Conviction (2016) : Season 1
Ever since television became the mainstay of home entertainment, a few genres have always had representation in every network seasonal lineup. The most popular undeniably, medical shows, sitcoms police procedures and legal dramas. Understandably, within the genre of legal, there are several natural subdivisions, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and corporate lawyers. Recently, the ABC traditional broadcast network decided to attempt a slightly different within series ‘Conviction.' This is not to be confused by the legal drama of the same name there was a very short-lived spinoff of Dick Wolf’s ‘expansive Law & Order’ franchise. This series built upon a simple premise that calls for the combination of several major types of TV shows that would blend detectives, police officers several typical lawyer tropes into a single unit. Before proceeding with this consideration of the show, it should be noted that the experiment was ultimately a failure. Cancelled after a cliffhanger in the 13th episode the series did have the potential that will forever go unrealized. This makes it a strong contender for the somewhat lamentable category of ‘cancelled before it's time.' It did have several factors going for it such as an underlying theme capable of providing a reasonably diverse pool of prospective storylines. It contained a running plot line serves as a backbone for much of the character development and a stable source of ancillary drama. Perhaps most importantly, the casting director managed to secure the services several actors who have become associated with extremely popular shoulder franchises including one of their primary parent company, Disney Studio, one of the most successful franchises in the history, the MCU. Unfortunately, even ran a project to contain so many positive elements something best called anti-synergy can occur. When the sum of the parts turns out to be less than each constituent component the result is usually disappointing. Arguably the effect on the audience is intensified since the individual active elements have contributed to the success of others series and films. Under the old paradigm of home entertainment, this series would be lost among the myriad of single-season wonders existing only in the memories of its fan base.
Hayes Morrison (Hayley Atwell) is a young woman in the unblinking spotlight of the media. Initially gaining attention as the rebellious first daughter of the then incumbent president, Hayes had become known for wildly unpredictable behavior that almost inevitably resulted in something embarrassing for parents to contend. As an adult, she leveraged her connections to get into some of the finest schools after which her innate intelligence gained her prestigious, well earned degrees. It quickly became one of the best defense attorneys on the legal scene recognized for securing high profile successes and behavior that continue to fuel tabloid headlines. Was about to face some exceptionally severe repercussions including the penalties for possession of drugs. After being caught in a cocaine bust by the police, Hayes was about to go through the legal system that inevitably ended her incarceration. At the last moment, a lifeline is thrown to Hayes by a former friend, and past lover, Conner Wallace (Eddie Cahill), the New York County District Attorney. He had just created a new functional unit for the Atty. Gen.’s office, The Convictions Integrity Unit, More Commonly Known as the CIU. Wallace promised that if Hayes assumed the responsibility of the head of the unit the cocaine charges would disappear. There is one aspect of Hayes’s personality that dominates her character; she must always be in control and have the last word on any subject. Even though she was in a position almost no leverage whatsoever she still had her commands before accepting the offer. She would get to pick what cases are unit would investigate, and her selection would be unconditional and not subject to review by the District Attorney’s Office.
Hayes is introduced to her team that exhibits the usual assortment of familiar archetypes. Sam Spencer (Shawn Ashmore), an assistant district attorney with a promising career initially told he would be the head of the CIU. He remained on as Hayes’s first assistant particular that much of her reputation was true and she would soon fail at the job which then becomes his. Maxine Bohen (Merrin Dungey), a former detective for the New York Police Department serves as the unit’s official investigator. She is the most grounded of all the team usually untouched by the emotional connections each of their cases inevitably brings up. An ex-con with a scientific information and imaginative mind, Frankie" Cruz (Manny Montana) is the unit forensic investigator/technician. It’s up to him to re-create the circumstances of the case being investigated to see if he accepted assumptions are plausible. Finally, there’s Tess Larson (Emily Kinney), who despite having gained her law degree lacks the confidence to pass the bar exam. She has the requisite cute young woman was petite and unassuming, yet she will is tenacious friendship believe something is right.
This is a nicely diverse and recognizable cast taking on Monday and recognizable characters. Hayley Atwell has secured a place in the almost cinematic universe and the role of Peggy Carter, contemporary of Captain America. For two seasons she started her series utilizing that persona also on ABC, ‘Agent Carter.' It only lasted two seasons which is still on-call to reprise the role in both films and occasionally on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ she is not only an accident actors commanding a range of emotions she is also an excellent role model for girls and young women in the audience. She is not one of that cookie-cutter; size zero actresses that present an unhealthy and unattainable standard of beauty. She is a beautiful, talented woman looks like an adult woman should, healthy. When contrasted with the diminutive appearance of Emily Kinney, who comes across as barely an adult. Eddie Cahill has been a recognizable face on television predominately for his long-running stint on ‘CSI: New York. Shawn Ashmore was most recently on the Fox thriller, ‘The Following’ but is best known for his work as Bobby Drake/Iceman in Sony’s X-Men franchise. Might also recognize his twin brother Arron for his many television shows was in such major science fiction television shows as/’Smallville’, Warehouse 13’and ‘Killjoys.' The Ashmore brothers together all very well known by the audience. The cast like this there were certain that this new series would attract considerable media attention growing up the reasonably sizable audience.
The format for each episode employed a plot setup that left the audience with an artificial sense of time running out. After Hayes determines that a case may have been mishandled or unfairly adjudicated she informs the DA that she is going to undertake the investigation. Because of the plot contrivance, a team has only five days to investigate a cold case that was already closed. There is an unreasonably short period and managed to contact an inordinate amount of witnesses was to remember details inevitably find some flaw in either the evidence or the legal procedures. This typically results in the verdict overturning vierdicy allowing an innocent man to be released from prison. In real life, a unit such as this would most likely never occur due to the exposure to wrongful imprisonment civil suits that would quickly devastate the city’s financial resources. One of the most dramatic cases the man who was released was an unrepentant monster, a serial killer that was sure to resume increasing his body count. When Spencer bends the legal proceedings just short of a breaking point, he frames a murderer of a crime returning him to prison. He had wanted to take the job to correct mistakes and free the innocent but winds up abandoning his moral high ground and surrendering to the temptation of illegal shortcuts gripping both the system and his moral compass. It may have been for the greater good, but it was at the cost of his moral high ground.
There was a sufficient diversity among the cases each week to provide a reasonable and sensible a variety not commonly found in many the legal dramas. The success of the series hinged on the delicate balance between ongoing development and some very soap opera -like plot lines as a foundation for the case of the. Naturally, the sexual tension between Hayes and Connor is palpable from beginning. Hayes has a reputation as someone who enjoys partying. Best known for her ability to elude the Secret Service detail assigned to her why she was the first daughter. Since then she is constantly in the headlines because of the high profile cases she tended to accept in a frequently reckless abandon that seems to define her personal life. The only stabilizing influence in life is so brother, Jackson (Daniel Franzese). They have an exceptionally robust and loving sibling bond, and when Hayes is about to go completely off the rails, Jackson is the only one who can bring her back to reality. A colorful personal life has always been a source of consternation for her parents, former President Ted Morrison (Martin Donovan) and her mother Harper (Bess Armstrong). I had strong attitude and penchant for trouble optically annoying now that her mother is actively entered politics and is currently running for US Senator. I am reasonably confident that given another season the showrunner would have been able to bring the various aspects of the series together presenting a stronger more cohesive narrative voice. Thankfully the series is still available on streaming services such as Amazon Prime and Vudu as it is unlikely ever to find its way to DVD.