REVIEW: THE FLASH – SEASON 5

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Starring

Grant Gustin (Glee)
Candice Patton (The Guest)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Carlos Valdes (Vixen)
Hartley Sawyer (The Young and The Restless)
Danielle Nicolet (Central Intelligence)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (Cam)
Chris Klein (American Pie)
Tom Cavanagh (Scrubs)
Jesse L. Martin (Injustice)

Jessica Parker Kennedy in The Flash (2014)

Recurring / NOtable Guest Cast

Keiynan Lonsdale (Love, Simon)
Patrick Sabongui (Power Rangers)
Daniel Cudmore (Twilight: New Moon)
Erin Cummings (Bitch Slap)
Susan Walters (The Vampire Diaries)
Kiana Madeira (Trinkets)
Kyle Secor (Veronica Mars)
Troy James (Hellboy)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Carlo Marks (Smallville)
Liam McIntyre (Spartacus)
Lossen Chambers (Unspeakable)
LaMonica Garrett (The Last Ship)
Michelle Harrison (Tru Calling)
John Wesley Shipp (Dawson’s Creek)
Teddy Sears (Chicago Fire)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Chad Rook (War For The POTA)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
David Ramsey (Dexter)
Tyler Hoechilin (Teen Wolf)
Melissa Benoist (Whiplash)
Jeremy Davies (Hannibal)
Elizabeth Tulloch (The Artist)
Ruby Rose (The Meg)
Reina Hardesty (StartUp)
Gabrielle Walsh (East Los High)
Charlene Amoia (How I Met Your Mother)
Britne Oldford (American Horror Story)
Victoria Park (Plus One)
Kimberly Williams-Paisley (The Christmas Chronicles)
Audrey Marie Anderson (The Unit)
Zibby Allen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Sarah Carter (Smallville)
Paul McGillion (Stargate: Atlantis)
Catherine Lough Haggquist (Godzilla)
Kathryn Gallagher (You)
BD Wong (Gotham)
Emily Kinney (The Walking Dead)

Hartley Sawyer and Carlos Valdes in The Flash (2014)Odd as it may sound, The Flash may very well now be the flagship show in the Arrowverse. When you think about it, the series’ ascension to that spot makes sense, especially when you factor in how it’s consistently The CW’s top rated show. Plus, it often charts new course for the DC TV landscape as a whole, which I’ll discuss in just a bit.In the meantime, though, I’m going to shower the next leg in the Scarlet Speedster’s journey with much praise after being left jaded by what I thought was a parabolic fourth season. Those familiar with this site may remember how I didn’t exactly care for how our most recent trips to Central City became downright farcical at times, whereas the premiere I’ve just had the honor of screening found the proper balance achieved in earlier seasons.Grant Gustin and Candice Patton in The Flash (2014)Maybe it’s just me, but Nora West-Allen AKA XS, played by the adorable Jessica Parker Kennedy, gave this show the shot in the arm that it needed. After being left stranded in the present, Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris’ (Candice Patton) daughter from the future manages to strengthen the family aspect that’s been a solid cornerstone since day one, while also taking the action scenes to the next level. Being someone who digs legacy heroes, I was delighted to hear Nora begin season 5 with narration similar to that of Barry’s, thereby letting us know that she’s a chip off the old block and, yes, she’s the fastest woman alive in her native time period.Chris Klein in The Flash (2014)In very short order, I became convinced that Nora is quite possibly the role Kennedy was born to play, and is quickly becoming my favorite thing about the show. Believe me, it won’t take long for you to warm up to the father-daughter dynamic shared between her and Barry. It’s a tad awkward as one would expect at first, sure, but the two bond before long.Grant Gustin in The Flash (2014)Seeing as how this is a comic book-based series, their first instance of Take Your Child To Work Day comes in the form of a run-in with Gridlock (Daniel Cudmore), our first freak of the week for the fall. In truth, it’s probably best that we get someone of lesser power to start off things before organically building up to the new big bad, Cicada (Chris Klein). Make no mistake, the Flash himself isn’t forgotten in the premiere, as this is still very much his headlining gig. What’s more is that longtime viewers will be rewarded as he runs the costuming gamut by donning the suits he wore in seasons 1 and 2, before settling on his new threads.Chris Klein and Danielle Panabaker in The Flash (2014)Continuing on that note, the comic aficionados among you should geek out upon seeing said duds emerging from a ring, an element from the source material that’s finally been utilized by the producers. As for getting it back inside, well, that sounds like a job for Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) and his magnificent mind. Rest assured that a piece of jewelry isn’t the only thing brought back from the future because – get this – Nora gives quite the nod to Batman Beyond by using “schway” in a sentence on multiple occasions. Not only that, but the DC Easter eggs don’t stop there – her name-drops may be laying the groundwork for the next five years of Arrowverse programming, so be sure to pay close attention.Danielle Panabaker and Jessica Parker Kennedy in The Flash (2014)Now, I’m not going to get into major spoilers, but I will say that stuff established all the way back in the pilot episode is revisited and factors into what’s to come. The sharper guys and gals reading this may have a few good guesses after learning that, so just keep on formulating your own theories until it’s showtime. At this point, I imagine lovers of Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) are wondering what’s going on with her character and the unfolding mystery involving her past. Though her alter ego of Killer Frost has yet to resurface, some sizable breadcrumbs are provided, each of which will definitely factor heavily into future episodes. Bank on it.The Flash (2014)In the eyes of this critic, showrunner Todd Helbing and company have rediscovered what’s quintessentially The Flash. Hand to Zod, the creative minds behind the series look to be returning it to the glory days of seasons 1 and 2 – and that’s no joke. These folks have put together one of the strongest premieres this show has ever produced, and it’s guaranteed to leave people talking. Personally, I can’t wait to see what’s next because, you know, it’s not like I can run so fast that I can time travel or anything.

