The Deep End Review: "Where There's Smoke"
Remember the first episode of Grey's Anatomy? Viewers were introduced to a hard-working, albeit troubled, main character via two major developments:
First, she slept with a guy she met at a bar. Second, her mother was revealed to have Alzheimer's. Boom! We were quickly taken inside this aspiring doctor's world, sympathized with her and eventually got to know other characters through her.
We make this comparison because The Deep End is clearly an attempt to emulate the show that proceeds it on Thursday nights, yet it's missing that key Grey's element. It's failed, through two episodes, to really introduce viewers to anyone at Sterling Law.
While "Where There's Smoke" was an improvement over last week's pilot, it made the same mistake: it spread its time equally among each character, failing to create any first-year associate that's more than a composite of some shallow stereotype.
Dylan? He's the nice guy many women wish they had met before sleeping with the wrong person and messing up their lives.
Addy? She's the naive hard-worker that always means well.
Beth? She's the pretty girl with daddy issues.
Liam? He's a ladies' man that is just looking for true love and having fun until he finds out.
Do we really know anything else about any of these characters?
There seems to be promise in the idea that Liam waited until he was 18 for his first kiss, considered it to be incredible and has been trying to top it ever since. But will we learn more than that? Was it only a kiss? Did this first love die? Before setting up every woman in the firm to make out with him, and before planting major seeds for a relationship between him and Beth, it would have been nice to delve deeper into this storyline.
The same goes for Beth and her father. The latter seems like a complete caricature at the moment. He's your basic strict father and bad role model of a lawyer. He's showed zero signs of humanity through two episodes.
Again, it would have been preferable for the show to drag this relationship out further, perhaps show us how much Beth at least admires her dad in the courtroom, before dropping the bombshell that he's actually a shady attorney.
The best character so far is Cliff. We feel like we actually know him a bit, as he's bottom line-oriented and disloyal to his wife, yet there were clear of regret after he told Susan about his affair. He's more than just a cheater, more than just a mean boss. The series has provided this one character with a couple layers, something it's failed to do for others.
There's still time to recover, though, and we're not giving up yet. Just give us solid cases that slowly bring out the traits of various lawyers, The Deep End. Don't go out of of your way to create unusual clients just so they can blatantly highlight the overall sketch of your characters (look, marijuana! See, Hart is a good guy! Addy is innocent, but strong when necessary!).
A few of our favorite The Deep End quotes from the episode:
Malcolm: It's all bong water under the bridge. | permalink
Katie: I'd rather stay in L.A.
Susan: I'd rather you hadn't slept with my husband. | permalink
Mr. Branford: You're fishing.
Beth: I prefer hunting. It seems less leisurely. | permalink
Cliff: I'm the knight in shining armor and you've reduced me to a guy in a suit showing spreadsheets. | permalink
Cliff: We are lawyers. We make stuff up all the time. | permalink