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November 26, 2014

I Watched the 'Harry's Law' Season Premiere So You Don't Have To

by Maggie Furlong, posted Sep 21st 2011 3:15PM
Harry's Law'Harry's Law' sounded like a great idea in theory: Take the proven success of a quirky David E. Kelley legal drama (who didn't love 'Boston Legal' and 'Ally McBeal'?), add Kathy Bates in her first series regular TV role ever and voila, right? Wrong.

While I admittedly didn't watch the entire first season of the show last year (it was that bad), I saw enough to know that the show was very proud of going over the top in a way that men dressed as flamingos and women hallucinating dancing babies would shake their heads at.

Harriet Korn's legal office-slash-shoe shop, her ragtag team and her insatiable need to disrupt courtrooms with nonsense asides and clever comebacks were truly cringe-worthy at times.

But somehow, the show is back for a second season, with some castmembers leaving, a few tweaks and several fresh faces to hopefully turn things around. Will it work? I took one for the team and watched tonight's 'Harry's Law' Season 2 premiere (Wed., Sept. 21, 9PM ET on NBC) so you don't have to.

WHAT'S NEW?
Bring It Here
Mark Valley is no stranger to Kelley's offbeat style, having put in several years at Crane, Poole and Schmidt on 'Boston Legal.' Here he plays Oliver Richard, an old colleague of Harry's who she not-so-lovingly calls Ollie. Yes, Ollie and Harriet ... except without the laughs. After 'Human Target' got axed, I really wish he'd gone for a role on a shiny new show like 'Pan Am' or even taken the lead in 'Playboy Club' from Jon Hamm wannabe Eddie Cibrian. Oh well ... hopefully he'll be free again soon.

Lose the Shoes
There's a shiny new office space underground, so the shoe stuff and legal stuff will no longer mix. (Read: The shoe stuff is kind of no longer part of the show.)

The Sex Factor
Tony Award winner Karen Olivo -- who romanced Will (Josh Charles) on 'The Good Wife' for a few episodes -- has also joined the cast. We meet her character Cassie Reynolds, an ex-DA, in the season premiere.

Where's Malcolm?
Harry addresses the absence of a Season 1 staple, Malcolm (Aml Ameen), by noting that he is in school, and she wants him to stay there. Malcolm was the ex-con-turned-suicidal roof jumper who landed on Harry (literally) and helped set her new career in motion; Ameen was one of last season's series regulars who will no longer be on the show.

Thomas Jefferson
Christopher McDonald, who played loud-mouthed lawyer Tommy Jefferson last season, is now a series regular and sharing an office with Harry. He also seems to be a bit blonder. So there's more of that.

WHAT'S THE SAME?
Big Guest Stars
No matter what, this show pulls in some huge names, with Alfred Molina playing a suspected killer in the season premiere, and Jean Smart playing rival attorney "Hosanna" Roseanna, a who likes to crack jokes about Harry's age. (Note: in real life, Bates is only three years older than Smart.)

Dumb Cases
The season premiere fails to deliver a big grab-new-viewers case, with a dumb intellectual property suit that attempts to pull at some heartstrings instead. Unsuccessfully.

Brittany Snow
Yep, ditzy assistant Jenna (Brittany Snow) is still around for the premiere, although we barely see her -- guess they're choosing to slowly edge her out entirely instead of just firing her or making up a reason why she's gone. Both Snow and Ameen were demoted to just a few guest spots this season, but I didn't watch any more episodes to see exactly when they'll say goodbye.

Nate Corddry
Corddry is the only one of Harry's old employees that's sticking around, but with little to say or do in the premiere and so much of his comedic talents going to waste, he (still) deserves better.

WHAT'S THE VERDICT?
As one of flailing NBC's highest-rated new dramas of last season, we can sort of understand why they'd opt to bring it back (especially since it probably was a trade-off for not picking up Kelley's horrific 'Wonder Woman' reboot), but Kelley tends to operate on an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy, and unfortunately no amount of cast changes or tweaks can fix this broken show.

Tell us: Do you like 'Harry's Law'? Will you tune in for Season 2?

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47 Comments

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tmmysten1

Well...although I liked the first season better, I still find myself enjoying the second season enough to keep watching.

November 09 2011 at 10:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
brndmccr

I have loved Harry's Law from the very beginning and I wish it had not changed to the more glossy version. The show was real in the beginning but it seems the shows on TV are quite unreal. The show does not need to be dumbed down and you can lose the sex factor, it is quite annoying. I live in a major metropolitan area and I don't see women walking around with their breasts displayed but it is rampant on TV. Quite unreal. There are porn sites that serve that purpose and network TV is not the place for it. I will continue watching Harry's Law because it is still better than most TV shows and I enjoy it despite the changes.

November 06 2011 at 10:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
brndmccr

I have loved Harry's Law from the very beginning and would have liked for it to not have changed as it has. I don't need the sex factor, actually, it is very annoying. The show was real but then do we really live in a real world anymore? That's the bigger problem.

November 06 2011 at 10:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeannette

Yes, I plan to watch it. I mostly record it and watch when and if I can. It's better than other shows. I like most of the cast.

October 29 2011 at 5:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fifiwereking

RUINED THE SHOW... i loved harry's law last season... it was quirky but solid, with the great mix of really white people learning some lessons from the street, teaching some lessons as well... now it's just another law show with a great lead... where's malcolm and his budding romance with jenna? where's lovable nate with his romance issues? who needs another venal ex-da?.... don't think i'll be watching it anymore

October 25 2011 at 3:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
londonsmommie522

I am totally hating the second season of Harry's Law aka Cinny Legal. It's really too bad that they got rid of the regular cast. It worked and it worked well. Tommy Jefferson is NO Denny Crane. Maybe Tommy has Mad Cow. This series even went as far as casting the guy who held Shirley hostage(remember freaky guy w/ the voice and glasses). Please, just cancel the show now.

October 23 2011 at 4:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rj1519

Shame last year the show had color figuratively and literally. Now it's just another white lawyer show. I watched a little of one and realized that I'm sick and tired of seeing only white people on shows - I may be white but I live in a diverse world.

October 19 2011 at 8:37 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Lea

What the hell happened to all the Black people??! LMAO...they completely ruined this show. I found the first season different and interesting. I will not be watching it anymore.

October 19 2011 at 12:39 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
ajujube246

Ruined a good thing. The best part about the show (first season) was the characters' interactions, the fresh feel of the blue collar/regular people cases they took, and the diversity of cast and storyline. Now it's just another white collar legal show that's already been done.

October 16 2011 at 12:29 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
zphidiva

At first I thought I was watching the wrong show. What made "Harry's Law" any good was the shoe store, the urban feel and Kathy Bate's gun. So they whitened the cast and quit the quirk. I unseason passed it on my dvr. What's the point of watching?

October 13 2011 at 12:52 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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