REVIEW: ARROW – SEASON 4

Main Cast

Stephen Amell (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: OOTS)
Katie Cassidy (Black Christmas 2006)
David Ramsey (Blue Bloods)
Willa Holland (Legion)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
John Barrowman (Torchwood)
Paul Blackthorne (The InBetween)

Neal McDonough and Paolo Maiolo in Arrow (2012)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Neal McDonough (Van Helsing)
Grant Gustin (Glee)
Audrey Marie Anderson (The Unit)
Cynthia Addai-Robinson (The Accountant)
Enid-Raye Adams (Good Boys)
Echo Kellum (Girlfriend’s Day)
Jimmy Akingbola (Spectral)
Alexander Calvert (Bates Motel)
Elysia Rotaru (Dead Again In Tombstone)
Tiera Skovbye (Riverdale)
Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Picard)
Caity Lotz (The Machine)
Katrina Law (Spartacus)
Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary)
JR Bourne (Ginger Snaps Back)
Carmen Moore (Little Fish)
Kevan Ohtsji (Godzilla)
Rutina Wesley (True Blood)
Matt Ryan (Justice League Dark)
Parker Young (Imposters)
Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Charlotte Ross (Drive Angry)
Eugene Byrd (Bones)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Colton Haynes (Rough Night)
Ciara Renée (The Big Bang Theory)
Casper Crump (The LEgend of Tarzan)
Anna Hopkins (Shadowhunters)
Peter Francis James (The Losers)
Falk Hentschel (White House Down)
Jack Moore (Republic of Sarah)
Lynda Boyd (Sanctuary)
Janet Kidder (Bride of Chucky)
James Kidnie (Robocop: The Series)
Tom Amandes (The Long Kiss Goodnight)
Rila Fukushima (Ghost In The Shell)
Venus Terzo (Beast Wars)
Daniel Cudmore (Twilight: New Moon)
Rachel Luttrell (Stargate: Atlantis)
Megalyn Echikunwoke (That 70s Show)
Amy Gumenick (Supernatral)
Adrian Holmes (V-Wars)
Jason Schombing (Mutant X)
Emily Kinney (The Walking Dead)
Adrian Glynn McMorran (Warcraft)
Alex Kingston (Flashforward)
Madison McLaughlin (Chicago PD)
Gabriella Wright (The Transporter Refueled)
Nolan Gerard Funk (Truth or Dare)
Vinnie Jones (The Cape)

Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)My name is Oliver Queen. For five years I was stranded on an island with only one goal: survive. Now I will fulfill my father’s dying wish. To use the list of names he left me and bring down those who are poisoning my city. To do this, I must become someone else, I must become … something else.” The quote that has started a journey of an era and for many of us introduced us to the “Emerald archer” . The Fourth Season sees our hero finally become Green Arrow as aposed to The Hood or just The Arrow.The season started was excellent we are introduced with change, the “relaunch” of Oliver’s identity and a brand new arrow cave. To top it all off we are finally introduced to Damien Darhk and the secret organization of HIVE. This all brings us one good big package of an extremely great season. The early part of the season was a build up to Legends and the huge two, night crossover event which introduced savage and the hawks. Then season gets back to the main story of Damien Darhk. With the Christmas episode of the Year being the mid season cliffhanger leaving Felicity Smoak at deaths door, Showing just how far Damien will go to get his way.Having a Villain with magical powers was a nice twist for Arrow making him different from the villains that have come before. The theme of this season was tied in very good to be honest, through the main villain’s name and the character types of most characters on this show. Basically it was accepting the inner darkness within you, which was portrayed quite well throughout the episodes. On top of all this darkness, the main cast was trying to find hope in their struggles or the lack of hope more or so. Arrow was always a dark show even from season 1 it was pretty dark, so it was appropriate for season 4 to continue the trend. Towards the end you see other characters grow darkness inside of them, and team arrow slowly splitting apart during these dark times. Also we get to see more of the darkness that happened to Ollie back on the island which wasn’t great for the most part of it, but at least they got that dark message across.One of the biggest highlights this year was John Constantine played by Matt Ryan making an appearance. I was a huge fan of the short lived Constantine TV Show so it was to have him return on Arrow, which could lead to more appearances throughout the arrowverse.Caity Lotz in Arrow (2012)Sara Lance’s resurrection is also a highlight, many were sad to see her killed off during the first episode of season 3. When Legends of Tomorrow was announced and the first teaser showed Sara Lance alive and well using the new hero identity White Canary, it left fans wondering how her resurrection would happen. Thankfully fans of the comics knew the powers of The Lazarus Pit, which was also used to help Thea (Speedy) during season 3. Having the pit destroyed was a good idea too. If it hadn’t been vanquished then you could use it as an easy to bring characters back.Image result for arrow Blood DebtsRay Palmer also gets a resurrection,. Although many knew he wasn’t dead and that he had most likely just shrunk, his return also led to his role on Legends of Tomorrow, which nice to see Brandon Routh getting a main role.Matt Ryan and Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)During the first episode of the season we were shown a grave where Oliver and Barry are shown standing over it without giving away who was in it, then near the end of the season we find out. When it was revealed that Black Canary aka Dinah Laurel Lance was the victim it sent shockwaves throughout the fandom, seeing as how They were regular lovers in the comics. I see it as a nice change as not have to copy what the comics do. We know that Katie Cassidy will be appearing throughout the Arrowverse in the upcoming seasons of the various shows, so it will be interesting in what format she returns.David Ramsey, Willa Holland, Katie Cassidy, Falk Hentschel, Stephen Amell, Grant Gustin, and Ciara Renée in Arrow (2012)I’m a huge fan of the Arrowverse and love all the shows (Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl) Arrow Season was great it had great action, heartbreaking moments and a great villain. It will be interesting to see where season 5 takes the characters.

 

REVIEW: THE FLASH – SEASON 1

 

Starring

Grant Gustin (Glee)
Candice Patton (The Guest)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Rick Cosnett (The Vampire Diaries)
Carlos Valdes (Vixen)
Tom Cavanagh (Scrubs)
Jesse L. Martin (Injustice)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Michelle Harrison (Tru Calling)
Chad Rook (Timeless)
Patrick Sabongui (Power Rangers)
Al Sapienza (Suits)
John Wesley Shipp (Dawson’s Creek)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Fulvio Cecere (Dark Angel)
Olivia Cheng (Warrior)
Jennifer Cheon Garcia (Van Helsing)
Brendon Zub (Batwoman)
Logan Williams (When Calls Your Heart)
William Sadler (Iron Man 3)
Robbie Amell (The Duff)
Anthony Carrigan (Gotham)
Wentworth Miller (Underworld)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Dominic Purcell (Prison Break)
Kelly Frye (Criminal Minds)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Greg Finley (Izombie)
Robert Knepper (Cult)
Morena Baccarin (Deadpool)
David Ramsey (Dexter)
Paul Anthony (Blade: Trinity)
Anna Hopkins (Shadowhunters)
Amanda Pays (Max Headroom)
David Milchard (Sanctuary)
Roger Howarth (One Life To Live)
Andy Mientus (Gone)
Tom Butler (Blade: The Series)
Victor Garber (The Orville)
Malese Jow (The Shanara Chronicles)
Britne Oldford (Blindspot)
Bill Dow (Izombie)
Isabella Hofmann (Burlesque)
Katie Cassidy (Black Christmas 2006)
Chase Masterson (Star Trek: DS9)
Liam McIntyre (The Legend of Hercules)
Nicholas Gonzalez (Sleepy Hollow)
Peyton List (Gotham)
Paul Blackthorne (Arrow)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Matt Letscher (Her)
Bre Blair (Game of Silence)
Vito D’Ambrosio (Bones)
Devon Graye (13 Sins)
Emily Kinney (The Walking Dead)
Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Danielle Nicolet (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Peter Bryant (See)
Doug Jones (Star Trek Discovery)
Ciara Renée (The Big Bang Theory)

 

The Flash was unique in its first season in the sense that it never really needed to find itself or grow into something better. It simply started strong and continually got better over the course of seven months. Much of the credit rests with the fact that the Flash was hardly starting from scratch. This show is the first spinoff of Arrow and its growing superhero universe. It features many of the same producers as Arrow and several writers responsible for Arrow’s stellar second season. Not only did The Flash not have to waste much time establishing its universe, it didn’t even have to introduce viewers to its protagonist. Grant Gustin debuted as a pre-speedster Barry Allen midway through Arrow’s second season, culminating with the accident that created the Flash. By the time this show came around, viewers already knew Barry, what made him tick and what fueled his particular quest.Gustin rapidly grew into the role of Barry Allen once the spotlight was placed on him. Gustin brought a winning blend of youthful energy, latent pathos and Peter Parker-esque awkwardness to the table. He gave us a Barry Allen that’s impossible not to connect with. Barry is immensely likable. He’s less intense than Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen. He’s driven by tragedy but anchored by a small family unit. He’s faithful to the comic book Barry Allen. One of the main reasons for The Flash’s success, though, was its supporting cast. So much of the drama and the emotional core of the show centered around Barry’s ties to his core circle of friends, family and allies.Kelly Frye and Grant Gustin in The Flash (2014)There was his adoptive father, Joe West (Jesse L. Martin). There was his adoptive sister/unrequited love, Iris (Candice Patton), a dichotomy that never came across as creepy or incest-y as it could have. There was his newfound father figure/mentor in Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh). There were his new friends/partners in metahuman-busting, Dr. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes). And rounding out the core cast was Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett), Barry’s colleague and sometimes rival/sometimes ally.The show exploited these various relationships to great effect. Above all, the father/son relationships between Barry/Joe and Barry/Wells were the source of great drama. Martin and Cavanagh were the MVPs among the cast. Martin brought a crucial warmth to his role as a concerned father and a man simply baffled by the increasingly bizarre state of life in Central City. Cavanagh, meanwhile, helped mold Wells into the show’s most captivating figure. It quickly became apparent that Wells was far more than he seemed, eventually emerging as the primary antagonist of Season 1.Grant Gustin in The Flash (2014)But thanks to Cavanagh’s performance, it was always apparent that Wells cared for Barry even as he plotted and schemed and tormented the hero.Caitlin and Cisco became increasingly compelling characters in their own right as the season progressed. Caitlin, initially cold and a little haughty, grew as her relationship with Barry blossomed and her past relationship with Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell) came to light. Cisco was largely a comic relief character at first. And while he remained the show’s most reliable source of comedy, he too was fleshed out and developed a father/son connection to Wells of his own.Iris and Eddie were a little more uneven when it came to their respective roles within the show. At times it was easy to forget about Eddie given his tendency to drop out of view. However, he definitely became an integral player in the final couple months of the season.Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin in The Flash (2014)I appreciated how the writers never took a one-note approach with Eddie. He may have been Barry’s romantic rival, but he was never written as a bully or a jerk, just a guy with his own set of hopes and desires. As for Iris, there were some episodes where she filled what seemed to be a mandatory quota as far as superhero relationship drama. The Barry/Iris/Eddie love triangle definitely had its moments, but some weeks it came across as pointless filler. The big offender was “Out of Time,” which featured a terrifically epic climax but dull build-up. The premiere episode, did a fine job of laying out