L.A.'s Finest Review: Fun but Not a Sure-fire Lure for New Customers

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Pilots only have a couple of jobs to do, and when they're not done or done poorly, a new series can lose its audience quickly.

In the case of the new Spectrum Originals series L.A.'s Finest, starring Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba, the pilot was barely functional.

Because I wanted to get some notes down, I stuck around until the bitter end despite my better judgment, and that's just when things got interesting. So, there is a plus side.

LA's Finest Duo - Tall

Union and Alba starring together in an offshoot of Bad Boys II sounds, at first, like a no-brainer. But the pilot doesn't establish them as partners nearly as well as it should have.

Oh sure, Syd and Nancy have the names that make them an immediate pair, but the dialogue between them is almost too witty. Their jabs and barbs don't sound natural, and it's not altogether easy to believe them as partners.

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L.A.'s Finest feels as though we're watching a goofall buddy cops romp that was written for men but women just landed the roles at the last minute.

Not only is this an original drama written for women but it's been Union's baby as she pushed it from outlet to outlet with determination to see it produced. As a result, I would have expected a better.

Poster One LA's Finest

Syd Barnett is still the same character from the movie, but instead of being an undercover DEA agent, she's an LAPD detective. As of the third episode, there's no detailed explanation about what happened to her, but there are hints.

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Meanwhile, Nancy McKenna lives a white-bread existence married to the new District Attorney in a killer house with an utterly annoying teenage daughter. She's former military and digs cars.

Syd beds men (and women) before booting them out of her bed with a to-go cup for coffee, while Nancy enacts the picket-fence values. But something is seeping from their lives before they became partners that threatens to cause quite a rift.

Amusement Park Shenanigans

Because what's on the outside isn't all that it seems. Is it ever?

There are other characters in L.A.'s Finest. Two cops nicknamed The Bens (because they're both named Ben) defer to Syd and Nancy even while admitting they're assigned some details because, duh, they're women.

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Evan Handler, one of the most versitile actors on television, is their captain, but he's had much better roles on better shows.

Ernie Hudson also stars as someone tied to Syd's past who might be the only person who can break through her tough exterior.

There a lot of layers to both Syd and Nancy and a juxtaposition in their live that I assume will be the ultimate key to driving the future of their partnership.

LA's Finest Team

There is plenty of action and there are a lot of fast cars, wicked chases, and moments in which the stars get to kick some ass.

There is eye-candy to be had for all sides of the spectrum, as Union and Alba look ridiculously stunning all the time, and the bad guys (we're lookin' at you Zach McGowan and Barry Sloane) were part of the reason I kept watching.

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You can tell Union is having the time of her life, but Syd reminds me a bit too much of Mary Jane Paul from a show that had a better handle on the underpinning so women in the workplace and their shared friendships.

If you're interested in sitting back and enjoying television without thinking to hard, L.A.'s Finest will probably be quite enjoyable.

There aren't many buddy cop series on TV at all, let alone with two women in the starring roles.

It's a little bit Cagney and Lacey and a little bit Lethal Weapon.

In theory, the formula works.

But to drive new customers by launching an entire platform? That's unlikely to happen.

Still, if you are already a Spectrum customer, there's no reason to tune out, but there's also no reason to make sure you're home to watch it when it originally airs.

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Other stars include Ben Martin, Zach Gilford, Ryan McPartlin, and Sophie Reynolds.

L.A's Finest premieres on Monday, May 13 when the first three episodes drop on the Spectrum platform.

Review

Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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