TV Review - The Firm (2012)

This series premiered opposite CBS' The Good Wife and drew obvious comparisons because it too is a lawyer show with its various cases of the week. This show is focused on murder cases mostly unlike The Good Wife, which deals with all kinds of cases, both criminal and civil. Aside from those diverse and interesting cases, The Good Wife succeeds in having even more diverse and even more interesting characters. The Firm (2012) has the potential to succeed on those same terms, but, instead of a current of political intrigue, The Firm surfs on a wave of mob revenge-thriller.

Josh Lucas was recently seen in The Lincoln Lawyer, a movie that in certain ways became a revenge thriller. That 2011 film was based on a book by Michael Connelly. Lucas goes from one author of courtroom dramas to another. John Grisham's novel of the same name is the basis for this series. The novel was adapted to a film in 1993, starring Tom Cruise. This series could be considered a sequel, since it picks up 10 years after the movie ends, continuing also Grisham's interest in the mafia.

Seeing the movie or even reading the book is not a prerequisite. Lucas doesn't even look like Cruise. He's taller and has way bluer eyes. His character of Mitch McDeere is still a good lawyer, but now he's got three things going on. The first is that Mitch's wife, Abby, and daughter are all formerly of the witness protection program. The second is that Mitch has a small practice consisting of his brother Ray, a former convict-turned-private investigator, and his assistant Tammy, a sassy but sensitive paralegal. The third thing going on is a law firm, known as Kinross & Clark, that's courting him and coming on really strong.

The reason that Mitch thinks Kinross & Clark are coming on so strong is because he has a medical malpractice suit that could be worth a lot of money. Mitch realizes that but knows his rag tag practice doesn't have the real resources to pursue it. He needs the firm, if he's going to win it. Yet, Kinross & Clark isn't interested in the money. The firm is interested in Mitch's client, Sarah Holt, as well as secrets that she may know, secrets that could implicate the firm in capital crimes.

What those crimes are and whether Sarah knows them propels a sense of mystery that can keep an audience. The fact that screenwriter and series creator Lukas Reiter injects a good dose of action certainly sets it apart from The Good Wife. For example, the opening of the first episode is a chase scene through Washington, DC. The following episode is another chase kicked off with a jump from a very high hotel balcony. This energy and adrenaline will also help to keep an audience.

The two aforementioned chase scenes involved Mitch running from guys presumably trying to kill him. Unlike other lawyer shows, the main characters are never in constant danger. Here, Mitch is in constant danger but Reiter breaks it up with flashbacks. The flashbacks center on a different case that Mitch litigates. It's interesting to see Mitch, Abby who is an elementary school teacher, Ray and Tammy be this little band working together to solve these cases.

Yet, any lawyer show is ultimately judged on its cases, and the first couple of cases that Mitch and his small band grapple are really compelling. It bodes well for the future of this series.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-14.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Thursdays at 10PM on NBC.


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