the cast of characters and basic status quo for the show. The idea that the STAR Labs particle accelerator created a new wave of metahumans alongside the Flash offered an easy way to start building a roster of villains and put Barry’s growing speed powers to the test. Luckily, it wasn’t long before The Flash began moving away from the “villain of the week” approach and building larger, overarching storylines. Bigger villains like Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) were introduced, paving the way for the Flash.The show played its part in expanding the CW’s superhero universe, introducing Firestorm and crossing paths with Arrow at several points. The mid-season finale, “The Man In the Yellow Suit,” offered the full introduction of the Reverse-Flash and set the stage for a conflict that would drive the show all the way until the season finale. As that conflict developed, the question of just who Dr. Wells was and what he had planned for Barry became paramount. Wells symbolized just how much the show was willing to play with expectations and shake up the traditional comic book mythology. I noted in my review of the premiere episode that the show was showing signs of being too predictable for seasoned comic book readers. It wasn’t long before that concern faded away.Looking back at these overarching conflicts and how they were developed over the course of the season, it’s clear that The Flash succeeded because it managed to adopt the serialized nature of superhero comics so well. Each new episode offered its fair share of twists and surprises, culminating in a dramatic cliffhanger that left viewers craving the next installment.Grant Gustin in The Flash (2014)It served as a reminder that, in many ways, TV is an inherently better medium for superheroes than film. A weekly series can do serialized storytelling in a way a couple superhero movies every year can’t. The show started out big with the premiere episode, pitting Barry against the first Weather Wizard and a massive tornado. Even that was chump change compared to later conflicts. Barry’s battle with the second Weather Wizard culminated with the hero stopping a tidal wave at supersonic speed. But the most impressive technical accomplishment was more subtle. The late-season episode “Grodd Lives” introduced viewers to Gorilla Grodd, a completely computer-animated villain who looked far more convincing than we had any right to.Mark Hamill in The Flash (2014)Perhaps one of the strongest episode of Season 1 was “Tricksters.” That episode paid terrific homage to the short-lived 1990 Flash series as Mark Hamill reprised the part of the prank-obsessed villain the Trickster and former Flash John Wesley Shipp was given his most in-depth role as Barry’s father, Henry. Not only was “Tricksters” a fun love letter to the old show, it proved that this series can venture into full-on camp territory without losing sight of itself.Ultimately, though, it’s the finale episode that stands out as the crowning moment of Season 1. The show bucked the usual trend by getting the physical confrontation with Reverse-Flash out of the way in the penultimate episode (via a team-up between Flash, Firestorm and the Arrow, no less). “Fast Enough” wasn’t concerned with the visceral element of the Flash/Reverse-Flash rivalry so much as the psychological one. The finale was intensely emotional, forcing Barry to decide just how much he was willing to sacrifice to save his mother. Just about every actor delivered their best work of the season. It was a tremendous payoff to a year’s worth of build-up.Jesse L. Martin in The Flash (2014)The finale ended the season with a big question mark of a cliffhanger. The great thing about the way the season wrapped is that now the door is open for practically anything. The finale touched on the idea of the multiverse – other worlds inhabited by other Flashes like Jay Garrick. The Flash didn’t suffer from the familiar freshman growing pains most new shows experience in their first season. This show built from the framework Arrow laid out and made use of an experienced writing and production team, a great cast, and a clear, focused plan for exploring Barry Allen’s first year on the job. The show was never afraid to delve into the weird and wild elements of DC lore, but it always stayed grounded thanks to a combination of humor and strong character relationships.

