The Defenders was all over the place this week.
The episode started off with a serious tone by introducing an emotional father asking for Nick and Pete’s help in defending his son. Instead of jumping onto the boat of dislike, I wanted to review the show as if it were more of a drama than a comedy. Can it still be a good show this way?
For one, Pete and Nick defended guilty clients. The main one, James Rodgers, knew that the men he drove to the diner were there to collect a debt. It was Nick’s job to persuade the jury that he might not have been aware of this fact.
The lack of belief on Pete and Nick's end was interesting to note. It showed that even though they knew he wasn’t telling the whole truth, they had to find a way to defend him. That is their job, of course.Another good part was that most of the episode took place in the courtroom. This is where the most dramatic action occurs in a law show and Nick didn’t disappoint. The witnesses and cross examinations were fun to watch, as Nick and the DA attempted to best each other in order to win.
As much as I was trying to enjoy a serious episode, I found the smaller side case about the stolen Elvis shoes a little boring. Now, if this case set the tone for the episode, I might have a different view and found the campiness all in good fun. However, it felt more like it was awkwardly interrupting the Rodgers' case.
Finally, while I’ve wanted to see witty and fun endings, this one just seemed weird. The look-a-like Marilyn Monroe singing to Nick was unnecessary and seemed to take away from the rest of the hour’s serious tone. I would have rather the show ended right before this scene.
However, of the humorous moments, I did enjoy Pete’s attempts to flirt with the female DA. That hand she puts up to his mouth to stop his kiss made me laugh. He was shocked she didn’t take his advances. Pete is certainly outgoing in all his endeavors and brings a vibrancy and youth to his work.
Unfortunately, the moments in the show felt jumbled and misplaced from the cold opener to the final scene. It was as if there were a bunch of ideas between writers, but no one wanted to budge on leaving aspects out.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I think The Defenders needs to pick its niche and stick with it. Granted, a more dramatic take on cases could work for the show. Plus, humor could be mixed throughout. It certainly works in shows like Grey’s Anatomy.
But the series would be better suited to fall under the category of a lighthearted and comedic take on the lawyer procedural. Both Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell’s strengths lie in their charm, humor, and wit. This fun charisma can be brought effectively to the program, especially with these two behind the wheel.
This was another average episode and whatever path the show chooses, I’m hoping the show runners can steer us in the right direction.
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.