Bluff City Law – A Spoiler-Free Pilot review

Everything seemed bleak and hopeless after the announcement of Suits’ end: could any legal drama replace that witty and iconic show? The answer is simple: no, nothing can top it, but Bluff City Law seems like it has the potential to get close to Suits’ level.

At first glance, Bluff City Law doesn’t look like it has much to boast beside the fact that it stars Jimmy Smits—an Emmy and Golden Globe-winning TV legend— as Elijah Strait. Lacking originality and the innovative flair of legal shows like Better Call Saul and How to Get Away with Murder, what’s the point of watching it? The main characters are Dad, who cheated on Mom and yet still tries to play the moral high ground, and Daughter (Sydney Strait played by Caitlin McGee), who inevitably hates Dad—but not for long. It looks like a show that does the bare minimum for its characters, and instead, focuses on the courtroom drama.

However, in the second half of the pilot when Sydney finally gets to her dad’s firm, things seem to pick up to the benefit of the viewer and the show. It introduces the rest of the ensemble cast and makes the leads, Sydney and Elijah, more than their horribly generic tropes. While Sydney has her anger issues and is afraid of losing—like any great lawyer (Harvey Specter, am I right?)—she still has a good head on her shoulders and will protect her firm even if they seem to hate her. Although Elijah tries to throw his moral compass down on everything he touches, he’s working on himself and that’s what matters. As it goes on, it feels less and less of a burden to watch, and you actually feel like something might happen. The show has potential! It was just running behind in the race for the first twenty minutes.

BLUFF CITY LAW — “Pilot” Episode 101 — Pictured: (l-r) Caitlin McGee as Sydney Strait, Michael Luwoye as Anthony Little, Jimmy Smits as Elijah Strait — (Photo by: Jake Giles Netter/NBC)

There’s hardly any moments for laughter in this show— it doesn’t seem like the type. The tensions build up until they eventually explode at the end. If you’ve followed any legal drama, you can guess how it plays out (hint: it’s predictable), but it’s still a satisfying conclusion. Overall, I feel that the pilot ends on a good note— especially because of its little bit of humor which tries to hook you into watching episode two. Although my first impressions weren’t great, this show has potential and I think it’s worth it to follow along.

Bluff City Law premieres Monday September 23rd, 9/23, on NBC at 10/9c.

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