Saturday, September 2, 2006


For over ten years now (using the OJ Trial as the kickoff), a lot of attention has been given to the role that the media plays in a trial. "A case tried in the media" is a phrase I'm sure we've all heard.

The latest courtroom drama is using this fixation as their angle. 'Justice' will follow the law firm of Trott, Nicholson, Tuller, and Graves as they employ all the tactics at their disposal to sway public opinion in their favor before a jury is picked.

If 'Justice' is to be compared to any other show currently on air, it won't be 'Boston Legal' or some other legal series; it'll be 'House', a medical drama.

Think about it. It's all in the dynamic of the team. The leader, Ron Trott, is a genius in his field with a few personality quirks and individualistic traits. Unlike Dr. House, Trott enjoys being out in the public eye in order to sway and shape the opinion of his client before trial. But when it comes to the actual trial, he takes second chair. (Juries don't seem to like him....)

As for the other members of his team, there's a handsome young guy, a pretty young woman, and a black guy - just like the team on 'House'. Throw in a female antagonist - the hospital administrator for House, the host of 'American Crime' for Trott, - and all you're missing is the Dr. Watson/Wilson confidante and a cane.

It's a shame the show has such a bland title - 'Justice'. Zzzzzzz. And what's to keep the audience from thinking it's ABC's 'InJustice' brought back from the dead? I don't trust audiences. (And I liked 'InJustice' a lot, by the way. I wish somebody would bring it back, especially for Kyle MacLachlan's character of David Swain!)

Too bad Bruckheimer's crew couldn't find a title that evoked the law, the media and the relationship between the two. This generic title suggests nothing except outcomes in favor of their clients on a 'Perry Mason' scale.

'Justice' has a gimmick - each episode will end with a depiction of what really happened. (Earlier this year, 'InJustice' began with a depiction of what the jury believed to have happened.) With the first episode, I was expecting their client to be found guilty. Thirty years ago that would have been a shocker of an ending in TV. But it's been so overdone since then that the option that they did go with in this case was the twist I wasn't expecting. So it worked for me.

The producers apparently promised that some of the TNT&G clients will be guilty and shown to be so in that finale. I'd like to see one of their clients get found guilty and then the finale shows them to have been innocent after all. That'd be a nice twist.

'Justice' is fast-paced and full of style and flash. This doesn't mean that it lacks substance. Victor Garber's performance is what drives this show on such high energy. He's got a good team of actors as his partners, of whom I'm sure we'll learn more about as the series progresses.

For that Wednesday night timeslot, I'll be tuning in again to 'Justice' - at least for the next few weeks until 'Lost' returns on October 4th. I'd like to continue watching 'Justice' as well, (remember, I'm several steps behind the technological advances in life - I just have a VCR without even an A/B switch!), so I hope FOX brings it back after the baseball playoffs in a different timeslot.....

Now, let's get on with a few Toobworld issues from the pilot episode......

Although they didn't actually appear in this episode, Dominick Dunne and Robert Downey Jr. - at least their televersions - were mentioned as being involved in the fictional life of Ron Trott.

Trott planned to offer Dunne one of the defense spaces in the public seating area at the trial even though Dunne hates him (and probably for what he stands for). It was Trott's way of using the writer as a pawn in his attempts to make the public think the defense team had nothing to fear by Dunne's presence at the trial.

As for Downey, Trott claimed that he helped the actor out at one of his re-arrests at the Malibu sub-station for the Police Department. However, Downey was only identified as just "Downey". This gives the legal department an out should the actor ever raise an objection to the inference to his past, even if he really has been in a lot of trouble over the years.

When Ron Trott made an appearance before the reporters camped outside the home of his client, one of the TV stations represented there was KTML. Back in 1998, this L.A.-based TV station had a reporter named John Malone who was at the forefront in the coverage of the hole in the ozone layer that was fixated over the City of Angels. ("The Sky's On Fire")

Malone just happens to look exactly like Danny Tripp, the returning producer/director of NBS's late night comedy show 'Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip'. And over in the TV dimension for 'The West Wing', he also looks exactly like political advisor Josh Lyman.

Speaking of the 'West Wing' dimension, KTML is a TV station located in Smallville, Kansas there.

I'll be working out the kinks to another theory, one of "Relateeveety", in regards to firm partner Tom Nicholson, that's a bit off the wall, but it all depends on whether or not we ever get the chance to meet his parents in this show.

Hopefully we won't. And that way I can link the show to another classic TV legal drama from forty years ago, and one which I've been developing a wide-spanning link to many other TV series that reach back to the beginnings of the 20th Century.

But I'll keep that close to the vest for now. There's no way I can be forced to turn over that information... information.... information in Discovery right now!



Kristin said...

I actually *didn't* like it because of the ending. The death of this woman happened IDENTICALLY to the way the defense stated it had. Boring.

It would have been nice to not necessarily have a twist or shocker-type ending, but something a little more creative. My first thought is that it would have been cool, if it were still an accident, but the husband (or someone else) pushed her, making her hit the pool edge that first time. I don't know. *Anything* different from what the defense argued would have been more entertaining.

I will watch it again, only because "Lost" is not on until October. But I hope that they are a little more creative with the endings.

Victor Garber is great. He's worth watching, if nothing else.

Toby said...

I think it might have worked better had they made the defendent look guiltier. But like I said, I'm just glad they didn't go with the "He really DID do it!" scenario as to me that would have been expected by a jaded audience.

Thanks for writing, Kristin!