by Megan Haas
Episode 1.02 begins highlighting the chemistry between Sean King and Michelle Maxwell. The chemistry is driving this show. The connection and balance that exists between King and Maxwell starts from the beginning and, unlike other shows, this series starts at the heart of their relationship. There isn’t a period where they start out hating each other as they’re first teamed up together. These characters have a history, but audiences have not seen it. We’re only dropped in the middle of their journey and are now just starting to watch. This is what will make this show successful on TNT.
Tonight’s episode followed King and Maxwell as Michelle is labeled as a suspect in a shooting against a visiting foreign politician, Nikoloz Arziani. The case reveals more backstory into Michelle’s past where she confronts a former acquaintance, Alena, who was raped by Arziani. Rebecca Romijn also reveals more about the character simply through the way she is playing her. The subtle glances and gestures reveal deeper into her personality. For example, after Arziani enters the boathouse, King and Maxwell’s home base, she sees him and is strong. She tells him why she is angry with him and why she can’t help him and he leaves. However, when he turns to leave the house, and his back is to her, she loosens and her face relaxes, as if she was afraid all along. Something happened that would make her do this, showing that she isn’t just the stoic, sarcastic character we were initially introduced to.
Although this is what the show is based around, if we all wanted to strictly watch the procedural aspect we would tune into Law & Order or actually become cops. The serious part of these procedural dramas is not what’s important. We like to see the relationship develop between two people. Having King & Maxwell well into the friendship phase and crossing into the questionably romantic stage, this speeds up and gives life to the familiar formula we’re all used to. Skipping over the “getting to know you” area of the relationship is bringing audiences exactly to where they need to be in order to enjoy the connection between Maxwell and King.
In order to develop this connection, King & Maxwell changes small idiosyncrasies that are forever common in procedural dramas. Instead of calling each other “King” and “Maxwell” every second of their lives, these characters are comfortable with calling each other by their first names. In other shows, this only happens when someone is on the verge of death or some action is about to occur that will greatly advance the romantic plot. King calls her Michelle, which adds to her femininity in a traditionally masculine profession. Maxwell also calls him Sean. By doing so, they are crossing a boundary, bringing them closer.
However, this show is extremely similar to other cop shows. Sean King is very much like Richard Castle on Castle. He is dorky and forgets things. He runs around without his gun that he left at home. Sean banters with Maxwell for most of the episode. But when things get serious, he knows where he is and what he needs to do. Michelle Maxwell is Kate Beckett, also on Castle, mixed with the spunk of Rizzoli from Rizzoli & Isles. Beckett isn’t as sarcastic as Maxwell can be and Rizzoli isn’t Kate Beckett. All three women have their individual traits, but Maxwell can be seen as a combination of them. These two types of characters work and it has been proven on years of previous success. Quirky meets serious and it balances.
Overall, this show can stand, as I have said before. This cop series will succeed because the “will-they-won’t-they” dynamic has worked for thousands of years and millions of stories before this one. On paper or on screen, people love to see people fall in love. And this will happen on this show, but quicker than other cop dramas. Expect to see King or Maxwell in danger in the future. One of them will be worried about their partner sooner rather than later. One will be seen longingly glancing towards the other or be put in a situation where they need to dress up and impress the other while doing so. Instead of being in a season one, King & Maxwell should be in season 3.