Notorious / Conviction
Aired on: ABC
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Previews of the new Fall 2016 season have been awesome, but with my busy schedule, how can I keep up with all these new shows while still keeping track of my old favorites. I just have to be selective. So when two new dramas were advertised on ABC – one featuring a view at the relationship between criminal law and the media and the other about a new Conviction Integrity Unit designed to examine cases in which the convictions are questionable – I had to check them out.
Airing on September 22, 2016, Notorious stars Piper Perabo as Julia George, a television producer who has an interesting relationship with criminal defense attorney Jake Gregorian (Daniel Sunjata). Based on the real life relationship between defense attorney Mark Geragos and Larry King Live producer Wendy Walker, the show focuses on how defense attorneys will often use news media to sway people’s opinions of their clients in their favor. The series features on one major crime – in this season it is the murder of a computer mogul’s wife , allegedly at the hands of her husband – with each episode containing another smaller case to solve.
As the characters attempt to figure out whether Oscar Keaton (Kevin Zegers) is responsible for his wife’s murder, they also have to track down behind the scenes characters offering anonymous leads. In addition to this, Gregorian must find a way to make his client look innocent without letting him know about his secret affair with his now dead wife. Meanwhile, they also find a way to solve the mystery of a missing child and reveal the notorious secret life of a beloved rock star and humanitarian.
Airing on October 3, 2016, Conviction stars Hayley Atwell as Hayes Morrison, daughter of a former United States President, whose once promising career as an attorney has spiraled into disaster thanks to her partying lifestyle. Caught with a large quantity of cocaine, Hayes is blackmailed by the NYC District Attorney (Eddie Cahill) and her own mother (Bess Armstrong) into heading up a new unit made up of a top lawyer (Shawn Ashmore), a former NYPD detective (Merrin Dungey), a paralegal with a painful past (Emily Kinney) and a former convict (Manny Montana). The goal of the Conviction Integrity Unit is to investigate cases in which there is a question about the conviction, discover whether the wrong person may have been convicted of a crime and determine a way to reverse said conviction.
In the pilot episode, the group takes on a murder case in which a young athlete (Maurice Williams) has been convicted of murdering his girlfriend. As the team looks into the case, Hayes struggles with being forced into a role she never wanted – a role as a leader and mentor. But she eventually warms to the idea of overturning sketchy convictions and helping the wrongfully accused regain their freedom.
So, will I continue watching either television series. Well, for some reason, I’m still watching a rather stale Grey’s Anatomy, so it made sense to just keep watching ABC to see the next show, Notorious, right? But I started noticing that I was taking out my book to read during the show…or even falling asleep. I can’t seem to care about the characters and I find the storyline to be a little over the top. Can I believe that lawyers manipulate media to make their clients look better? Of course I can, but do I believe that this many stories at once? Not quite. The fact of the matter is that I have found something better to watch on Thursdays in Pitch and so I will not be staring glued to ABC on Thursdays at 9pm EST.
On the other hand, I found Conviction quite intriguing. First, I found many a familiar and well-liked actor on this show: former Agent Carter actress Hayley Atwell is incredibly believable in this role; I loved Shawn Ashmore in The Following and was hoping he’d get another interesting role, even if it is somewhat of a foil to the lead character; it’s nice to see Emily Kinney in a role that doesn’t require her to run from zombies ala The Walking Dead; I’ve enjoyed multiple series that Merrin Dungey has been in, including King of Queens and Once Upon A Time and I like her as a cop struggling with her new role.
I’m absolutely invested in these characters and look forward to new revelations about their pasts. I also look forward to solving new cases with them. This last overturned conviction was intriguing, but will all the CIU’s cases be ones that can be overturned? Will there be cases in which the conviction was just? I can’t wait to find out and so, I will be sitting front and center watching ABC on Monday nights at 10pm EST to watch Conviction.