Now that Law & Order is off to greener pastures, there’s a void in the fall TV schedule for courtroom-drama aficionados. Enter: The Whole Truth. It’s basically your standard we’ll-finish-any-case-by-minute-59 procedural, with Maura Tierney and Rob Morrow playing rival lawyers almost always on opposite sides of the courtroom (Every courtroom. Seriously, are there no other lawyers in Manhattan?). In the pilot, a high school teacher was on trial for the murder of one of his ESL students. There were hate crime allegations, cell-phone sex tapes, and a reference to Clint Eastwood’s Magnum Force. Ah, where to begin?
Kathryn Pearle (Tierney) and Jimmy Brogan (Morrow) are also opposites in every other possible way. She’s a heartless workaholic (“I love the law. It is the only thing I’m good at.”) toiling tirelessly at the District Attorney’s office, while he’s a slacker-turned-cocky-defense-lawyer working for a successful Manhattan firm (whose offices contain a pool table). There was a lot of effort in establishing just how different these two are, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt hoping it’s all exposition for their eventual “opposites attract” romance (or a revelation of their previous one?).
For the first half hour, the chronology leading up to the trial repeated itself as we saw preparations for the case from both the prosecution and the defense.
I liked this approach, and the information obtained by each side led me to reevaluate my stance on the case, but it also had me wondering: Do the opposing sides in a major trial normally call one another back and forth with vague threats made up of bad puns involving the race of the victim? (Jimmy: “Your Virgin Mary is looking like a Hail Mary” What?).
Kathryn’s hard demeanor was difficult to take (she took her coworker to a shooting range to unwind, because that’s how tough these prosecutors are, people!), yet when Jimmy called her an “over-caffeinated grind doing the government’s dirty work,” I couldn’t help but laugh because he seemed as if he had just gulped down the contents of an entire Starbucks (and I know my caffeine intake). Yes, Morrow is cute and charming, but his Jimmy is like an overgrown child. Like when he attempted to prove he hadn’t sold out, he wore red sneakers to court along with three days’ worth of beard (not that I’m complaining). He’s also the guy who tosses around a plush mini basketball in meetings (a la Matthew McConaughey in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days), and he shouts out random pump-up phrases, which include: “Rock ‘n roll!” “Let’s rock it!” and the clear winner: “Mama mia that’s good pizza!”
The Whole Truth is an appealing option for those who can’t get enough twisted legal drama, or need something to fill the the 10 p.m. hour on Wednesdays. I wonder how this two-sides-to-every-story approach will hold up after a few episodes, though, and how long we’ll have to wait until we get to the juicy relationship. (I’m thinking that Jimmy and Kathryn were…married?)
Did you watch The Whole Truth? Does it have the potential to make it onto your list of favorite legal dramas? And were you happy to see Maura Tierney return to television? Sound off below!
To find out how The Whole Truth did in the ratings, check out Lynette Rice’s ratings report in Hollywood Insider.