The Whole Truth Series Premiere Review & Discussion

Published 5 years ago by , Updated October 10th, 2010 at 5:34 pm,

the whole truth series premiere The Whole Truth Series Premiere Review & Discussion

ABC is kicking off tonight with their one and only legal drama of the season, The Whole Truth. In the past ABC has been extremely successful with their legal procedurals. From The Practice to Boston Legal, ABC has been known to bring unique and refreshing twists to one of television’s favorite genres. Dubbed as “a new kind of legal drama,” The Whole Truth promises to bring something that’s never been seen before on primetime television.

Unfortunately, the people who made that promise have never seen Fox’s short-lived series, Justice. While nowhere near identical, both series have somewhat of the same hook – you don’t know until the end whether the defendant is guilty or innocent.

Set as a more episodic based series rather than serial, The Whole Truth creator, Tom Donaghy, wanted viewers to be able to watch this series at their leisure without having to worry about having to catch up if they happened to miss an episode.

Like any new series, The Whole Truth is not without its problems. After shooting the pilot, the female lead, Joely Richardson, left the series for personal reasons. Thankfully, Maura Tierney stepped up to replace Richardson – something that Donaghy considered a blessing as he had Tierney in mind for that role when he created the series.


While The Whole True does have some slight similarities to Fox’s ill-faded series Justice, this show does separate itself from other legal dramas by showing both sides of the legal proceedings. As most series attempt to deliver a single storyline of either convicting or defending a particular client, it’s refreshing to see series that attempts to deliver the same story from multiple angles.

THE WHOLE TRUTH 550x309 The Whole Truth Series Premiere Review & Discussion

A risky move, no doubt, as a series that splits its focus is forced to maintain a high quality of writing, as that’s the only way to perfectly balance both sides – something that I’m happy to say The Whole True does flawlessly. The use of the prosecution and the defense as a means to tell a story allows viewers to become involved with both sides of the case. In addition, the ambiguity of the defendant’s actual guilt means that viewers are able to become more invested in the story and have even more of a reason to stick it out til the end.

Thankfully, the writers have given viewers such a reason as this series provides a fully-realized story that totally supports a case for the defense and the prosecution. While the use of quick-cuts and flash transitions are somewhat overused, it really helps to set the pace of the series. No longer are viewers waiting til the fourth act to see an expected outcome. Instead, they’re enthralled with seeing whether the prosecution or the defense is going to be the first to find the next piece of information that helps support their case.

Of course, great writing means nothing if you don’t have a talented cast to support it. While Rob Morrow and Maura Tierney both play extremely charismatic characters who, no doubt, play into the show’s favor, each of them are given a team that is equally as talented. Hopefully, as this series progresses, each of those supporting characters will get their time to shine and become as fully developed as the two leads.

In the end, The Whole Truth is less about the actual guilt or innocence of the defendant and more about the journey of the defense and the prosecution attempting to solidify a win.

the whole truth series premiere cast 570x320 The Whole Truth Series Premiere Review & Discussion

Final Thoughts

The Whole Truth is an entertaining legal drama that is very reminiscent of the short-lived Fox drama Justice. While the promise of bringing something completely new to the legal procedural may have been a little of, it certainly provides a refreshing change of pace.


The Whole Truth airs Wednesday’s @10pm, on ABC

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  1. Watching the very end of the show, I saw the daughter find the crucifix in a book. I assumed it was her father’s book, proving his guilt. Correct assumption?

    • Correct. The crucifix was in an address book, which was placed inside a family photo album on the book shelf in the father’s office.


    • The daughter was packing and smiling indicating satisfaction with the verdict. She incriminated her father and seemed pleased with herself. I interpreted it that she went to the book because she knew exactly where the crucifix was. I couldn’t tell what kind of book it was (diary, address book??). Ofcourse, I was about to fall asleep.

  2. It was hard to read the outside of the book. Was it the fathers little black book or was it someone else’s (e.g. the mother’s or daughter’s)?

  3. Love seeing Rob Morrow in this kind of role, and the show moves fast and was fun to watch.

  4. Moira Kelly? hahahaha
    She´s Tierney, Maura Tierney

    • Great review but I was thinking the same thing: Maura Tierney not Moira Kelly. I’m surprised that error hasn’t been corrected by now.

      • Ugh, thanks for pointing that out. Just corrected it.


