Is it possible to get what you want even when it comes with a price tag attached to it? What will you sacrifice to get to the top? What happens when you get caught doing something you normally wouldn't do? That's part of the premise behind CBS' new courtroom drama "Reckless," which had two very different lawyers seemingly having a lot more in common than either of them every expected. Sure, the premise has been done to some extent, but the show's darker tone and occasional moments of levity made it ideal for the summer television season.
"Reckless" followed two lawyers who enjoyed arguing against each other in courtrooms all around Charleston, South Carolina, but their legal rivalry hid a much stronger connection that neither were ready to explore. Roy Rayder (Cam Gigandet) who was a divorced father of two that recently became City Attorney with the help of his powerful former father-in-law Dec Fortnum (Gregory Harrison). Roy was the ultimate Southern gentleman who believed in working hard and being respectful when it was necessary. Sadly, he wasn't prepared for the arrival of Jamie Sawyer (Anna Wood) who originally hailed from Chicago and used her street smarts to get herself in and out of trouble. She managed to expose how a perfectly good murder suspect was completely railroaded into his arrest without any clear cut evidence. Jamie's hard charging approach also made her a target with some of the police officers, which led to a trumped up drug charge. Jamie and Roy were destined to be on opposing sides of a major court case involving the dismissal of disgraced cop Lee Anne Marcus (Georgina Haig) who was fired for engaging in inappropriate behavior with her fellow officers that included a group sex tape that was likely done under questionable circumstances. It appeared that her firing could be considered questionable depending on how the information was revealed to her boss. The case also had the potential to destroy the Charleston Police Department and exposed a lot of possible corruption. The biggest suspect was Detective Terry McCandless (Shawn Hatosy) who constantly abused his position to basically get away with everything. He harassed witnesses and arrested innocent people to secure convictions. Another possible suspect was Jamie's own boyfriend Preston Cruz (Adam Rodriguez). Cruz appeared to be a stand-up guy on the surface, but he appeared to be hiding a lot from his girlfriend. He made an unexpected appearance in erased footage from the sex tape and exposing the evidence could cause trouble for everyone involved. Will Roy and Jamie be able to put their differences along long enough to work together? Will they be able to realize that they might be better together than they are apart?
In terms of questions, the show posed quite a few, but the biggest one involved whether the two lead characters were going to give into their attractions as the show's multiple promos made it look like in the months leading to the series premiere. The promos promised a lot of steamy moments amongst all of the courtroom drama without totally verbalizing it, which they did deliver to some extent. It's just not with the leading characters as the commercials promised. Let's hope that the show plays their cards right before coming to a firm decision before pulling that plot trigger. Once it happens, there's no going back. If the show took too long, the idea of Roy and Jamie actually getting together might not even matter or be the final nail in the show's coffin. A perfect example would be "Moonlighting," which dragged out the idea of pairing off the main characters and didn't think about the follow-through after they consummated the on-screen relationship. Of course, there's also the idea of rushing the pairing to the point where the characters have to break-up a few dozen times before they can finally be together, which has been done on multiple shows; usually on the CW. Hopefully, this show will choose how to proceed beforehand and not make Roy and Jamie's potential pairing the central focus of the series. The premiere managed to give the season a perfect springboard in a long complicated case involving Haig's Lee Anne and her questionable firing. Sure, the premiere painted her in a unfavorable light in the episode's opening moments as she engaged in a very public hook-up with Hatosy's McCandless, but the show could've dragged on this public relations nightmare for at least another episode or two before plunging the entire cast headlong into this one case. Future episodes should spend some time developing Gigandet's Roy and Wood's Jamie as individual characters before getting viewers too invested in their on-screen pairing. Viewers need to be know about Roy's painful divorce and how Ann got involved with a cop that might not be as saintly as he appeared to be. Sure, the episode did make a few missteps in properly developing the series chief villain Detective McCandless into more than an egotistical stereotype who loved the power of his position a little too much. Hatosy made it fun to watch, but it would've been nice to at least let the character have one brief moment of guilt before he crossed another line. Only time will tell if that does get to happen.
As for breakout performances, Gigandet, Wood and Haig led the pack for very different reasons as their plots appeared to be the driving force in the premiere. Gigandet embodied Roy as a traditional character who loved to his job, but he also loved his two children more. He had one brief scene that demonstrated the character's sadness as he listened to a voicemail from them and he realized that he wasn't able to give them a hugh until his next scheduled visit with them. The moment was a welcome change of pace in the character's usually cool demeanor, which should happen a little more often to keep things interesting. He also had a believable rapport that was both friendly and filled with possibilities, but it's still too early to tell to determine whether their characters had the potential to go the distance on the show. Wood, on the other hand, had the challenging task of portraying the usually hard charging Jamie as someone full of a little too much attitude. She proved to be a compassionate lawyer who wasn't above stealing a photo to help her client, but she also made the character naive enough not to see her boyfriend's true colors. It's also nice to see Wood's Jamie develop a nice comfortable rapport with Rodriguez's Cruz, even though the pairing was doomed from the start. Wood's strongest scene came when the character explained her background to her client's girlfriend and how she could relate to her difficult circumstances. Haig had the more difficult task of making viewers sympathize with a character who was demonstrating some reckless behavior in the opening moments of the premiere and a few times afterwards. She designed Lee Anne to be a playful and sometimes spiteful character, but Haig made her relatable to viewers when she realized the existence of the sex tape. Haig made Lee Anne's look of shock and horror that the she might have been drugged because she had no memory of the tap being made. Let's hope that future episodes will continue to flesh out the character a little more before any judgments have been made on-screen and by viewers.
"Reckless" premiered on June 29th and airs Sundays at 9:00 PM on CBS.
Verdict: The show's premiere offered the right amount of sex, charm, courtroom drama and a little corruption on the side for good measure. Let's just hope that the show knows how to follow through on all of those plots as the season progresses.
TV Score: 3 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)