June 29, 2014

PREMIERING TONIGHT: THE SKED Pilot Review – “Reckless”


RECKLESS:  Sunday 9PM on CBS – If Nothing Else Is On…

In the Charleston of CBS’s summer potboiler RECKLESS, it seems like just about everyone is sleeping with everyone else, or wants to.  That absurdly overheated quality is the most likable thing about what’s otherwise a fairly conventional legal procedural, which comes from a pair of soap specialists in writer Dana Stevens (last year’s feature Safe Haven and the earlier City of Angels, as well as ABC’s 2007 drama What About Brian) and director Catherine Hardwicke (the original Twilight).

Our extremely good-looking leads are newly-appointed City Attorney Roy (Cam Gigandet, another Twilight veteran) and sharp defense lawyer Jamie (Anna Wood).  Roy, who’s in the process of getting divorced, has a picturesque fixer-upper cabin with a deep-water pier for the boat he pilots to work each morning (which he likes to paint shirtlessly) and a cooler for his beers waiting on the dock; Jamie is a cool, big-city Chicago litigator who’s got a local homicide detective boyfriend (Adam Rodriguez–his high-profile presence in such a seemingly background role isn’t explained until the very end of the pilot), but that doesn’t keep her from smoldering whenever she’s in Roy’s vicinity.  The two of them tangle on standard TV cases while flirting shamelessly, and the mystery in the pilot doesn’t raise one’s hopes very much for this part of the show, being both unconvincing and by-the-book.  Meanwhile, in what will be the serialized area of the story, Lee Anne (Georgina Haig, last seen as the futuristic daughter in the final season of Fringe), is fired from the Charleston police force after an affair with scummy fellow cop Trey (Shawn Hatosy), and hires Jamie to sue the city for wrongful termination, in a case that will uncover enough dirty secrets to make everyone in town clutch at their pearls and fan themselves with abandon.

Perhaps that storyline will make Reckless a bit more compelling, but for now, it’s very familiar stuff.  Wood, Gigandet and Haig are all fashion-model beautiful (there’s a bit where Roy asks Jamie why he never sees her sweat in the Charleston heat, and it’s meant to be another touch of banter, but he never has a hair out of place either), there are an assortment of apparent and likely baddies (watch out for Gregory Harrison as the head of Roy’s firm) to cause numerous plot complications, enough faux-Southern atmosphere to make everyone connected with Treme want to kill themselves, and not a lot of brain cells expended in the overall effort.

In a way, Reckless is a more natural CBS legal series than The Good Wife, with the same general high-beam sexual tension and legal squabbles, but without the first-rate writing and thematic ambition that makes Good Wife stand out from everything else on the network (hell, at this point from almost everything else on broadcast television).  There’s nothing special or very promising about Reckless, but for undemanding summer audiences who still don’t know how to operate their cable boxes on Sunday nights, it could find a moderate audience looking for a way to waste an hour.  The ability to find and manufacture that kind of product is a big part of what’s made CBS the network it is.

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."