  5. I think the daughter (Skyler Day) did it. She played a convincing part. I hope to see more of her.

  6. Having both the prosecuting DA and the defense lawyer and their entourages play driven control freaks with machine gun dialogue was tiring. Then the unclear ending (was it the father or smiling daughter who was guilty?) added frustration to the hour’s effort. Maura Tierny’s butch haircut draws attention to her strange cartoon like lips.

    • Maura Tierney’s “butch haircut” is due to having lost ALL of her hair as a result of chemotherapy to treat breast cancer. A little respect please.

      • My thoughts exactly. It’s not a hair cut. Tierney just survived cancer. And she looks gorgeous no matter what her hair length is.

        • Mel, I couldn’t agree with you more!

  7. To me it was clear at the very end that the father did it. During the episode it was difficult to decide because Glen Sellards was so convincing that he was innocent, even after they discovered the viagra and prostitutes, plus, he seemed like a nice guy. But at the end when the daughter was looking through her fathers office, then his photo book (she was smiling at the family pictures) and suddenly came across the address book with the bloody cross, she had a look of shock. At that point it was confirmed that the father was indeed the killer.

  8. I thought is was the daughter, thought I conclude is was her book she opened, I can’t imagine putting it in her father’s book because he could of found it and supected someone in the house, good cliff hanger though

  9. Thank you for such an intelligent analysis of The Whole Truth. I loved the show, and as an attorney, I am glad to see such an intelligent twist on the legal drama genre. The show is really well written, and the balancing of the evidence — showing how each side has a different perspective on the same fact — is nothing short of brilliant.
    Morrow & Tierney are first class actors who have intriguing chemistry.
    LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!

  10. Interesting review – but I think you mean to say “defendant” each time you write “plaintiff” “…..

    • Bill,

      Doh! Nice catch. Review has been corrected, thanks.


  11. I think that the prosecutor is a really unlikable character. I don’t know if she’s trying to make her character seem like a b*tch or if she’s trying for strong but missing the point entirely. She just seems annoying.

  12. Ok- I don’t know if they mean to be ambiguous in the ending leaving a uncertain feeling of “who done it?” or if it should be black and white and I am missing it. Either way, I do find myself drawn to the characters and like the overall writing of the show. This is my new fall favorite! By the way, I am thinking the boyfriend did it last night, correct?

  13. I don’t know if they are trying to be ambiguous in the end and you are to guess “who done it” or it is black and white and I am missing it. Either way, I do find myself drawn to the characters and like their chemistry. I find it well written and entertaining – my new favorite fall show! By the way, I am assuming the boyfriend “did it” last night although finding the hat at her house kind of threw me off.

    • I think they were living together or at least right beside one another and he did it while she fell asleep on the ferry. That is why he hid the hat at the end. She was not guilty but he was. They just charged the wrong person.

  14. The Whole Truth is a great show that I have enjoyed watching for the past two weeks. In the first episode it is clear that the father was lying about not killing the young victim (in which he did) and the daughter found the crucifix in his little black book inside the photo album. I am looking forward to next weeks episode. The ratings have not been awesome but they’ve been decent. Please don’t cancel!

  15. Refreshing and Entertaining and hopefully ABC will give it a different spot on the Schedule so it doesn’t fall by the wayside opposite LOLA and The Defenders. Nothing could compete with those two. Hopefully the Whole Truth will get its stay of sentencing!

  16. I like the concept of the show.
    I do not like the acting of the character called Edge. Not realistic at all for a D.A.
    I think some of banter between Morrow & Tierney is a little much. To much wise cracking & not enough seriousness.

  17. I love the show. I think it is interesting how it gives you both sides of the same situation giving you both points of view and how the defense and prosecution come to their conclusions. Great writing!

  18. I Love the program, Is it over?
    I hope it is not over.
    Where can I get more information on the coming episodes. I ned to tive it!

  19. Just heard it was cancelled! I’m really disappointed, thought it was a brilliant concept and really lured the audience by making them feel like they were participating in the judgment. It was refreshing to watch something that wasn’t CSI or one of the “12″ Law and Orders (come on really???? Talk about overkill)! I wish they would have tried another day or time slot so they weren’t competing with the new wonder The Defenders or the addictive, sit on the edge of your seat, Criminal Minds. I would have been a fan, and will be for the next 9 episodes, or so they’ve promised!

  20. I can’t believe all the shows I perceived to be “good ones” have been canceled. What’s that say about my taste? First they took away ER, then last season I lost Flash Forward & Mercy, and now they’ve taken away Outlaw & The Whole Truth. Even with all the courtroom dramas on TV now, I really enjoyed this show & the few episodes aired so far. I just hope the rest of the season will air as well.