I’m really not sure where to begin. There are things I liked, things I was confused by, and things I flat-out hated. I can’t say I liked the show and I can’t say I didn’t like the show. I guess I will say the jury is still out (pardon the pun.) I think I need to see a few more episodes to make a proper assessment.
Harry’s Law is about a patent lawyer, Harriet Korn (played by the wonderful Kathy Bates) who decides to tell her boss that she is totally bored with patent law and is frustrated with her job. Apparently for the last month, her work hasn’t been up to snuff. So he promptly fires her while she is watching Yosemite Sam on TV and smoking pot. This was one of the aspects I was confused by. You have the best patent lawyer in Ohio who was at your firm for 30+ years. She has one bad month and is a little disgruntled so instead of talking with her about her attitude and seeing if you can come to a compromise, you just fire her? Does that make any sense? At least when Ally McBeal left her big firm for Richard’s, it was for a good reason (sexual harassment from her boss.) After leaving her firm, in a matter of a few hours, a suicide jumper drops on top of her sending her to the hospital with no injuries and a patent lawyer foe hits her with his car sending to the same hospital with again, no injuries. In the same neighborhood, where she was almost killed twice in one day, she finds an abandoned shoe store that she decides to convert into her new law firm with her assistant, Jenna (played by Brittany Snow.) The suicide jumper, Malcolm (played by Aml Ameen) comes to see her and asks her to defend him against a 3rd time drug charge. He’s going to school and knows he has a problem and needs help but he didn’t want to go to jail and that’s why he jumped. Meanwhile, the patent foe, Adam (played by Nathan Corddry) has decided to leave his cushy job at a firm to join forces with Harry. This was another confusing part for me. Why would you leave a job where you are most likely making $175,000-$300,000 a year to join a firm where the partner can’t afford to pay you, just so you can learn from her? Ok. Then comes Damien (played by Johnny Ray Gill) who is the local thug who does “security” for the local businesses for a price. Basically, he threatens them by saying if they don’t pay him to keep them safe, bad things will happen to them. Nice guy. Harry turns the tables on him though by saying he will keep them safe and she will give him free legal representation when he will need it. And it doesn’t take long when he is arrested for shooting someone. This is our main cast for the show.
There are 2 cases going on, Malcolm’s and Damien’s. I guess I am supposed to feel sympathy for both of these kids but I can’t. I just met these characters tonight. If I have any empathy it’s for Malcolm who I assume is a good kid because he is going to be a regular on the show and work as a paralegal in her firm. And he seemed genuinely concerned about finishing school and getting help for his drug addiction. Damien I have no sympathy for. He’s a thug who goes around threatening people to get what he wants and not 5 minutes later in the show, he’s involved in a shooting at one of the local businesses. I have to say, I love the way Harry put him in his place and showed that a punk like him isn’t going to scare her. But she also showed her compassion by saying that if he doesn’t protect the firm, she will defend him for free. When we get into the individual cases is when I get to the part of the show I hated. In Malcolm’s case, the prosecutor is in the middle of cross-examining Malcolm and when he asks a question Harry doesn’t like, she announces her opposing opinion in the middle of the cross. And instead of objecting, the prosecutor gets into it with her and they start to debate the issue of legalizing drugs (oh and bashing Republicans)…IN THE MIDDLE OF A CROSS EXAMINATION AND THE JUDGE DOES NOTHING! Seriously? So I guess this was David E Kelley soap box time instead of Harry’s Law time. And after the spirited debate, the judge asks Malcolm to step down. Guess he’s not getting questioned after all. In regards to Damien’s case, we learn that yes he has an illegal weapon (because it isn’t registered) and runs a shady “security” business but he does it to protect the people in a neighborhood that the cops ignore. So he’s a nice criminal. When Adam goes to his arraignment, he only needs to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty….that’s it. Instead, it’s liberal soap box time again and we get a 5 minute rant on how no one cares about poor people. Finally the judge has had enough and asks for the plea, which he enters not guilty. Damien is pumped because no one has ever fought for him like that before and Adam is able to get a plea deal.
I hate talking politics. Especially when it comes to a fun TV blog. But when a show runner forces my hand, I have to comment on it. As I have mentioned on this blog before, I HATE when writers and show runners use their show to vocalize their side of the political spectrum instead of focusing on what I as a TV viewer want and that is entertainment, not propaganda. If David E Kelley wants to vocalize his belief system, fine. Then do a show about lobbyists or congressmen and women or campaign managers trying to get candidates elected. Then those kinds of monologues that Harry and Adam had would make perfect sense. I don’t purport myself to be a Republican or Democrat because I have beliefs on both sides of the aisle…just depends on the topic. So I don’t care what the view-point is. What I do care about is having one of my TV characters going all Keith Olbermann or Glenn Beck on me in the middle of my show. And if this is what Harry’s Law is going to be about, a platform for Kelley to spew his political agenda on my TV screen, especially in a way that disrupts the flow of the show, I won’t be watching anymore. I guess what bothers me, is that he could have interjected those views about drugs and the poor in a very simple and believable way in the courtroom…during closing arguments. Not in the middle of a cross-examination and not at an arraignment. The way it came across was like “stop the show!!! David has a view-point he needs to get across here.” And once the stance was made, it was back to the show. Don’t you dare preach to me. I think this show has some potential but not if it’s going to be about using this show as a way to vocalize, quite blatantly, what he thinks the American public should be absorbing. For the love of God, the West Wing wasn’t even that preachy. That’s why I want to reserve judgement on the show until I watch a few more episodes. If it gets toned down or is inserted in a more subtle way or in a context that doesn’t take away from the characters, plot, or flow of the show, I’m ok. But if this continues, I won’t watch it ever again.
Having said all that, I do like Kathy Bates. I know there are some people who have an issue with her character but I don’t. She seems to be a complex person I want to learn more about. I find her to be tough, intelligent, honest, fearless, and no-nonsense. But I also see a softer side and a woman with a great heart and passion for her belief system. Also liked Jenna and Malcolm. Adam, I’m not sure about. He’s a little over the top for me and if he becomes a Kelley cartoon character, like some of his other characters in his shows have become, I won’t like him. But it’s still early. I’m not sure how I feel about the shoe store element. I reminds me a little of the show “Ed.” Ed had a law firm in a bowling alley and was referred to as a bowling alley lawyer. ”I own a bowling alley and I’m a lawyer. Two separate things” is how Ed used to always correct people. I think as a source of early revenue to help get her firm started, it’s not a bad idea. But if the show continues and Harry gets more established, I would be surprised to see the shoe element go away.
What did you think of Harry’s Law? Will you be tuning in again or checking it out if you haven’t yet? Let me know!