“Conviction” follows the lives of seven young prosecutors who handle the rigors of their demanding jobs and personal lives sometimes by pouting, sometimes by strutting about the office looking flustered, sometimes by sitting at desks looking pensive, but mostly, by not reacting at all.
Oh, sometimes they screw each other to relieve some stress. Expect some random sex scenes to be inserted (ha — penis joke). Basically, it’s a hot new show about hot young lawyers wearing hot little outfits nobody could ever really wear while working for the New York District Attorney, but none of the viewers will care because the cast is just so hot! So claim the producers of their new NBC show — or so they should have.
The timing of the show’s debut — today, with the season long past its midpoint — should serve as a sufficiently ominous sign. Prediction: The show is so forgettably mediocre that it will have enjoyed more airtime from the promos that ran during the Olympics coverage than it will during its run.
This show proves that even hot people can be boring (gasp!). Case in point, the first five minutes of the show, crucial attention-grabbing time, hinge on the hope that the audience will be enthralled by the main character who applies to a job at the DA’s office because he is bored with his life.
So, on the checklist of “things that would make an audience sit and accumulate mass in front of the television for the duration of the show, thereby checking out of society completely to find out what happens,” the “Emotional Intrigue” category gets crossed off. The pilot makes further efforts in this department, though, despite obvious failure from the start. One office worker, supposedly the male sex symbol (whose only intriguing feature is a goatee clearly meant to soften and hide an unfortunately pointy chin), tries twice throughout the pilot to get back with his ex-girlfriend. This is confusing and sad. Confusing because his ex looks exactly like one of the other lawyers in the office, even though she isn’t, and sad because the man she is dating now (actually, a juror who needs to excuse himself from the aforementioned sex symbol’s case for that very reason) is quite clearly gay.
Failing in the emotional department, the show tries to gain some approval through “thrilling and original” legal drama. Three cases are introduced in the pilot. The first is a Natalee Holloway-esque story, whose main witness refuses to take the stand to describe her best friend’s murder. Her only memorable line is a repeated, petulant, “No! They’ll kill me!” that could drive anyone to wishing she’d testify and get it over with already. Two lawyers take this case: One, an over-intense, beady-eyed man who so resembles a koala it’s hard to imagine him in a courtroom and not angrily eating eucalyptus; and the other, a beautiful blonde who would be even more stunning if she didn’t wear so much tweed that she resembled the bark on her koala partner’s tree headquarters.
The second case is the most infuriating of the three. Here, a female lawyer takes on her first case, involving a portly, white policeman chasing down a black drug dealer. The courtroom scene is far from plausible. On the stand, the defendant makes worn-out jokes about his own race and the policeman’s size that are supposedly so funny the entire jury bursts out into nonstop laughter. Even the judge has to hide a smirk. This isn’t so much funny as it is frustrating. Any woman would wish the lawyer were smarter, had more self-esteem, and were wearing a suit, and any person with a modicum of decorum would know that a courtroom is not a taping of “Chappelle’s Show.” “Conviction” basically tries to combine the legal thrills of “Law and Order” with the legal laughs (if there are such things) of “Ally McBeal.” The third case is too boring to warrant its own paragraph: A battered woman wants to bail her boyfriend out of jail because she is still desperately in love, thwarting the efforts of her overcompensating lawyer, who bases his self-esteem on his undefeated courtroom record. That’s all there is to it. Anyone with any prior loyalties to any other legal drama would turn “Conviction” off within the first 10 minutes.
So, with “Emotional Intrigue” and “Legal Drama” crossed off of the checklist, “Conviction” is left scrounging for points in the “Sex and Violence” category, and there is one scene of each. To ruin the ending, Koala Man gets it on with Hot Brunette, the woman who shares an office with Boring Protagonist and who looks like, but isn’t, Pointy Chin’s ex. The violence scene involves the best actor in the show, the district attorney, being shot and killed. The sex scene is so randomly added at the end that it looks like even the producers were bored with the show and so had to throw it in, and the violence scene knocks off the vast majority of the acting talent. The show can’t even fulfill anyone’s prurient interests. As only a nauseating joke would be appropriate to summarize this orgy of mediocrity: “Conviction” lacks, well, conviction.