Is it possible to determine whether someone will choose the right path or the wrong one in order to secure a high ranking position? That's part of the premise behind the new CBS show "Golden Boy," which showcased one man's quest for success that could go either way in terms of story. It's too early to say if it's for better or worse.
"Golden Boy" followed how Walter Clark, Jr. (Theo James) quickly rose to the ranking of Police Commissioner in less than a decade. The story begins with Clark being interviewed about what led him to securing his ultimate dream job. Clark remembered how he received a faster than normal promotion after he went above and beyond in the line of duty. His rapid promotion to Homicide Detective angered a lot of people in his new department who were lining up to see him fail miserably. Clark was enamored of Detective Tony Arroyo (Kevin Alejandro) who was eager to put the new guy in his place, even if his partner Detective Deb McKenzie (Bonnie Somerville) didn't approve. Luckily, Clark had the support of his skeptical partner Detective Don Owen (Chi McBride) and his rebellious sister Agnes (Stella Maeve) to keep him in line. Will Clark be able to listen to the advice of those who care about him or will he give into his darkest desires for faster results?
In terms of questions, the show posed a few valuable ones, but the biggest one was whether the story could continue based on a flimsy premise of a morality tale. That part of the story did seem intriguing as it was part morality tale of how one cop who rose to the top in a questionably quick timeline. Was Walter a good cop or a bad one in the making? The show needed to keep the momentum going for the rest of the season by testing Walter's resolve and tempt him with offers of a promising future. The writers should also further examine Walter's past to give viewers a clearer understanding of the character to either root for him or be against him. Sadly, the rest of the story hasn't shown the same level of promise yet. The flashback scenes were mostly a mix of routine cop material that undercut the behind the scenes drama in Walter's department. There were hints of tension in the series premiere between Alejandro's Arroyo and McBride's Owen that wasn't fully explored just yet. Viewers should be intrigued by the strong rapport between Alejandro's snazzy cop and McBride's attitude driven cop that could go either way in terms of story. Future episodes need to fully examine what led them to be completely against each other in the first place. Will they kill each other or band together? It's hard to say. Only time will tell if that's the case for either option.
As for breakthrough performances, McBride and James led the pack as two very different partners who banded together when the chips were down. Sure, the idea of pairing the two actors together might seem more like a television version of "Lethal Weapon" without the foul language or violence. Despite some of the buddy cop stereotypes, James and McBride made it work nonetheless. James showed some promise a new leading man who had the looks of a matinee idol and the grit to be a strong screen presence. It's just a shame that the premiere didn't give him the chance to flex his full potential. McBride, on the other hand, has perfected playing the part of an irritated guy who did what he had to do to survive, even if it bugged him senselessly. Unfortunately, he hasn't found the right show to fully explore his potential. It's unclear whether "Golden Boy" will be the show to do it. Viewers will just have to wait and see as the season unfolds if CBS gives the show a true chance.
"Golden Boy" premieres on February 26th and airs Tuesdays at 10:00 PM on CBS before it moves to Fridays starting on March 8th.
Verdict: A show that had a unique premise, but it could also be considered a gimmick to disguise the fact that it was another routine cop show.
TV Score: 2.5 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)