June 18, 2013

THE SKED PILOT + 1 REVIEW: “King & Maxwell”


KING & MAXWELL:  Monday 10PM on TNT

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 KING & MAXWELL:  Sean King (Jon Tenney) and Michelle Maxwell (Rebecca Romjin) are disgraced former Secret Service agents (an assassination and a kidnapping happened on their respective watches) who’ve formed a partnership as DC-area private detectives.  They interact with straight-men FBI agents Rigby (Michael O’Keefe) and Carter (Chris Butler) while solving sundry crimes and being adorably not-a-couple.

Episode 2:  The only significant change from the pilot is that Edgar (Ryan Hurst), the–depending how you look at it–either autistic or comic weirdo computer/financial genius who Sean and Michelle cleared of murder charges, now works for them as their hacker in residence, doing cutesy things like turning Sean’s door into a desk and keeping a potted flower in his briefcase.

Aside from that, the second episode of King & Maxwell, written by series creator Shane Brennan and directed by Tony Wharmby, is more of the same.  Whether this all goes back to the David Baldacci novels that inspired the series, or it’s Brennan’s own doing, what distinguishes the show so far from the usual run of mediocre TV procedurals is just how abysmally plotted it is.  Tonight’s episode turned on an Eastern European politician who’d raped a girl the last time he was in the US, when Michelle was on his security detail (she had him arrested, but the State Department set him free).  Now he’s back in town, and not one but two conspiracies are going on around him, each more far-fetched and downright silly than the last.  King and Maxwell quip up a storm as they, and Edgar, put the ludicrous links of the plots together, and it’s all completely bland, with no suspense and nothing going on to engage the viewer.

Tenney and Romijn are pleasant to have around, but King & Maxwell is fundamentally wretched (even the Canadian locations make little effort to suggest the real Washington DC).  Nevertheless, it appears to be what TNT wanted, since the network left things more or less as is.  The show had a mediocre start in the ratings last week with a 0.6 (down from 0.9 for its Major Crimes lead-in), but if it could hold there, it might survive at the low end of TNT’s acceptable curve.  Any slippage, though, and King & Maxwell is likely to go where it belongs, which is to the bottom of the resumes of all concerned.

ORIGINAL VERDICT:  Change the Channel

PILOT + 1:  There Must Be A “Law & Order” Rerun On Somewhere


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."