July 25, 2018

SHOWBUZZDAILY Series Premiere Review: “Burden of Truth”


BURDEN OF TRUTH:  Wednesday 8PM on CW

This summer’s crop of original broadcast dramas (Reverie, Take Two, The Outpost) has been notably bad, and in that context, CW’s new Canadian import, the straightforward legal drama BURDEN OF TRUTH, comes as something of a relief.

The set-up is a much tamer version of the one that puts Sharp Objects into motion:  once again, a professional woman in her thirties who’s left her small town roots behind has to go back home in connection with a mystery, only to discover that her family has secrets she didn’t know about.  In the case of rising attorney Joanna Hanley (Kristin Kreuk), the trip relates to a mysterious malady that’s stricken the town’s teen girls with spasms and neural disorders.  Joanna’s arrival is mostly greeted with suspicion and hostility, because she’s there to represent the vaccine maker that the parents believe is responsible for their children’s illness, and because she makes it clear she’s there to do a job and get some quick settlements signed, and she doesn’t much care whether her clients are in the wrong or not.

But this is comfort food television, so by the end of the opening hour, written by series creator Brad Simpson and directed by Jeff Woolnough, Joanna has not only genuinely cleared her client, but rediscovered her conscience, and she decides to stay in Millwood to find out what’s afflicting the town’s girls.  Also, she’s curious about why her father, the managing partner of her corporate firm, really did leave town all those years ago.  Plus it probably doesn’t hurt that the local counsel representing the girls is Billy Crawford (Peter Mooney), with whom she has a high school past.

This isn’t subtle stuff, and the characters tend to make speeches at each other instead of revealing things more gradually.  Joanna’s journey from crisp corporate tool to caring counsel seems to take place during a commercial break.  Woolnough’s by-the-numbers direction doesn’t always show the younger performers at their best advantage.  But Kreuk, who’s been starring in TV series for almost a nonstop decade, is a polished performer (and better cast here than as a tough NYPD detective, as she was in Beauty & the Beast), and the show’s workmanlike procession through a familiar story is a reminder that old pageturners still work.

Burden of Truth wouldn’t make much of a ripple in a more competitive part of the television year–and airing as a summer series on CW, it probably won’t anyway–but it’s a pleasant, professional way to spend an off-season hour that doesn’t put undue pressure on itself or on viewers.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."