I remember the first time I heard the expression – Let’s toss out the rundown. That was pretty much about the same time that I heard another expression – Let’s drop that into the C Block.
That’s right, those words came from the lips of MacKenzie McHale (played by Emily Mortimer) the Exec Producer of Will McAvoy’s (Jeff Daniels) news broadcast on the fictional cable news network ACN. The show was called The Newsroom, and it first aired back on June 24th, 2012.
Well the expressions are back, even if The Newsroom isn’t. This time we are talking about the new series on ABC-TV called Notorious. The words were spoken by one Julia George (played by Piper Perabo), who is described as a powerhouse television producer of the number one TV News program in the country – Louise Herrick Live.
George has an unwritten agreement with a ‘charismatic’ defense attorney called Jake Gregorian who is played by Daniel Sunjata. Their agreement is to never lie to each other.
Their relationship gives them the opportunity to try to control the media, and to manipulate the justice system in the directions they want. Jake, being a high-profile defense attorney, attracts well-heeled clients who have had the nation’s spotlight turned on them for either scandals or outright crimes. Jake can get his clients or himself on Louise’s show and he can try to sway public opinion.
From Julia’s perspective, she’s getting exclusive interviews with the people who are making headlines on the nations newspapers every day. It seems like a win-win for both.
Only it is not that simple. Detectives are at work, as are independent investigators. What wasn’t even considered yesterday is on the front page tomorrow. Things have to be managed by spin doctors on a daily basis – and between them, George and Gregorian are doing just that.
So that’s the set-up for the series. But there are complications, reversals, twists, and more often than you might think, we as the audience are misled as well.
It comes down to who can you trust?
Let’s have a look at the case that series begins with. An internet mogul, a billionaire, is accused of driving a car that was involved in a hit and run accident. Unfortunately, the victim was a young man (just 15 years old) that died as a result of his injuries.
Was this dot.com honcho driving his car? Or was some one else behind the wheel?
Julia George herself is dating a man who has been just appointed as a federal judge. But there’s evidence that’s been sleeping with hookers.
The star of the fictional news show, Louise Herrick (played by Kate Jennings Grant) is a hot-to-trot news anchor. She thinks nothing of having sex in her dressing room at the show just before she is supposed to go on air.
But wait, there’s more. The network president has ordained that his son be given a job on the Louise Herrick Show.
He’s somewhere between a go-fer and a cub reporter wannabe. He’s also looking to get close to Julia George, or one of her staffers, as the opportunities arise. And, as if you couldn’t see this coming – he is as unscrupulous as you might expect.
On the other side of the ledger we have Sunjata as the good-looking defense attorney. He’s having an affair with his client, the aforementioned internet mogul’s wife. That is, until she turns up dead. It seem she died after bleeding out from knife wounds administered by parties unknown.
Episode One, (the pilot) was untitled but gave us everything we needed to know about the leads. It is impossible to not think about any of these people as being opportunistic to the nth degree.
We may find them attractive, yet we can’t possibly like them.
The second episode is called The Perp Walk. Why? Because the police have decide to arrest the internet mogul at his wife’s funeral. They’re going to question him about his wife’s death.
As you can see, this series is not exactly high-brow entertainment. It is more like the front pages of your supermarket tabloids brought to life.
Sunjata and his opposite co-star are good-looking people, and they play their roles perfectly. But the series content and the words gutter news seem to go hand-in-hand.
I think the show is fun, so I’ll give it a few more weeks. If you glance at the tabloid headlines in your supermarket then this is a show for you. Instead of calling this a Newsroom wannabe, I think we might do better by dropping this series into the same pouch that includes TMZ – The Celebrity Gossip Show.
Only this is make-believe.
ABC airs this show on Thursday nights.
Here’s a trailer for you to peruse: