Tuesday, August 09, 2005


The Law Firm, Episode Two: Witness to an Injustice

NBC has announced that it is canceling the remaining episodes of the Law Firm (thanks to Evan Schaeffer for the link). The announcement came before I had a chance to finish and post my review of Episode Two. I include the portion of my review that I was able to finish, in memoriam:

Like millions of Americans, I watched in shock and horror as Elizabeth was fired on the second episode of The Law Firm. Olivier's survival, after calling an arbitrator's decision "bullshit" to his face, is irrefutable evidence that the producers, and not Roy Black, are calling the shots on who gets fired. Olivier is an annoying, arrogant, whiny baby but his presence creates what passes for drama on reality t.v. The decison not to fire him was a transparent ratings grab that disgusted me so much I am now rooting for the show to fail just to prove that the American viewing public isn't as base as NBC thinks it is.

There is no question that Anika should have been fired for screwing up the defense team's strategy in the Terrorist case by trying to paint the plaintiff, Brad Graves, as a dangerous man, rather than characterizing the whole incident as a silly joke that went wrong.

The main problem I had with the episode is that it sacrificed clarity for melodrama. It failed to explain the legal standards that applied to each case, focusing instead on the more salacious or sensationalist aspects of the cases.

And so we waive goodbye to another bad reality tv show. I thought that, despite its flaws, it would be a big hit. Maybe it will have a second life on Bravo, but for now, it was not meant to be.

Afterthought: It occurs to me that NBC may have pulled the plug, not just because of ratings but because of all the legal and ethical concerns that have been raised by critics of the show. Maybe they are concerned about liability.

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