REVIEW: IT’S COMPLICATED

CAST

Meryl Streep (The iron Lady)
Steve Martin (Cheaper By The Dozen)
Alec Baldwin (The Departed)
John Krasinki (The Office)
Lake Bell (No Strings Attached)
Mary Kay Place (Being John Malkovich)
Rita Wilson (Jingle All The Way)
Hunter Parrish (Weeds)
Nora Dunn (Bruce Almighty)
Emily Kinney (Conviction)
Andrew Stewart-Jones (Gotham)
Jessica St. Clair (Bridesmaids)
Alan Cumming (Tin man)
Anne Lockhart (Buried)
Emjay Anthony (Chef)
Zoe Kazan (Clickbait)
James Patrick Stuart (General Hospital)

Jane (Meryl Streep), who owns a successful bakery in Santa Barbara, California, and Jake Adler (Alec Baldwin), a successful attorney, divorced ten years earlier. They had three children together, two girls and a boy, who are grown. Jake, who was cheating on Jane, married the much younger Agness (Lake Bell).Jane and Jake attend their son Luke’s graduation from college in New York City. After a dinner together, the two begin an affair, which continues in Santa Barbara. Jane is torn about the affair; Jake is not. While Agness has Jake scheduled for regular sessions at a fertility clinic, Jake is secretly taking medication to increase sperm count for fertility, a side effect of which can cause dizziness. After one of his sessions he has a lunchtime rendezvous with Jane at a hotel. Jake collapses in the hotel room and a doctor is called. The doctor speculates that the reason for Jake’s distress may be the medication and says he should stop taking it. Jake and Jane’s children know nothing of the affair, but Harley (John Krasinski), who is engaged to their daughter Lauren, spots the pair and the doctor in the hotel, but keeps silent.Adam (Steve Martin) is an architect hired to remodel Jane’s home. Still healing from a divorce of his own, he begins to fall in love with Jane. On the night of Luke’s graduation party in Santa Barbara, Jane invites Adam to the party. She is stoned when he picks her up because she has smoked a marijuana joint that Jake had given her earlier. Before going into the party, Adam smokes some of the joint with Jane. Once inside, they are laughing and happily high, Jake becomes jealous observing them, and after pressing Jane, smokes some with her also.Agness then observes Jake and Jane dancing together and realizes they are having an affair. When they leave the party, Adam asks Jane if they could have something to eat. Jane takes him to her bakery and they make chocolate croissants together. Jake and Agness separate, although it is not clear who leaves whom. Eventually by a webcam in Jane’s bedroom, Adam sees Jake naked and realizes that the two have been having an affair. Adam tells Jane he cannot continue seeing her because it will only lead to heartbreak. Jane’s kids also find out, and they are not happy about Mom and Dad getting together again because they are still recovering from the divorce. Jane tells them she is not getting back with Jake. Jane and Jake talk and end their affair on amicable terms. The film ends with Adam at Jane’s house ready to commence the remodeling. Before the credits roll, Jane and Adam are seen laughing about the chocolate croissants while walking into her house.It’s Complicated couldn’t have succeeded without Nancy Meyers finally showing what good writing can do with the right people, time, and effort put into place. It’s the work of her career and she remains a dark horse for an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Though the film will definitely appeal to an older generation, the younger can appreciate the zeal and comical dialogue shared between the players. The film does run a bit long and loses some of it’s spark in the finale act, but it’s pure entertainment.

REVIEW: CONVICTION (2016)

MAIN CAST

Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter)
Eddie Cahill (CSI: NY)
Shawn Ashmore (Smallville)
Merrin Dungey (alias)
Emily Kinney (The Flash)
Manny Montana (Graceland)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Daniel Franzese (Mean Girl)
Bess Armstrong (Jaws 3D)
Cassandra Freeman (Inside Man)
Mike Doyle (Green Lantern)
Teri Polo (Meet The Parents)
Tim Guinee (Stargate SG.1)
Susan Hayward (Powers)
Carlo Rota (Stargate Universe)
Matthew Bennett (Battlestar Galactica)
Richard Thomas (IT)
Jordan Hayes (Helix)
Shawn Parsons (Containment)
Martin Donovan (Ant-Man)
Rob Stewart (Painkiller Jane)
Mark Moses (Platoon)
JoNell Kennedy (Dreamgirls)
Anna Khaja (The Good Place)
Patrick Breen (A Series of Unfortunate Events)
Von Flores (Earth: Final Conflict)
Karan Oberoi (Roswell, New Mexico)
Tammy Isbell (Bitten)
Sadie LeBlanc (Gossip)

In Conviction Hayley Atwell plays Hayes Morrison, a complex character with obvious flaws. She is the daughter of an ex-President and a politician running for Senator. First an attorney, then a law professor, she was always a rebel and a liability for her parents due to her “extremely controversial lifestyle” and run-ins with the law. She is blackmailed into heading the CIU, a new department in the DA’s office dedicated to investigating possibly wrongful convictions. She has all of the necessary tools, including a dedicated staff, but she lacks the Conviction.The pilot moves quickly, allowing Hayes to experience many emotions. You will not see a finer job of acting in a pilot. Atwell is remarkable. Her character is uncaring, self-indulgent and the product of years of political posturing (by her family) and being in the spotlight. She knows how to paint on a smile, but she shows us so many levels beneath it. Her character might seem unlikable and this might look like just another crime solving drama, but the writers have given the viewer plenty of hints at how this show might develop, along with the characters in it.
The supporting actors are also excellent, including Shawn Ashmore, Merrin Dungey,  Emily Kinney, Eddie Cahill, and Manny Montana. Her team of investigators have diverse backgrounds and very different perspectives.
The twist is that they only have five days to investigate each case–a factor that sounds contrived but it fits the story. In the first episode, they investigate an 8-year old conviction and Hayes has a crisis of conscience, proving she has one. Other Episode Highlights are(2) Bridge and Tunnel Vision

