Common Law Episode 2: Case of the Week

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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?

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