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After a string of solid-on-arrival dramas, USA's "Common Law" has a ways to go to good
Warren Kole (left) and Michael Ealy star in USA's new 'Common Law.'
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By Rob Hedelt
YOU had to figure that
The network's new "Common Law" may eventually join other USA series like "Burn Notice," "White Collar," "Suits" and "Covert Affairs" in drawing viewers who appreciate interesting characters and episodic dramas. But just out of the chute, "Common Law" needs work.
While USA shows like "In Plain Sight" and "Royal Pains" found success with lead roles that connected with fans from the get-go, the pair in "Common Law" has a way to go.
The premise: Police partners Travis Marks and Wes Mitchell are head-butting police partners. They're good detectives but have been so combative--a gun was drawn in one argument--that their captain has sent them to couples counseling.
Unfortunately, the actors haven't found their groove.
Michael Ealy "Think Like a Man" does better as Marks, a cop who has relationship issues after being raised in a series of foster homes. He's forever having one-night stands, doesn't trust his partners and tries to use his looks and personality to cut corners wherever possible.
As his partner, Mitchell, Warren Kole ("Into the West") is the show's weak link. Yes, he's supposed to be the by-the-book, detail-obsessed detective fixated on stopping bad guys. But at least in the pilot, Kole is so milquetoast he barely registers, existing only as a foil for Ealy.
Whether it's "Lethal Weapon" or "The Odd Couple," a buddy comedy or buddy cop show works only if you've got two interesting characters as partners. So far, this one barely has 1.
Unlike all those other USA shows that seemed to have just the right actors playing the interesting characters, there's no lightning in this bottle so far. They might get there, but it'll take work.
Much better is the supporting cast, which includes the believable Jack McGee (the captain on "Rescue Me") as the detectives' boss, and the talented Sonya Walger as the therapist trying to help the pair.
It's worrisome that the show didn't arrive as fully formed as others on this network, which is regarded by many as the home of TV's most interesting dramas.
Rob Hedelt: 540/374-5415
WANT TO WATCH? What: "Common Law" When: Friday nights at 10 Where: USA