Friday, September 17, 2010

Outlaw Is Outlandish

Jimmy Smits has a long history of doing smart TV roles. Victor Sifuentes, was a young idealistic lawyer, on L.A. Law, who eloquently fought for his clients. Bobby Simone, offered a sense of level headed balance to his gruff rule bending partner in NYPD Blue. Matt Santos, was an idealistic Congressman, of minority birth, who was groomed to succeed Jed Bartlet as President in The West Wing. Each of these characters were intelligent and believable, challenging viewers to think about ideas and issues. Thus, I was really looking forward to Outlaw, the story of a resigned Supreme Court Justice who practices law to fight for the little guy.

When Elena Kagan was being considered for the U.S. Supreme Court, she had to fill out a 202 page questionnaire, covering everything from her legal background to her finances. All Supreme Court Nominees go through a rigorous vetting process, which explores every nook and cranny of their lives. Yet, Outlaw gives us a Justice who owes a huge some to Doc, the bookie, and who, “doesn’t know the last name of the last three women he slept with.” Thank God his secretary, who pulled him out of a casino to make a legal ruling, knew their names.

Forget the fact that such a person could never have been appointed to the court to begin with, half of writing fiction involves the application of the creative license. The real problem with the show is its rushed pace. In the first 10 minutes, we see his honor be presented with a capitol case, wrestle with it, rule, and resign. Those 10 minutes, could’ve easily been an entire episode, in which he could’ve wrestled with the idea of truth vs. procedure. He could’ve argued with the other justices, explored the issue, and the time could’ve been used to really create the character. However, they had to gloss over that part to make time for the sexy P.I. to sexually tease the ultra-conservative law clerk.

My disappointment is really my own fault though. I let Smits’ past association with the works of Aaron Sorkin and Steven Bochco color my expectations and get my hopes up. Rather than being a well written thought provoking drama for adults, Outlaw is an average TV show on a par with Desperate Housewives.


  1. It's good to get a review on something that makes me feel like I ain't missing much. Thank you for your opinion on the show.

  2. Its sad that so much on television almost panders to the brainless. Thats why shows such jersey shore are so popular. You dont have to think about them. Glad you watched this so I didnt have too.