'Ironside' review: Blair Underwood carries dark cop drama
Police procedurals have been done on television countless times, so what sets new ones apart is having characters who rise above the rest. NBC's new drama "Ironside" has that in spades, with its leading man Blair Underwood delivering a fantastic performance as Detective Robert Ironside.
As the title suggests, it's Detective Ironside who carries this entire show. No other character is especially memorable in the pilot, with the two characters who stick out the most being Ironside's jerk former partner (Brent Sexton as Gary Stanton) and blonde fellow detective (Spencer Grammer as Holly). Fortunately Underwood lives up to the hype and delivers a flawed, wounded man who is simultaneously a fantastic cop while also being very troubled.
"Ironside" sets up this duality of its title character in the show's opening moments. Ironside doesn't follow the rules, he goes about solving cases his own way, but he also gets them solved. Add those details to the fact that he's stuck in a wheelchair after an injury, and that's where much of the drama takes place on this show.
It becomes clear in the first episode that "Ironside" will be a lot more about Detective Ironside's journey than it is about the various cases of the week. In the first episode, after many twists and turns, Ironside reveals that he wants to see the people who do bad things to others come to justice as much as he wants to solve crimes. That will likely cause him some big problems in the future, as Ironside toes the line between defending the law and breaking it.
How far down a dark path will Ironside head for justice? A sizzle reel for the rest of the season shows that Ironside might end up getting into a good amount of trouble for bucking authority and getting a case wrong with his hard-as-nails take on the criminal justice system. In that way, it's obvious from the get-go that "Ironside" won't be a traditional television cop drama. Instead it's a show that will take viewers down a dark and hopefully enlightening path with Ironside and his team, and it looks like that path will be a good one.
Do you plan on checking out "Ironside"?