by GUEST CONTRIBUTOR Megan Haas (@meggh11)
Reviewing a cop show in 2013 – summer of 2013, nonetheless – isn’t exactly an entertaining task. It’s all been done before. The new shows are taking us back into a story that we’ve already seen, giving us a prequel or a retelling to differentiate it. The ones that are currently successful have a backbone to lean on. However, tonight on TNT, a series premiere of King & Maxwell aired telling the story of two private investigators operating underneath the police force and FBI in order to bring justice to those who need it. In translation, it’s a cop show.
Sean King (Jon Tenney, The Closer) and Michelle Maxwell (Rebecca Romijn, Eastwick) are retired from the secret service after each of them had something happen to the man they were supposed to be protecting. King’s man was killed and Maxwell’s man was kidnapped. Now, even though Sean King is also a lawyer, they are now private investigators. Tonight’s episode followed them as they tried to find who killed King’s friend Ted, and his link to suspected serial killer, Edgar Roy.
The show uses the typical format that we are all used to in every cop show. King and Maxwell track down many leads before Megan, a recently graduated law student, betrays them. This leads them to the actual killer, who is not Edgar Roy. However, because the show focuses on King and Maxwell, this duo knows more than the average cop. When a woman is killed and Maxwell is briefly blamed, she points out that if she had killed the woman there would be a pool of blood surrounding her, proving that she had been moved. Now, I don’t know about the other viewers there, but we’ve all seen enough cops shows to know that cops know this, especially ones investigating a high profile murder. There are moments throughout the episode that question the level of suspension of disbelief that the viewers have to do. This one is just the beginning.
However, with all this said, this show is still like the other successful cop shows out there. King and Maxwell have an obvious attraction – or connection – to each other, which is not defined in the pilot. King checks out Maxwell as we see her take a shower at his boathouse, which he points out. So either they are open with each other or they have an understanding. We might also just be placed in the middle of a story that has already begun. They have been partners for 12 months and have a sense of equality between them; however, Maxwell defines her position as a woman throughout the hour. Castle and Beckett, they are not; though this is only the pilot.
Also channeling our crime-fighting duo over on ABC’s Castle, they solve the case by figuring it out together. They finish each other’s sentences until the crime is solved. Sound familiar?
In addition, the opening credits of the show has an older theme to a cartoon skit which shows people running around doing what the real-life people of the show are about to do. So, basically Chuck, Law & Order, and Covert Affairs combined.
I could go on, but even though this is basically every cop show and a TNT instagram filter thrown into a blender, this show also can stand on its own. For a pilot, it was not as shaky as some other currently strong shows out there had. It had a purpose and did not spend 40-something minutes force-feeding you back-story.
The characters are strong. They know their place in both each other’s lives and the viewers’ lives. They can carry an episode and keep you entertained which might just freshen up the ole’ crime show stigma. King & Maxwell also has the well-known “will they won’t they” concept which television viewers are addicted to. Basically every show has an unresolved sexual tension between characters, and if they don’t, the viewers create it (am I right, Rizzoli & Isles fans?).
However, what is different about this show is that we don’t know if they did it or not. The show suggests that it can go either way. Maxwell is very comfortable around her partner to the extent of showering with the door open in his house and giving him a view of her naked back. But, while that has happened, she also talks about the men she had gone on dates with while she was in the secret service. Either way, there is something there and that will hook some viewers in.
Lastly, what is also different from the earlier shows is that this one follows the personal life of the characters. Although this has been done (Castle, Rizzoli & Isles, Covert Affairs, Bones, Chuck, etc.), the personal life breathes a fresh air to the viewers and their reasons for sticking around.
We’re at the end of the cop show trend, and this is just the fizzling out of the plots out there. Although washed up, cop shows are addicting. If this show can make it through its first season, it might have a life on TNT.