We've already screened the pilot of Common Law, the new (anti-)buddy cop series premiering tonight on USA. But is it worth your time? Here are some first impressions that might help you decide.
What's the show, and when can I watch it?
Common Law premieres Friday, May 11 at 10pm on USA.
Who's in it?
Michael Ealy and Warren Kole star as two detectives: Travis Marks and Wes Mitchell, respectively. We’ve seen Kole before in The Chicago Code, 24, and Mental. He also starred as Robert Wheeler in the TNT miniseries Into the West. Ealy's had roles in Barbershop and Barbershop 2, Seven Pounds with Will Smith, and Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls. Supporting the dysfunctional duo are Jack McGee, whom many of us will recognize as Chief Jerry Reilly from Rescue Me, and Sonya Walger from Lost.
Who's behind it?
The show was created by Cormac and Marianne Wibberley, whose credits include such films as The 6th Day starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, I Spy, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, and the National Treasure franchise. Executive Producer Jon Turteltaub was the executive producer and a director on Jericho and Harper’s Island. He also directed an episode of From the Earth to the Moon, which just so happens to be my favorite miniseries in the history of ever. EVER.
What’s it about?
Detectives Marks and Mitchell have known each other for seven years and been partners for five. They also can’t stand one another, and when their constant clashes start to affect their work, their captain sends them to marriage counseling to work things out.
Who’s the target audience, here?
Well, it’s a USA show, so rest assured, it follows the network's standard formula of uptight guy + laid back guy+ shenanigans = entertainment. It’s a cop show, but not a particularly gritty one. The leads are pretty and despite their characters loathing one another, they have good chemistry and there’s a lot of bromance. If you enjoy White Collar, Psych, or Suits, you’ll probably dig Common Law.
What’s good about it?
Well, I’m a sucker for the USA formula, especially when it comes to the network’s summer shows. It’s not PURE escapism, but it's close, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The dialogue is witty; the characters are vibrant. I didn’t have to think very hard during the pilot, but I also didn’t feel my brain leaking out of my ears. It’s a fun show. And I mentioned the attractive leads and their bromantic chemistry, right?
Are there any weak spots I should know about?
To put it bluntly, if you don’t like the USA formula, you’re not going to like Common Law. It isn’t a dark, gritty look at the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles; It’s two cops running around beneath the palm trees and the sunshine, trying really hard to hate each other for some reason that I’m assuming we’ll learn more about later in the season.
Okay, but seriously, should I watch it?
Sure! The pilot is a little slow to start (such is the nature of many, many pilots), but once the plot gets rolling along, it's a fun ride. Ealy and Kole play off of each other really well, and their respective characters are surprisingly evolved by the end of the episode. The USA formula might be a little stale at face value, but you can’t deny the network's ability to create fascinating characters.
Is there a clip or a trailer I can take a look at?
Why, indeed there is!
What should I have on hand to get into the spirit of the show?
Well, Det. Mitchell is anal retentive and a little bit of a snob. Coming from a law background, he’s also a little higher on the economic totem pole than his partner, who was left on the steps of a fire hall as a baby and raised in the foster system. So, in homage to both of them, I recommend a nice microbrew. It’s beer, the everyman’s drink, but it’s FANCY beer, so it’s, you know, BETTER than the other beer. Or something.
Common Law premieres tonight at 10pm on USA.