Common Law Episode 2: Case of the Week

Common Law S01E02: “Ride-Along”

When is an apparent suicide not a suicide?

When it’s a homicide!

This week Wes and Travis were called to the scene of what Travis gleefully informed Emma the Therapist was a jumper—but after bickering their way through an examination of the honeymoon suite and balcony from which the dead woman, originally identified as Justine Winfield, made her leap, it became apparent that there was more to the story than a scorned woman taking a swan dive. For one thing, when the detectives visited Mr. Winfield to tell him that his wife was dead, they found the real Justine alive and well and very confused about the apparent identity theft. The dead chick was identified as Olivia Fisher, who had recently been vaccinated against Yellow Fever, and was slated to board a plane to some exotic destination the following morning—under the name Justine Winfield—with Mr. Winfield, who was looking more and more suspicious as the episode crawled along.

And I do mean CRAWLED. Much like the pilot before it, “Ride-Along” started out slow with the most interesting bits tacked onto the end. Upon further investigation, Travis and Wes learned that Mr. Winfield was a money launderer for a band of gun-runners. He was totally sleeping with Olivia, but he totally didn’t kill her. That credit went to a jealous Justine, who swore that she only meant to scare Olivia into backing away from her husband, but things escalated. When the gun-runners kidnapped Justine because Mr. Winfield sucked at the illegal part of his job, it was Wes and Travis to the rescue, arguing their way past the meatheads holding Justine captive until they could easily take them out before a single shot was fired.

The end.

I still think it’s too early to pass judgment on the series as a whole, and the fun parts are, for me, very fun. Therapy was a good time this week with the detectives being ordered to draw their inner tree: Travis drew the exact scene from a textbook about the exercise because he had already taken the tree test a dozen times in foster care, and Wes didn’t draw anything, arguing that his tree was not only invisible, but surrounded by unicorns and too big to fit on the page anyway. Emma determined that Wes was the “asshole” of her group, which was fine, every group needs one, but she admitted that she hadn’t had much luck in the past with treating “the asshole.” I suppose Wes becoming a real boy will be an ongoing theme this season.

And that’s fine. I think Common Law could benefit from more overarching themes. I would love to see a series of connected cases leading to one Grand Poobah of Badness; it would certainly lend a sense of urgency to each case, elevating them beyond the monotony of case-of-the-week status. Case-of-the-week gets boring and predictable really fast. The seeds are already planted for minor storylines to stretch through the entire season: There's Wes and his ex, who still clearly like one another; there's Wes's lawyer gig, still dangling over his head, waiting for him to return “any time he wants to” according to his ex-wife; there's Travis’s ongoing quest to get with their therapist; and there's the evolution of Wes and Travis’s relationship in general. I’m still waiting to find out why they dislike one another so much. Sure, their personalities clash like plaid and polka-dot prints, but they had to have gotten along initially, right? Maybe? What do you think?


Case Notes and Follow-up Questions:

– I loved Wes’s ability to translate Travspeak. “What Travis REALLY means...”

– Wes’s new ride is sweet. I loved that he got all of the features Travis wanted, even after his whole speech about Trav’s skewed priorities. SEE? THEY SECRETLY LIKE EACH OTHER.

– The therapy scenes have been my favorite part of each episode so far. What about you?

Comments (16)
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After finding the pilot a VERY flawed affair, I found myself accepting Common Law's flaws the way one accepts gravity as a fact of life... and I really enjoyed this episode. Somehow I find myself already invested in the lives of the two very irritating detectives, their charming therapist (and the therapy group) and the captain (come on, surely we all want to hear about his tantric experiences).
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I don't think its such a secret they like eachother. Good show....
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I am LOVING this show so far. I mean sure, the crimes aren't that exceptional. But I've been a cop shows fan for many years, and honestly, as much as I love a good elaborate crime, it's not all I'm looking for in a show. The chemistry between Wes and Travis is just delightful to watch. I can't remember the last time I laughed so much while watching a cop show.



What I really like is that just like a lot of the shows on USA, they know what they want the show to be, and they stick with it. Kind of reminds be a bit of Suits, or White Collar. USA does love its bromances. Anyways, so far so good! It's no "Heroes" or "Prison Break", but it's not trying to be that either, like "The Event" was. I think we should judge the show for what it actually is; a serious/funny cop show. And in its genre, I think they're doing a wonderful job so far. I'm really looking forward to seeing more of it!
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I desperately want to like this show, but right now it's just "meh" with a hint of humor. It really is a conglomerate of cliches that misses its mark . It doesn't quite have the humor of 'Psych' or the sharp wit of 'Suits' or 'White Collar'. I don't know... but I do agree the therapy scenes are the best.
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I like this show, and I actually like the case of the week kind of thing. They have plenty of things they are building to, ( their pasts, why they appearently just started disliking other so much, ex.) but I think that is the kind of thing they need to pace a bit. It seems like a lot of the time people expect the entire story of the main characters to be told in the first episode. I like when we get to learn a bit at a time and piece it together, rather than they just telling us all outright.

