Hey TV.com, Should I Watch Common Law?

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.

Comments (22)
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I really think this a psych's copy.
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I hadn't planned on watching it, but I ended up watching a rerun on it, and it was pretty good. I've got to just start watching any show they come out with that I don't plan on watching cause they all seem to turn out good. Like Suits, and necessary roughness.
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Out of curiosity, at this point would USA have ordered an entire season of Common Law? Or would they wait to see how it does on the ratings front?
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Why not considering the other stuff that the other networks are doing like renewing series that I never heard of and will never watch in the first place.
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better than psych...characters already have chemistry
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Since Awake and The Finder were both canceled, i might check this one out.
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I had seen all these Common Law posters EVERYWHERE! so i think it's a message, so I will watch.
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I hope it turns out to be really funny because aside from Michael Ealy, this show looks to have nothing else going for it. If my math is right, I believe this is Generic Cop Series #12,964?
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I haven't been enamored with the premise or commercials for it so far, but I also dig the USA formula and love those other shows, so I'll give it a shot. Thanks, MaryAnn.
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Ugh, the 'created by' list is like a perfect list of Hollywood awfulness.



This show has looked like a pastiche of recent USA Network shows for a while without any actual uniqueness of its own. I've not seen a single promo where it doesn't speak with another show's voice, or more importantly where it has something to say of its own. It looks like Psych meets Burn Notice without those series' hooks. The advertising off-screen has been all about the 2 characters/actors which says exactly nothing whatsoever except "black guy white guy shell casings" yawn.



Anyway, while I love Psych, White Collar, Burn Notice, Suits, Royal Pains, and like Covert Affairs and Fairly Legal (although I'm pretty much running out of steam on Fairly Legal what with its awful season 2 changes) I wasn't going to watch this one, but you guys seem to like it so I'll give it a shot, but unless it holds up pretty well I won't commit.
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Love the USA format. The only two series from them that I jus can't stand are Necessary Roughness and In Plain Sight. But that one is over now. Big fan of Psych, White Collar and Burn Notice. So I will give this a chance.
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I'm not a huge fan of the USA series. Just my take probably won't watch much of this. Though I do envy how all these promos for USA shows are the cast doing something in slo mo to look like bad asses. Like the Common Law guys slowing walking form a helicopter like bad asses.
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Same here nothing better to cheer me up than a light series from USA ( White collar, psych, Suits...) and right now need it after bad news so i ll give it a try
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I'm big fan of USA shows so I'll definately be giving this a chance and then probably sticking with it throughout all five of it's inevitable seasons.
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It doesn't sound all that interesting, but as a fan of Psych, White Collar, and Suits... I guess I may dig Common Law.



I've also liked Ealy and Kole from other shows or whatever, so the pairing seems okay.



I'll certainly be giving this a shot.
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I love the USA Network formula!!! It has a lot of successful shows. The pilot looks very interesting. I'll be checking it out for sure. White Collar is a must see!!!
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Honestly, not sure how I feel about this show, but I am currently leaning more towards a "Yes, watch it!". So I guess I'll check out the first few episodes and reserve final judgement until then. :-)
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Nope I won't be watching this. I don't like the USA formula at all. Did I mention that I HATE Psych? I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE IT. And I even forced myself to watch the whole first season just to be sure.
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USA network should be the spokespeople for bromance. I only watch Psych, but Suits, White Collar and this are on my to-watch list.
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Its true, they should really get around to changing their slogan from "Characters Welcome" to "We've Got Bromance" or something.



I've actually only just started watching Psych, but I love it. Suits and White Collar are such a good time!
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I love cop dramas and I like many of the USA Network's programs, so I'll definitely be checking Common Law out.
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Michael Ealy also from Sleeper Cell series) just saying
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