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.
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 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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