‘The Whole Truth’ (ABC – Wednesday, 10:00 p.m.)

This unique legal drama chronicles the way a case is built from the perspective of both the defense and prosecution. Showing each side equally keeps the audience guessing, shifting allegiances and opinions on guilt or innocence until the very final scene.

Kathryn Peale, the product of a New England background and a sheriff father, is the Deputy Bureau Chief in the New York State District Attorney’s office. Jimmy Brogan, born and raised in Hell’s Kitchen and a friend of Kathryn’s since their days at Yale Law School, is one of New York’s rising criminal attorney stars. Buoyed by their respective teams, these evenly matched lawyers—each with a strong streak of competitiveness, a fervent belief in their clients and an equally intense passion for the law go about creating two different stories from the same set of facts. As this up-close, behind-the-scenes look at the legal process mirrors the excitement of a championship match, it becomes evident that truth has nothing to do with innocence or guilt—at the end of every trial, the only thing that matters is what the jury believes. – ABC

The Preview (Originally posted on 9/15/2010):

Shawn:     “A totally new kind of legal drama!”  Really, ABC?  Sorry, but not quite.

So, yeah,  I admit it.  Occasionally I read other reviews before I post if for no other reason than to see if the pros caught the same thing about a particular show that I did.  This certainly was the “case” with The Whole Truth, because this time, I knew that I had seen this show before but I just couldn’t put my finger on where and I was hoping that someone’s review would ring the proverbial bell for me.  That’s when I came across this from Paige Wiser from the The Chicago Sun and it all fell into place:

There’s no skimping on the sordid and blunt evidence, but the cases are absorbing. And unlike “Law & Order,” which had a way of leaving us hanging, we do learn the “whole truth” by the end of each episode. You can’t put a price on closure.

That’s it!  The multiple perspectives AND the big reveal at the end of the episode explaining what really happened… it’s Jerry Bruckheimer’s 2006 flop, Justice!  So, apparently, Jerry is just recycling old projects and hoping that no one will notice.  Regardless, I was one of the folks who really did like Justice, despite it lasting only 13 episodes.  Like Justice, The Whole Truth has a very strong ensemble cast and appears to be pretty compelling.  That being said, I am a little irked by the main premise of this show which is going to stick in my craw every episode:  are we really supposed to believe that the same defense attorney and A.D.A. are going to be adversaries EVERY week in EVERY case… in New York City ??? Seriously, are these the only two lawyers in town?  Jerry Bruckheimer plus the fact that it’s Justice recycled are the only two reasons that I am in the category of “reluctantly” watching the pilot.

The Review:

5 out of 10

I hate doing this but… meh. TWT was exactly what thought it would be: a Jerry Bruckheimer production of a former Jerry Bruckheimer production, namely, Justice. The two shows are nearly identical to each other in structure and formula. The only real difference is the added perspective of the prosecution and the bitterly annoying main characters who, as noted, are long-time friends and it’s implied that they had a romantic relationship at one point. They threw that in for tension at the end of the pilot and quite frankly I really don’t care about that aspect of the storyline because it is about as compelling as the past romantic relationship between Jerry and Elaine mentioned every now and then on Seinfeld.

TWT is nothing more than a typical formulaic procedural and to make matters worse, as noted, it’s a recycled show that didn’t work the first time and what really is a bad harbinger for TWT is that it’s nowhere near as good as its predecessor.

None of the characters are particularly interesting and they all are “roll-your-eyes” clichéd. Brogan is the stereotypical, “man-of-the-people,” working-class defense lawyer who, when he’s not discussing pro basketball with transexuals while standing in line to get a pastrami sandwich in a deli, he’s shooting hoops in his office to while going over case strategy with his associates. Oh… I almost forgot… he’s so hip that he wears $1,200.00 suits to court with red tennis shows…. *sigh.*

Peale is the polar opposite of her long-time friend. She’s a conservative, tough as nails, hard-nosed prosecutor who only wears sensible shoes and would never be caught in red tennis shoes… or talking basketball with transsexuals in delis. In order to clear her mind and figure out case-strategy, she likes to drag her colleagues down to the pistol range to fire off a few rounds… *sigh.*

I must say that as boring and contrived as these characters are, what makes them far more annoying is that they are calling each other every five minutes to taunt each other with whatever new piece of evidence or information they have that hurts the other’s case.

Wha… are you kidding me?

What the producers are doing is trying to capitalize on the fact that all evidence has to be shared with both sides. The are playing fast and loose with discovery and it’s just ridiculous. Despite what’s portrayed on TWT, there IS a legal process for discovery spelled out in every jurisdiction’s rules of procedure. You don’t just start calling the opposition and give them a heads-up on every new piece evidence or witness you just were made aware of and you sure as hell don’t tip your hand on strategy. The whole thing is just nonsense.

All in all, despite how weak TWT is, it’s not a horrible show by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s just not very good either. If you like this kind of safe, semi-compelling legal procedural, you’ll probably be pretty comfortable with TWT (and you’ll probably hate my review of Law & Order: Los Angeles, as well).

But if that’s the case you’re going to be pretty disappointed because it’s unlikely that TWT is long for the prime-time lineup. It is currently the lowest rated show on ABC and it’s not getting better.

The truth is that I wouldn’t recommending committing to The Whole Truth.

Watch full episodes of The Whole Truth, here.

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About The Anti-Nerdist

Originally from Rochester, New York and has lived in Las Vegas, Nevada since 2003. Aside from being a huge fan of movies and television, he's a huge fan of Sci-Fi and in particular, Star Trek.
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