July 6, 2014

THE SKED Pilot + 1 Review: “Reckless”


RECKLESS:  Sunday 9PM on CBS

A lot can happen between the creation of a TV pilot and the production of regular episodes: writer/producers may be hired or fired, audience focus groups weigh in, networks and studios (which may have had their own turnover) give plenty of notes, helpful and otherwise, and critics start to rear their ugly heads. Tone, pace, casting, and even story can change. Here at THE SKED, we’re going to look past the pilots and present reviews of the first regular season episodes as well.

Previously… on RECKLESS:  In an ever-steamy version of Charleston, new City Attorney and general good old boy Roy Rayder (Cam Gigandet) constantly locks horns with Yankee lawyer Jamie Sawyer (Anna Wood).  One of her clients is ex-cop Lee Anne Marcus (Georgina Haig), who’s suing the department after being fired when sexy photos of her made the e-mail rounds of her colleagues–while her boyfriend, fellow cop Terry McCandless (Shawn Hatosy), kept his job.  More seriously, a video has surfaced in which a drugged Lee Anne has sex with several of the cops.  What Jamie doesn’t know is that the video has been edited to remove her own boyfriend, Detective Preston Cruz (Adam Rodriguez).

Episode 2:  The second hour of Reckless, written by series creator Dana Stevens and directed by John Gray, introduced a few new elements.  The most staggeringly unconvincing of them was the suggestion that Cruz took part in the gang-rape because he’s actually undercover, investigating the corrupt McCandless, and needed to gain the bad cop’s confidence.  It’s hard to imagine how this could play out in any way that would make sense, but meanwhile, in the course of the episode Roy told Jamie about Cruz’s presence on the video (although his copy was mysteriously interfered with, so he couldn’t show her the proof), and while she put up a brave front to Roy, she’s now suspicious of her boyfriend.  Also, Lee Anne has acquired a bitter paraplegic husband (injured in Iraq, because Reckless doesn’t believe in sidestepping cliches) who’s figured out that his wife and McCandless were having an affair.

The case of the week was skeletal:  Jamie’s client was a woman in the middle of a fierce custody battle with her ex-husband, who was naturally represented by Roy.  (Apparently, in Charleston being City Attorney isn’t a full-time job.)  When the woman was fired upon in her house, the only possible suspects were her smarmy ex, the ex’s girlfriend and the woman herself, and since the first was an obvious red herring and the second had been arrested for the crime halfway through the episode (so it couldn’t be her), it was obviously going to be Jamie’s client, although the circumstances of the “fake” shooting made that completely illogical.  But whatever:  it’s clear that Reckless isn’t going to place a premium on logic.

Reckless is so badly written (there’s a nerdy IT expert who obsessively uses hand sanitizer, because again, the show is a friend to all cliches) that it could only work if there was spectacular chemistry between the leads, but that’s far from the case here.  The show keeps throwing Gigandet and Wood into scenes together (she tends to visit his house late at night for legal consultations) in the hope of showcasing some flirty magnetism that so far is sadly and completely absent.  The only potentially interesting character is Lee Anne, and that’s not enough.

Reckless had an awful start in the ratings last week, and there’s little to suggest that it has much potential for growth.  Everything that The Good Wife does right as a sexy network legal serial, Reckless is doing wrong.  It’s in contempt of its viewers.

ORIGINAL VERDICT:  Change the Channel

PILOT + 1:  Two Words:  Sunday Cable

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."