Hayes decides to go after one of Wallace’s career-making cases, the Prospect 3. They were three boys charged with raping and assaulting a woman, Zadie Daniels, on her way from work. Zadie was hit in the head by a brick, so she does not remember the attack, but the media called her a hero. None of the members of the group—Mike, Brian, and Seamus—was a DNA match for the semen in the rape kit, but they confessed after exhaustive interrogations, each one blaming the others. After learning that the timelines did not match up, the CIU discovered that Zadie had sex with a married man the night of the assault, the source of the semen. They also learn that Brian had previously attacked other females, including his foster sister, which is why Wallace was sure that the three boys were the culprits. Hayes gets Brian to admit that he was the only person responsible for the assault, freeing Mike and Seamus. Although she proves two people innocent, Hayes feels depressed, as Zadie’s reputation is now ruined.

(3) Dropping Bombs

To spite Wallace after his comment about “the new Hayes Morrison,” Hayes digs up the case of bigoted activist Rodney Landon, convicted of planting a bomb in a mosque office and killing four men, including the Imam. The CIU team finds Landon was primarily a suspect because of an illegal search by the Counter-Terrorism Unit and that, although he didn’t plant the bomb, he was planning a far more deadly attack. Because the illegal search would throw out most of the evidence against Landon and get him released, Sam talks to a skinhead in prison. Hayes is notified that Landon was attacked due to rumors of his being a snitch and stabbed his attacker with a shiv. By committing a felony on camera, he will remain in prison. The actual bomber turns out to be the wife of the Imam, who was angry because of his multiple affairs. Hayes’ cocaine arrest becomes public when a video of her in jail is released to the media.(4) Mother’s Little Burden

The CIU works on the case of Penny Price, a stay-at-home mom who vlogged about taking care of her violent autistic son, Owen. Penny was charged with second degree murder via leaving a bottle of soy sauce outside, which Owen drank in its entirety. However, Frankie finds out from the case’s toxicologist that Owen did not die from a sodium overdose, but from a lack of sugar due to a deliberately administered insulin shot. They go to Penny’s husband, Greg Price, a pharmacist who was having an affair, as well as Owen’s caretaker, Eduardo, whose sister had dangerously low insulin levels on the day of Owen’s murder. Hayes realizes that the only person with means and motive was Penny’s daughter, Emily. Penny tells Emily to keep quiet and says that she will take the blame, telling Hayes that her daughter deserves a life. Meanwhile, Hayes must juggle solving the case and working with her brother, Jackson, to prepare for a “mea culpa” television interview. Jackson drills her on what to wear (the right suit and her mother’s pearls), what to say, and how to say it. During the interview, she uses her charm and the rehearsed responses, but eventually her lies and the pearls begin to choke her. She then candidly explains that she got her do-over and job as a result of her privilege and that she is now attempting to use some of it to free innocent people. Although this decision earns her immediate public approval, it severely hurts her mother’s campaign and throws Wallace under the bus. The night after solving the case, Hayes goes home to Jackson’s apartment, only to find that he has kicked her out.(6) #StayWoke

After a black teenager is killed by a cop which causes an argument among the team, Hayes decides to choose the case of Porscha Williams, a black activist who was convicted of the shooting murder of Sergeant Kelsey Blake during a protest. Maxine feels conflicted as she is both black with a son and an ex-cop. Meanwhile, Hayes meets with Naomi, Wallace’s lawyer, who flirts with Hayes. Tess tells Frankie about being an eyewitness to her aunt’s murder at age 12 and identifying the wrong man. The man, Matty Tan, was cleared by DNA after five years in prison and that she has been going to his coffee-cart frequently without him knowing her connection. The team finds that one eyewitness lied under oath and that other witnesses may have confused Porscha with another woman. Then they discover that the Medical Examiner’s van was near the scene longer than necessary, and that the entry and exit wounds may have been mixed up, meaning that Kelsey may have been shot from behind. Using the new angle, the team discovers that one of the other witnesses, George Stayner, was responsible. George, when confronted, says it was an accident and then commits suicide. After Porscha is released, Hayes finds Naomi and Wallace kissing each other.(7) A Simple Man

The CIU team investigates the case of a man with a low IQ, Leo Scarlata, who was convicted of setting a fire in his family’s restaurant. The fire killed one man and injured another. Wallace approves a documentary film crew who have been working on Scarlata’s case, to follow the team around. The investigation finds that the fire didn’t start the way previously believed and that, although Leo was responsible, he just “followed the rules”. Those “rules” had been deliberately altered to cause the fire for the insurance payout. Leo is released.bountykiller01(8) Bad Deals

