“Common Law” premiered on May 11 on USA and tried to reinvent the buddy cop drama. In the series, partners Travis Marks (Michael Ealy) and Wes Mitchell (Warren Kole) are having issues after five years as partners. Their boss (Jack McGee) makes them go to couples therapy after having success in the shrink’s chair himself. These are the top detectives in the department. Of course they are. One is OCD and by the books. The other is a free-wheeling rule breaker. Shocker.
This show has a lot of conventions. In particular, an annoying tendency to try to prove that they’re not gay. (Something addressed in a wonderful Huffington Post article.) It’s really not necessary to do that in 2012, is it?
That said, there is some fun chemistry between Kole and Ealy. There are moments that work. It’s hard to judge a show on the first episode, especially when you’re establishing characters. For a summer dram-com, this has potential. From the exploration of Travis’ many foster siblings to the issues between Wes and his ex, things can get deep fairly quickly. Often USA shows start with a formula and then quickly take it somewhere unexpected.
The big draw here is Sonya Walger as psychiatrist Dr. Emma Ryan, the therapist to the couple. She’s the person you want to see. Forget the story and the crime of the week. The nitty gritty here is the relationship it’s obvious she’s going to have with the guys. She’s compelling and will likely quickly become the focus of the show. It’s summer brain candy and it may very well end up being wonderful.
“Common Law” airs Fridays on USA.