A friend in the biz lent me a screener of FOX’s hyped new legal drama, Justice, which debuts tonight at 9PM and is being called by some CSI Lawyers. That’s a pretty accurate description, as it’s from CSI producer Jerry "Boom!" Bruckheimer, and he’s now doing for high-powered celebrity litigators what has already been done for lowly forensic officers: wooshy, CGI-aided zooms (and wooshy sound effects); hyperkinetic editing and supersaturated colors; a beautiful cast with perfect hair and clothes.
Unlike CSI (the original; I’ve never seen Miami or NY), Justice is pretty much total crap. Those wooshy zooms are gratuitous here and the camera movements in general tended to make me a little queasy. And it features some of the most stilted expository dialogue I’ve heard in recent memory. Maybe someone accidentally gave star Victor Garber the cast description to read as dialogue in this scene where he addresses his team to prep for a case:
"Tom’s first chair — the good-looking face of Not Guilty. Alden will take the physical evidence — nobody takes scientific testimony like you or scares expert witnesses more. Luther, get inside the DA’s head. You know how they think. Figure out what he’s going to prove and tear it up!"
That’s about as clever as it gets. The interesting stuff is the background machinations — jury selection, mock trials, the forensics, focus-groups, etc — but this is old hat, especially if you’ve seen The Runaway Jury or watched Murder One, ABC’s much better take on celebrity trials from the mid-’90s. The best part comes at the end of the episode when you find out what really happened. But chances are by then you’ve already tuned out. But it’s still probably better than Vanished.