Monday, February 25, 2013

Golden Boy Is Golden

From its first hectic minute the new cop series Golden Boy proves it is a quality CBS production.
First there are the impeccable credentials: the executive producers include Greg Berlanti (Arrow), Nicholas Wooton (Prison Break) and Richard Shepard (Criminal Minds) who directed the first episode.
You can catch the premiere Tuesday February 26 on CTV (and CBS) at 10 p.m.
After a vicious shooting that leaves two New York beat cops bleeding and severely wounded the hour drama suddenly jumps seven years into the future where the one cop Walter William Clark Jr. (Theo James) is being shown his new office.
At 34 he has just been named New York city's youngest ever police commissioner and he inherits the desk of his most illustrious predecessor Theodore Roosevelt.
But there's one important detail: only 34 he's even younger than Roosevelt was. He's also considerably aged, battle scarred, really, from those initial shots of him as a cop.
And naturally we'll want to know why.
Walter is being interviewed by a reporter about his fact ascent and he naturally goes back to the jump to detective status caused when he saved the life of his partner during the shoot out.
Being attached to homicide isn't as easy as he figured. Others in the 39th Precinct figure he is a shallow show boater and are plotting to bring him down.
First he's attached to a senior partner who is two years away from retirement. Played beautifully by Chi McBride, Detective Don Owen is overweight, slow moving and definitely fine tuned to the political nuances of the job all of which initially escape Walter.
Look, we know where Walter is seven years from this initial look. But in the pilot he screws up and big time and must come to see Owen as a definite asset or he won't last long.
The pilot is brilliantly edited and shot on Manhattan streets. Technically it is outstanding and so far there's no hint it might turned into just another routine cops saga.
And I'm figuring this is why CBS picked it up --some veterans I still know at the old line U.S. networks are convinced the commercial webs must move to more adult fare. And Golden Boy certainly is more compelling than anything offered on CBS these days.
Certainly cliches abound in the depiction of the secondary characters including Kevin Alejandro as hot shot Detective Christian Arroyo and his sidekick Bonnie Somerville as Detective Deborah McKenzie.
Another cliche is the addition of Walter's troubled druggie sister Agnes (Stella Maeve) which shows us where Walter's drive comes from --a distinctly troubled family background.
I've seen the first two episodes and the action scenes are expertly built up to hook the audience. The premise of an older Clark reminiscing about key cases his younger self solved might prove tiring in the long run.
I'm still waiting for Clark and McBride to gel as the cop version of an Odd Couple but remember their first case together was the first time they were actually working as a team.
For CBS audiences who normally starch older it's going to take time to get used to the often careless philosophy of young Clark. He's clearly career driven and steps all over people around him.
But he's also not stupid. When (or if) he realizes he can learn from Owen then the plot twists could become more intriguing.'
Originally developed as a vehicle for Ryan Philippe, Golden Boy changed into an ensemble piece with his departure.
Wooton is quoted as calling it a "character-driven drama with mythology rather than a straight cop procedural."
But once TV critic has complained since we already know how Walter turns out to be commissioner might not this steal some of the thunder from the drama?
Since Clark has seven years of stories under his belt CBS obviously gives Golden Boy seven seasons of success?
First up there's the opposition to trounce including ABC's new show Body Of Proof and NBC's Smash. But CBS is providing strength with two powerful lead ins: NCIS at 8 and NCIS: Los Angeles at 9.
MY RATING: ***1/2

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