The CIU team takes on the case of Josh Fleck, a teacher convicted of kidnapping and murdering his high school student, Sierra Macy, ten years before. The reason for the case is because Sierra is alive and had just escaped from her basement prison only to find her captor dead. Sam was the prosecutor on the case and though the murder conviction will be dropped, he still insists that Fleck was involved in the kidnapping. The team finds that the waitress eyewitness lied, that the blood evidence could be explained away, and that Sierra was hauled away in a car trunk while Fleck drove a pickup. When Sam visits the waitress, Melissa, he hears the chimes that Sierra remembers. Melissa points a gun at him but the police burst in and rescue him. Fleck is released. The Justice Department drops its case against Wallace after Hayes provides information.bountykiller01(9) A Different Kind of Death

Wallace gives the CIU the case of Earl Slavitt (Richard Thomas), a death-row inmate who was convicted of the murder of Tom Simon, a federal prosecutor and Wallace’s friend. Earl was originally prosecuted by Tom for embezzling money from his job. After he was released from prison he made threats against Tom. Wallace asks Hayes to review the case, as Tom was against the death penalty and Earl is to be executed in five days. While the CIU reviews the case in New York, Hayes and Wallace go to Indiana to try and stop Earl’s execution. They have to deal with Bill Newton, the Assistant U.S. Attorney who was on the prosecution’s side for both cases and who gets in their way. The team finds that an ex-con was hired to kill Tom, and that Earl’s boss was the actual embezzler. Someone in the U.S. Attorney’s office was taking bribes. Hayes, after talking to Earl’s former co-worker, Nina, learns that Bill ordered the hit on Tom to cover his tracks. Hayes tries to contact Wallace to stop the execution but is too late. After hearing the news, Sam catches Maxine taking pain-killers.JORDAN HAYES, HAYLEY ATWELL(10) Not Okay

The team takes the case of Sophie Hausen, convicted of murdering Travis Carter, the college student whom she claimed raped her. Retesting the DNA on the murder weapon shows only a partial match and a recreation of the crime shows a potentially hazardous exit. While checking out other possible suspects the team finds out there were other victims who hadn’t reported the rapes because of Sophie’s treatment by officials. But they had all talked to a rape counselor, Elyse Salmon, who had decided to take matters into her own hands. Elyse confesses and Sophie is released. On a personal angle, Tess finally tells Matty about their connection and he doesn’t take it well. Plus Hayes, with a boost from Jackson, and Wallace decide to attempt their relationship againConviction - Series 01(11) Black Orchid

A current case ties back to an old one. A woman is found beaten to death. Her physical description, the manner of death, and the “Black Orchid” lipstick smeared on her mouth match the M.O. of a convicted serial killer, Clark Sims, from ten years before. The CIU team doesn’t know if Sims is innocent or if there is a copycat. They are able to explain away the fingerprint evidence against Sims. They also find that the man arrested for the recent murder couldn’t have done it. Figuring in the ten-year hiatus between crimes they speculate the killer was in prison. A search of inmates fitting the parameters locates a suspect, Donald Cutler, who was in the vicinity of the recent murder. Cutler goes after the woman who survived his attack years ago and she kills him. Sims is released.145458_5409_feat-770x433(13) Past, Prologue & What’s to Come

Hayes takes on the case of Gerald Harris, a man she unsuccessfully defended in Chicago nine years earlier against charges that he murdered his wife, Claire. Wallace prosecuted the case. As the team struggles to find a suspect who could have committed the murder, Hayes learns that Sam will be forced to testify during a trial for Rodney Landon, which will effectively discredit the CIU and subject all of its cases to review. Sam informs her that he intends to take the fifth, ending his career but keeping the CIU intact. Frankie eventually confirms that Claire died from a heart attack before she fell, the evidence of which was not found at her original autopsy. Although the subpoena against Sam is dropped, Wallace orders Hayes to fire him for going “rogue”. But she deliberately kisses Sam, committing sexual harassment in view of a witness, meaning he can’t be fired without her being forced to resign.EMILY KINNEY, EDDIE CAHILL, MANNY MONTANA, HAYLEY ATWELL, MERRIN DUNGEY, SHAWN ASHMORE

With all 13 episodes aired, this could be the end of the show, with the ratings not doing so hot, the show was not given a back order of episodes. It’s a shame as I really enjoyed the show, Hayley Atwell is as brilliant as ever and the cases were interesting, some were a little political but that was okay. It will certainly be missed if this is truly the end of the show.