Airs: Mondays 10/9 C
Starring: Hayley Atwell, Merrin Dungey, Eddie Cahill, Shawn Ashmore
Reviewed by: Lori Twichell
FA Scorecard: D
Hayes Morrison (Hayley Atwell) is a problem child. Always acting out, she rebels against all levels of authority and loves to thumb her nose at anything that’s even remotely expected of her. Oh and did I mention that she is an adult? And the daughter of a former President? Yeah. There’s that little mix tossed in too. So she’s pretty much a Kardashian with political connections.
She’s also a really great investigator. So the bad girl needs to look good and some strings get pulled and other things get pushed and VOILA! There’s a new Convictions Integrity Unit with Hayes at the head. Basically, they look at convictions in the state and do their own investigations to see if folks were justly imprisoned. It’s a marketing/PR coup for Morrison – as everyone around her points out.
There are, of course, the typical snubbed co-workers, others who want nothing to do with her, and a few who are earnestly working to gain her approval and get into her good graces.
Let me pause here to say that I adore Hayley Atwell. I think she is a wonderful character actress and she can pull off so many different looks and attitudes, it’s stunning. I think she could seriously pull off Sydney Bristow 2.0 (Hey ABC, have you ever considered that?? Cause that would totally rock.) Unfortunately in this case, I think she’s the shining jewel in a really boring cardboard cutout play. I know, it’s harsh right?
The first episode, I couldn’t get past the bad girl thing because no one would give us a chance to get past it. Constant one -upping, pushing, and being rude and over the top made me really not like her character at all. Which is really okay in some cases. I think that’s what ABC wanted from us. The few human moments we caught with her mother were beautiful and heart wrenching. I could fee the agony because really, no matter who your parents are, we’ve all been in that situation. The jagged broken pieces that she holds together in some semblance of overbearing confidence were exquisite. There is a lot of potential there. But then seconds later we’re back to the entire plot shoving it down our throats that she’s really obnoxious and we aren’t supposed to like her. We get it. This woman is not Agent Carter. Deal with it.
The thing is, I’m willing to follow Hayley Atwell anywhere. And I’ve given it two episodes. But I’m just not on board for this one. Doesn’t work for me. The actors and the plot are all trying too hard to convince us of who she is. (And, as mentioned above, who she isn’t.) There were several jarring moments in the second episode where you could almost feel like it said “Mood swing” on the top of the script page.
Merrin Dungey is another favorite of mine. Whenever she’s front and center, she’s compelling. You can’t help but be drawn to what she’s doing and she brings a level of intensity to every character she plays. As with Atwell, it’s only flashes of what could be and then back to the ‘rest’ of the story which, in this case, has bored me more than entertained me.
So there it is. For me, at this point, the show is sitting at a D. And that makes me sad. Because again, I do enjoy Atwell’s acting. Her presence always seems to light up the screen – whether it’s a big screen or a small one. I just wish there was more imagination and depth to this one than a standard down the line procedural. I can be enticed to check it out again in the future, but it’s not going to be a must watch for me.