USA Network is known for bringing us not just great television, but great characters. They’ve managed to do it again with their latest series Common Law, which premieres Friday, May 11 at 10 PM.
While I had the opportunity to see an early version of the pilot back when I visited the Common Law set in New Orleans back in December, I couldn’t wait to give it another watch when we got the screener just recently. So, I watched the same episode twice and I promise you – it didn’t get old!
The show focuses on two LAPD Robbery-Homicide Detectives, Travis Marks and Wes Mitchell, who are hitting the 7-year-itch in their relationship. While they are the best detectives in the county, their now-hostile relationship has the duo butting heads and letting personal drama get in the way of the job. So, what else would their chief do to rectify the problem and keep from having to fire his two best men but send them to marriage counseling! And, you can bet Travis and Wes are not super thrilled about it… but we certainly are because it makes for some hilarious moments.
We immediately meet Travis and Wes, played by actors Michael Ealy and Warren Kole, in a group session of couples therapy that they’re forced to attend. Come on, right there it’s promising. And it carries through with the promise as soon as the eager Travis’ hand goes in awkwardly in the air to volunteer the “partners” to go first in the session.
From the first minute, it’s clear that these two have some real tension and that that is going to provide us with some unforgettable moments and belly laughter. Before the first scene is out, the two (literally) go toe-to-toe and it’s in that moment that the show turned me from interested (and thoroughly amused) viewer to out-and-out fan. All it took was 4 minutes! Impressive.
Their back and forth banter continues throughout the show and by the end of the one and a half hour series premiere, you’ll wonder if your favorite new bromance can actually be between two guys who can’t stand one another.
But Travis and Wes aren’t alone in their trials, there’s also Dr. Emma Ryan, played by Lost’s Sonya Walger, who serves as the duo’s therapist and the legendary Jack McGee who plays Captain Sutton, the duo’s boss who has had his own success with therapy. (Can’t wait to hear more about that storyline!)
Admittedly, there were only two scenes – one at the opening and one at the closing of the episode – that took place in the therapy session… so, I hope we get more of those down the line. But, that doesn’t mean the therapy goes unforgotten. Instead, the “partner awareness profiles” they receive in the opening scene – profiles that include questions like “How did your partner get their name?” “What is your partner’s favorite color?” and “What are two adjectives that describe your partner?” – serve as a form of backbone for the entire episode.
The majority of the episode, then, is technically taken up by working their case, but what is undeniably the most compelling aspect of the show is the story and relationship between Wes and Travis. The chemistry is spot on between actors Ealy and Kole as they make us believe they have in fact grown to know and hate one another over the course of 7 years. The episode makes us want to know more about them individually, but also as a pair.
It’s certainly an interesting position to find yourself in as a viewer, because throughout the episode, you’ll find reasons to like both Wes and Travis. Perhaps the pilot even portrays Travis as a little more likeable overall, but you’ll simultaneously come to understand why these two can’t stand one another. And you’ll also probably find yourself realizing how much Travis you have in you and how much Wes. I think I’m a bit more like Wes than I’d care to admit…
USA is a great network to blend comedy and drama and while Common Law proves largely comedic, it’s not so in the same way as USA’s fan-favorite series Psych. There are hints at some more serious issues between the two not-so-buddy cops that display a balance we may not have seen from USA Network yet. There they go, USA’s pushing the envelope yet again.
The quality is what you’d expect from a USA show and the dialogue is perfectly timed, perfectly executed and perfectly written, leaving no doubt that USA is where the series belongs.
USA’s breakout hits Suits and Necessary Roughness, both going into their sophomore seasons this summer, will both prove to be must-watch series this season, but Common Law will also fast become a summer staple!
You won’t want to miss a single quip in this show!
Be sure to tune in for the premiere and see for yourself.
Series Premiere of Common Law debuts Friday, May 11 at 10 PM on USA.