him, so they balanced him and Ron Rifkin's evil Sloane out. Actually, even Sloane was more likable....

Kerr Smith's Tom is the young, good-looking, caring lawyer who is obviously supposed to balance Garber's obnoxious lawyer, but it does not work. He's no Sydney Bristow. The other regular actors on the show stand out even less. With a cast of lightweights, you need really good writing. I'm not sure if this show has it yet. We'll have to wait and see in future episodes.

It's not that you can't have a lead character that's obnoxious or unlikable, even, but that seems to work best in comedies such as "Married with Children" or even "House". Although "House" is definitely a medical drama, it is also very funny, particularly with Dr. House's lines. Even though he is obnoxious, he is so outrageous that you have to laugh. There is not that much humor in "Justice", so that is not going to work. Also, usually the really obnoxious characters have some kind of vulnerability, such as House's bum leg and his generally lonely demeanor. We need to either see Ron warm up or show some massive defect in his life that will make us feel sorry for him.

There's no question that TV could use another good legal show like "L.A. Law" or "The Practice". I really don't count "Boston Legal" any more because it's a comedy more than anything. I'm just not sure that this show will be able to fill those lofty shoes. They concentrated on just one case in the opener, so of course there really wasn't any question as to what the verdict would be. You wouldn't have them lose a case in the very first show. We'll have to see if it is more open to interpretation on future shows. Most of the drama was focused on how they were going to make the jury see their point of view, and in the end they figured out how to do that.

One thing this show does really well is to show the media frenzy that goes on with high profile cases, especially in L.A. But you don't need a fictional show for that--just tune in to FOX news and listen to them talk about the latest one. Clearly things have changed since the days of "L.A. Law", so in that respect, this show does provide that updating of the genre. Also, it is not a soap opera, from what I can tell, like those other shows were. It's more of a crime drama as seen from the legal point of view. It's produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, so I guess you can think of it sort of as CSI: Lawyers. It tries to be realistic, but in a showy, flashy way.

I will probably keep watching, since it follows "Bones", at least until the other fall shows come out and I see if I want to change the channel. It may have stiff competition against "Lost", at least, and possibly "Criminal Minds" as well.

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Updated 8/31/06 


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