June 11, 2013



KING & MAXWELL:  Monday 10PM on TNT – Change the Channel

Jon Tenney and Rebecca Romijn are an attractive, appealing pair of series leads, but they’re not enough to make the markedly sub-par new procedural KING & MAXWELL worth watching.  Even by TNT’s usually unadventurous summer standards, this is a show that never should have gotten out of development.

Sean King (Tenney) and Michelle Maxwell (Romijn) are former Secret Service agents who were both (separately) drummed out when his protectee was killed and hers was kidnapped on their respective watches.  King fell into the bottle until being rescued by an attorney who straightened him out so he could get a law degree and eventually partner with Maxwell as a private detective (we don’t know her backstory yet).  They bicker and banter and have colorful habits (she has a waterside home and rows to the office), and they each pretend not to notice how gorgeous the other one is, even when she’s showering with the bathroom door open at his place.  These characters were created by the bestselling writer David Baldacci, and let’s do him the favor of assuming there’s more to them on the page than there is in this show.

The series, and pilot script, is credited to Shane Brennan, a veteran of several CSI and NCIS series (he created NCIS: LA), but this script is just awful, with a plot that takes off from the murder of King’s attorney mentor and ends with a ludicrous, nearly incoherent solution to the crime (it involves a framed serial killer and national security satellite surveillance)–yet still makes the identity of the killer instantly obvious as soon as the character is introduced.  The plotting is so sloppy that repeatedly in the course of the pilot some piece of exposition has to be post-dubbed onto a shot of the back of someone’s head, because without those attempts to explain gaping holes in the plot, it would make no sense at all.  The only regulars apart from King & Maxwell appear to be a pair of FBI agents, of whom the one with the more evident stick up his ass is played by Michael O’Keefe.  Michael Katleman directs the pilot professionally enough (there’s a decent car vs bus chase at the very start), but there’s not much any director could have done with this material.

Tenney and Romijn deserve better.  Their charm and ability to convey intelligence are wasted here, and even their rapport feels warmed-over in this context.  Standards may be low in the summer, but they’re not this low; it’s really saying something when a TNT viewer starts feeling nostalgic for Franklin & Bash while watching the network’s newest arrival.


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."