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This season ‘The Whole Truth’, ‘Outlaw’ and ‘The Defenders’ form the new legal dramas of fall preparing to battle it out in the ratings courtroom.

Check out our reviews of which of the new legal dramas of fall stand out among the pack and which will be packing up their briefcase in the very immediate future.

‘The Whole Truth’

On ABC, ‘The Whole Truth’, a different kind of legal drama courtesy of creator and producer Tom Donaghy, will clock in at 10 p.m. slot on Wednesdays.

Starring Rob Morrow as defense attorney Jimmy Brogan and Maura Tierney as prosecutor Kathryn Peale, the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced drama takes you behind the scenes as both sides prepare for war in the courtroom.

In the first episode, they take on the murder of a teenage girl and the high school history teacher that supposedly killed her, and while equal amounts of time is devoted to watching the defense and prosecutor line up witnesses and prepare arguments, it quickly becomes an idea that fared better on paper.

Morrow is likable in his role and even when his back is against the wall, you still find yourself rooting for him to come out victorious. Tierney, however, doesn’t quite find the strength boldly needed for the portrayal her character.

Other characters include Lena Boudreaux (Christine Adams) and Alejo Salazar (Anthony Ruivivar), who make up Brogan’s team, and Terrence Edgecomb (Eamonn Walker) and Chad Griffin (Sean Wing) as a part of Peale’s defense.


In the special premiere episode of ‘Outlaw’, Cyrus Garza (Jimmy Smits) is a Supreme Court Justice that steps down from the bench to return to private practice defending average and everyday criminals.

Racked with guilt over an accident, which he survived, but claimed his father’s life, you get a sense that Garza is doing this just as much for the legacy of his father, who often disagreed with his rulings, as much as he is doing it for himself.

His legal team consists of brilliant attorney Al Druzinsky (David Ramsey), law clerk Mereta Stockman (Ellen Davis Woglom), private investigator Lucinda Pearl (Carly Pope) and ambitious Yale graduate Eddie Franks (Jesse Bradford).

With their help Garza takes on the case of Beals (RZA), a man falsely sentenced to death row, who he granted a retrial with his tie-breaking ruling in his last stand.

The John Eisendrath script, which actually has a good plot, can feel rushed and the portrayal of the leading man as a supposed playboy is often hard to buy.

That said, Smits has the talented to play a character of this magnitude, so you often realize, the problems lie within the script, more than in his performance as an actor. As it has often been said, you can only work with what you are given.

‘The Defenders’

Over at CBS, James Belushi and Jerry O’Connell star as Las Vegas attorneys Nick Morelli and Pete Kaczmarek, who are referred to as ‘The Defenders’.

Morelli is the senior partner going through a shaky divorce, while Kaczmarek is a playboy, who secretly has eyes for the sexy district attorney (Natalie Zea).

In their first case, the comedy-infused duo with the help of their latest hire Lisa Tyler, played by Jurnee Smollett, defend a young man, who accidentally killed another man, while trying to protect his brother from being brutally beaten.

Through Belushi and O’Connell the pilot episode finds the accurate balance of comedy and antics to match the un-serious nature of its Las Vegas setting, and what helps even more is that despite the humor, the antics are just as witty and clever as the two over-the-top stars delivering them.

To put it simply, none of the new legal dramas of fall match last season’s breakout hit ‘The Good Wife’ in either writing or its always impeccable leading lady Julianna Margulies, who brilliantly portrays Alicia Florrick.

That aside, a standout does emerge in ‘The Defenders’, which finds the accurate balance of comedy and law to develop a unique and enjoyable combination. (B)

‘The Whole Truth’ arguably has the better plot given it does provide two opposing views that have previously went unseen, but the execution is so poor that it creates an uphill battle for itself in terms of keeping your attention.(C-)

‘Outlaw’, on the same hand, just plays it too safe in terms of the case and the back stories that they choose to reveal in the first episode, but it does best ‘The Whole Truth’, in terms of the chemistry that is shared with the characters. (C)

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