Common Law is the new USA Network series that replaces In Plain Sight on Friday Nights at 10. The show deals with two robbery/homicide detectives who have such difficulty getting along as partners that their boss refers them to "couples therapy." This therapy requirement is the hook of the show. Delete it and this would be just another police drama.
The two LAPD detectives are Travis Marks (Michael Ealy) and Wes Mitchell (Warren Kole). In the first scene of the show they are shown participating in couples counseling, which is led by Dr. Ryan (Sonya Walger). The two men are at first thought to be gay by the group but they quickly explain that calling them partners means they are partners as detectives.
It quickly becomes apparent that Travis is a hothead. He has no problem breaking the rules when he feels it is necessary. Wes, on the other hand, is a by-the-rules guy. He is also a neat freak and a little bit controlling. He is divorced but still drops in on his ex, while Travis leads a life of one night stands.
The hook of the couples counseling makes for a fairly interesting premise. At least it gives a good excuse to have Walger as part of the show. This Lost alumna is a solid actress and adds a flair to any role she undertakes. The same is true for Ealy. He is an actor who has been around for a while and has always been looking for that one special role that will make the public aware of him. This show, if it takes off, might serve that purpose.
After viewing the first episode of Common Law I have had my interest piqued. Walger and Ealy both jump off the screen with their talent. Kole is going to take a little more effort to be their equal. In that first episode he is pretty bland. If the show is going to succeed, these two partners are going to have to find some middle ground between being buddy buddy and being antagonists.
With all the summer shows waiting at the gate to start their runs, the competition is tough. Common Law shows promise but it had better hit its stride and do it quickly. Chemistry is everything -- these people better get in the lab and start brewing it up.
Common Law premieres May 11 at 10PM on the USA Network.
Jackie K Cooper