TV Review - Conviction (2016)

This series has a slightly different angle but in reality it's a police and legal procedural like most others. The different angle is that people investigate cases that have already been tried and convicted. The premise being is that a lot of those cases have put the wrong people behind bars, which is a truism to a degree. Yet, the way the show goes about it is no different from other shows that are about the initial charge and trial of any particular crime be it rape, murder or anything else.

Created by Liz Friedlander who directed shows on the CW, as well as CBS' Stalker, and also by Liz Friedman who wrote for House, the series feels like those procedural programs. It has the format of Stalker and House. It leans more toward House but set not in a hospital and not centered around a male character but a female one.

Hayley Atwell (The Pillars of the Earth and Agent Carter) stars as Hayes Morrison, the daughter of the previous U.S. President who used to be a defense attorney and a law professor. She gets hired to the District Attorney's office to be the leader of a unit that looks into possible, wrong convictions. Yet, she's a coke addict and somewhat promiscuous. In that regard, Hayes is like the protagonist of House as well as the other show Friedman wrote, Elementary, which was about a drug-addicted Sherlock Holmes.

Like House or Stalker, she of course has a team that helps her. None of them are interesting with the exception of Manny Montana who plays Frankie Cruz, a Latino forensics expert who used to be in jail but now works to free wrongly convicted people. Of the first two episodes, it's hinted that Manny is gay and has a relationship with a guy still in prison, and now wants to free him.

The series has only hinted at this though. If the series has a full season, it seems likely that it will pull the trigger on this storyline and devote an episode to Manny getting Hayes and the team to help him free his gay lover in prison. It probably won't be as compelling as the same storyline in HBO's Oz between Tobias Beecher and Chris Keller, played by Lee Tergesen and Christopher Meloni.

I'll be curious to see that episode, but it will probably be a one-off and never followed up. As such, it will leave this series otherwise as another lame procedural.

Two Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-PG-VL.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Mondays at 10PM on ABC.


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