SYNOPSISStarring Emmy Award winner Jimmy Smits ("NYPD Blue," "The West Wing"), "Outlaw" is a new drama from executive producer John Eisendrath ("Alias," "Felicity," "Playmakers"). Cyrus Garza (Smits) is a U.S. Supreme Court justice who abruptly quits the high-level position. A playboy and a gambler, Garza had always adhered to a strict interpretation of the law until he realized the system he believed in was flawed. Now that he's quit the bench and returned to private practice, he's determined to represent "the little guy" and use his inside knowledge of the justice system to take on today's biggest legal cases -- and he's making plenty of powerful people unhappy along the way. Jesse Bradford ("The West Wing"), Carly Pope ("24"), Ellen Woglom ("Californication") and David Ramsey ("Dexter") also star. "Outlaw" is a Universal Media Studios production along with Conaco productions. Eisendrath is executive producer along with Terry George ("Hotel Rwanda," "Reservation Road"), Conan O'Brien, Jeff Ross and David Kissinger ("Andy Barker, P.I."). "Outlaw" is written by Eisendrath and directed by George.
IMAGE GALLERY & VIDEO PREIVEWS
REVIEWSPlease note that these reviews may contain spoilers.
|Randi Dertzo's Take|
|Jimmy Smits is back! I enjoyed his recent appearances in Dexter and I was looking forward in seeing him in a new series and I’m hoping this gets a better fate than his previous attempt (Cane).|
I really felt this pilot could easily be two hours. Although I enjoyed the story, I would’ve liked hearing more details on what motivated him to change the decision in the murder case at hand. Of course, all the elements are there to understand fully his decision but I felt they could’ve been more details. I would’ve also liked to see more of his eccentric gambling nights which ultimately got him into trouble. However, it seems that we will see more about this in future episodes.
However, all in all, it was an excellent pilot. I enjoyed it thoroughly and am looking forward to more in future episodes. You really believe Justice on how corrupt the justice system (enven at the Supreme Court level) has become. I also enjoyed the supporting characters in the pilot, especially rthe private investigator. She relentlessly nags her male colleague with sexy remarks on how he has the hots for her which puts a lighter tone to this drama.
The thing that scares me with this show’s success is its timeslot of Fridays @ 10pm. It seems that both NBC and CBS (with Blue Bloods) are gambling with new cop series so it will be interesting to see how it will unfold. If NBC were to put it somewhere else, I’d give it a full season rating but because it is on its current timeslot, I give it a limited success.
This added to the fact that NBC is going all over the place on Fridays, makes me wonder how a reality series, a news magazine and a new drama will do together…
The competition airing Fridays @ 10pm include a strip episode of Criminal Minds on /A\, 20/20 on ABC, The National on CBC and Blue Bloods on CBS/CTV.
|Rating: Limited success (Might survive a full season)|
|About Randi Dertzo|
I'm the founder of this website and I also owns ChannelCanada.com and Viewers.ca, a discussion forum about television in Canada.
|Steve Hatton's Take|
|Jimmy Smits fans are no doubt delighted to see him return to television and while I can’t say that his new show is of the same calibre of L.A. Law or The West Wing, the pilot for Outlaw is pretty decent nonetheless.
Smits is a brilliant actor and his talent shines through in this new NBC drama where he portrays Cyrus Garza, a Supreme Court justice who quits his job to spend more time fighting for the little guy. One of the working titles for the show was Rough Justice, which actually does a better job at describing the show. Outlaw creates the false impression that this is about a fugitive on the run.
But aside from that, the show does have a pretty well-written script. Cyrus comes off looking like a legal expert who can quote laws at any time as if they’re on the back of his hand. The premise is actually believable as we see how there is considerable pressure for Cyrus to send who he believes to be an innocent man to his death, or risk losing his job. He chooses the latter, but not without a dramatic exit and a big speech. He resigns before they have a chance to fire him.
The dialogue is pretty believable and the characters all seem real. He has a few people working for him, including a private investigator, Lucinda Pearl, played by Carly Pope. Lucinda is an unorthodox risk taker who keeps intimidating one of her co-workers, a Yale-educated lawyer named Eddie Franks (Jesse Bradford) with jokes and comments about how he has the hots for her.
Having said that, her character can also be a little over the top at times. This could be a problem down the line in future episodes, as even interesting characters can seem two dimensional over an extended period of time, if they keep repeating the same routine. Hopefully, by then, we will find out there is more to Lucinda than just sexual jokes.
If I had to choose one thing about the pilot that I didn’t like, it would have to be the whole misunderstanding where his law clerk Mereta Stockman (Ellen Woglom) overhears a small part of a conversation over an intercom and is led to believe that Cyrus only has three months left to live. This scene was totally unnecessary and only served to add an I Love Lucy type of silly sitcom element in what was, otherwise up until that point, a fairly solid dramatic script. The writers could have found another way to advance the plot in way that was less forced.
I also couldn’t help but notice that in spite of Cyrus’ transition from Supreme Court judge to average joe lawyer, his staff of employees remained unchanged. That seems a tad unrealistic.
Overall, I still think Outlaw is a pretty good show. The program is bound to connect with viewers for its fight for justice appeal and its smart dialogue. Its biggest obstacle may be the Friday night time slot, more than anything else, but I suspect it could survive the season anyway.
|Rating: Limited success (Might survive a full season)|
|About Steve Hatton|
Steve Hatton is a Montreal-based freelance writer and journalist who covers the television industry, including TV show reviews and media analysis. Steve has a blog called Brave New TV.