I love this show so far, it is fun light and relaxing to watch, it makes me laugh and it has a good balance; the cases aren't real dark and disturbing so they aren't going to be depressing, but it's not so simple that they are completely predictable.
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I generally agree with this article.



I found that the fun parts of the episode were... uh, fun. The banter, while not yet on par with some of the other USA shows, is kinda fun. The therapy sessions are cute. All in all, I guess I kind of like some of the more significant parts of the show.



However, it's the more serious parts of the show that bore me. It really seems as if the writers had the idea for the therapy sessions and the general outlines of the characters long before landing on the idea that this try and be an actual cop show. The drama that has to be involved for cop shows to work doesn't yet exist.
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I like the characters, but I feel like Common Law doesn't have the wow factor that makes shows like White Collar and Psych work so well for the channel. The show may get its legs later in the series like White Collar, but if it continues like this, Common Law will just have to settle for being a mediocre cop show with fairly amusing leads.
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I really like this show like all the other USA network shows. Their therapy sessions are quite hilarious. You have a point about their cases-of-the-week. They can a little boring at times, but their interactions just keep me in stitches!! LOL!!!
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Seriously your favorite moments were product placement? Sheesh, you must really hate this show.
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i'm likeing the show so far. the bickering is funny but the best bits are the therapy sessions. with alot of my shows ending/cencelled this year im looking for somthing new to watch. im hopeing this finds its stride and keeps going.
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This show's problem is that it's a pastiche of other shows, it has nothing original to say, and without that kind of original vision and drive behind it, there's no choice but to fall back on lazy television tropes.



The case was lame, if these guys are super awesome cops, they should have noticed everything ANY other good cop show would have, instead of bothering to climb around balconies and chase red herrings. If this was a better show, the cops could have noticed stuff in a unique way even, that would have been nice since we're supposed to believe that the only thing standing in the way of crime totally ruling the city is these 2 guys and their horrible relationship, yet it turns out they're just mediocre.



The therapy stuff is played for giggles, and I find even that barely holds my interest. There's not enough focus on who the characters are and what their griefs with each other are, mainly because we've just spent time in silly group sessions. If this is supposed to be the hook of the show, I think they need to do a better job with the therapy giving us these characters as rounded individuals so that it's not just "a few jokes and then down to the case of the week".



Bottom line, between this show's cheapness and Fairly Legal's awful retooling, I think USA is going to lose my Friday viewership very soon.
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A decent episode. But I agree with you. You are not nitpicking. Common Law is lacking something. I can't put my finger on what that exactly is. It is a good show, but there isn't really anything thus far that is going to make it must watch tv for me. Which is odd because most of the USA series is. With the exception of Necessary Roughness.



For me it just well seems kind of average. And already though the second episode, stuck in a rut. The formula goes like this. Therapy, Murder, argue, argue, argue, agree, argue argue, something with the therapist, argue, personal moment, moment of individual inspiration, agreement, moment of collective inspiration, crime solved, therapy, argue. Which is fine. But it still is lacking something.



I am not sure what it needs, perhaps it does need a big bad. Perhaps it needs a bigger conflict. Maybe they need to delve into the characters a bit more to find out their personal flaw and what transpired to make them hate each other. Maybe they need something more tangible for the reason they dislike each other. Maybe Travis needs to date Wes' ex. Or bring a family member of wes for travis to date.



I am not sure there is a readied answer. I enjoy the show for the most part. But still, it isn't enough to keep me coming back.
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I feel that way about Common Law, as well. I like the show, but there's something missing. I have no clue what that missing part is, either.
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I don't think you are nitpicking. I see your points. Common law is generally...kind of..well...boring. I'm giving it a chance, USA hasn't failed me yet so I'm hoping that this time will be no different. I can see where the writers are going with this, and that's what matters...right? lol
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Actually really like this show Its an entertaining hour of tv. Also sounds like your nitpicking alittle....
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Am really feeling this series. I especially like their clothes ( I think they have same tailors or stylists as the fellas on Suits,Hawt)

Their dynamic is interesting ...although sometimes I cant help asking Why Dont They just Assign them different partners!

The stories so far have been engaging, am hoping lotsa folks tune in so this doesnt get cancelled!
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