Stop me if you've heard this one before: CBS is about to debut a new police procedural! This time it's called Golden Boy , and it's one of the few midseason entries The Eye has planned for this half of the TV season. But c'mon, is it another run-of-the-mill CBS cop show or is it the next mind-blowingly awesome genre-bending water-cooler-crowding living-room-couch-seatbelt-needing SUPER TV ART PIECE? Well, pal, I've seen the first two episodes and I'm about to answer some of those questions. Here we go!
The hour-long drama centers on Walter William Clark, Jr. ( Bedlam 's Theo James, another Brit trying to crack the U.S.), a self-made man from a rough background who is shooting up the ranks of the New York Police Department faster than a precinct captain can take down a glazed donut (cop humor!). In fact, we know that in seven years he'll be the youngest police commissioner in the history of the NYPD because the pilot tells us that right in the beginning! Yup, Golden Boy shows us the end (seven years later) before it shows us the boring middle point, and that's part of its gimmick. In the future, Clark is police chief and explaining how he got there. In the past, where we spend the bulk of our time, he's a beat cop who just got promoted to detective. So I guess that makes it kind of like How I Met Your Police Commissioner ?
Nicholas Wootton, who previously wrote and produced some serious copper shows like N.Y.P.D. Blue and Law & Order , as well as Chuck . Prolific producer Greg Berlanti ( No Ordinary Family , Dirty Sexy Money , Arrow ) is also on board.
Golden Boy debuts in a special slot on Tuesday, February 26 at 10pm on CBS. Then it'll air Episode 2 on Tuesday, March 5 before moving to Fridays at 9pm (right in front of Blue Bloods ) on March 8.
CBS isn't rocking the boat too hard here, delivering a procedural that will keep its preinstalled audience happy. But there is a bit of trickery at play, designed to make Golden Boy slightly more than what you're used to, and there's also a heavy character-driven part of the series that's trying to keep pace with cable dramas, draw in younger viewers, and stock trophy cases with awards. If you can't get enough of, "FREEZE! This is the police!" then this will be right up your alley.
It's slightly more than a procedural, with some opportunity for some great characterization if the show goes where I hope it goes with Clark and the other detectives (please go there, show!). Some of the action scenes are very solid, and the show knows how to do high-intensity very well. And the gimmick about jumping forward seven years in the future has lots of potential if it's used right. If the first two episodes are any indication, it looks like each season will move in a linear fashion. But could they surprise us and jump around across the timeline? The possibility for time travel is there (though it might be a bit much for CBS to go very far with it). Also, can Chi McBride be in every television show? The man is awesome, and he's his usual fantastic self in Golden Boy as Clark's mentor and partner. It's nice to see Holt McCallany ( Lights Out ) back on TV as well.
Here's the thing about Clark: He's kind of a dick. His drive and determination are admirable, but he isn't exactly happy-fun-times to hang out with for an hour. But that's not necessarily a deal-breaker because Clark the Dick is the character the show wants to explore. He's not a nice guy, but we're supposed to root for him anyway. And because we spend time in the future we know the fates of some of the characters in the past. Depending on your particular tastes, that could ruin the surprise. Aside from the gimmick and a larger focus on character, Golden Boy is fairly standard as far as police procedurals go.
This is one to keep an eye on, so if you're a fan of the genre, give it a look with medium expectations. At worst, it's a decent network procedural that echoes Southland but in the Big Apple. At best, it uses its time-jumping technique to great effect and really brings its characters to life, possibly reshaping the police drama.
Vodka. Rocks. And be mean about it.
Golden Boy premieres Tuesday, February 26 at 10pm on CBS.