Lead char­ac­ters make the case for ‘Truth’

Los Angeles Times - - Calendar - ROBERT LLOYD

“The Whole Truth,” which pre­mieres Wed­nes­day on ABC, of­fers Maura Tier­ney as New York City pros­e­cu­tor Kathryn Peale and Rob Mor­row as go-to de­fense at­tor­ney Jimmy Bro­gan, who, like Perry Ma­son and his per­pet­ual op­pos­ing coun­sel Hamil­ton Burger, in­cred­i­bly find them­selves locked in weekly op­po­si­tion. The novel twist is that some­times one will win and some­times the other.

Jerry Bruck­heimer is the pro­ducer, and most of what goes on here is a few clicks louder than life. Apart from the con­cept it­self — which, though it beats at your head like an an­gry bird, is cer­tainly air­wor­thy — the main at­trac­tions are Tier­ney and Mor­row, who keep their own vol­ume at a rea­son­able level, even when made to say things like “Fas­ten your seat belt, Jimmy” and “Game on, Katie. Bring it!”

All their best scenes are with one an­other and have less to do with what­ever case they’re con­test­ing than with their shared per­sonal his­tory — the char­ac­ters are old friends, maybe lovers — and teas­ingly sug­gested fu­ture. The crimes, by con­trast, are not par­tic­u­larly com­pelling, even when they are sen­sa­tional, and feel in­vented merely to let the stars talk.

The show pro­ceeds in cross-cut par­al­lels and mir­ror im­ages. She has a rep­u­ta­tion for “ter­ri­fy­ing” her staff; he shoots pool with his, in the of­fice.

“You’ve got me and ev­ery­thing in my tool­box to de­fend you against this witch hunt,” Jimmy swears to a teacher ac­cused of mur­der­ing a stu­dent.

“I will use ev­ery le­gal means in my power to con­vict your daugh­ter’s killer,” Kathryn as­sures the griev­ing par­ents. And to each other: “Miss Peale, I re­mem­ber when you were try­ing to­ken suck­ers in Mis­de­meanor­land.”

“I re­mem­ber when you were bag­ging un­der­grads in off-cam­pus hous­ing.” And so on. To­ken-suck­ing, by the way, is a now-ob­so­lete, disgusting method of get­ting on the sub­way free. (And Mis­de­meanor­land is not a real place.)

Dur­ing the clos­ing ar­gu­ments, we flash back to clips of ear­lier tes­ti­mony, prompt­ing us to de­cide which we trust, as if we our­selves were on the jury. Which, of course, we are.

robert.lloyd@latimes.com

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