Summer 2014 Review: The Divide

22 Aug

The Divide

(I’ve fallen way behind on both my TV viewing and writing, but not to worry – dear reader – I don’t give up that easy – I’ve rapidly been viewing the first episode of every new television show of 2014, with the intent of seeing them all by the end of August. To facilitate a respective blog catchup, I’ll be posting lots of much shorter entries on each show)

The Divide airs on the We network, and I didn’t even know that We aired original scripted programming, which it didn’t before it debuted The Divide. And lo and behold, The Divide is a pretty solid first effort. It’s nothing brilliant or revolutionary, but it’s a surprisingly entertaining and briskly-paced program. Think: John Grisham legal potboiler, a page-turner of TV. Yes, you’ve seen these types of legal maneuverings time and again, and you know the plot will turn in a bunch of somewhat unlikely directions, but you still don’t know if it will turn left or turn right.

The Divide centers around a hot button murder case in Philadelphia. Two white men, one middle-aged, one a teenager, were convicted of murdering a black family in their home, and the man, given the death sentence, is set to be executed shortly, representing the first execution in Pennsylvania in decades. Lawyer in training Christine works for a non-profit organization whose mission is exonerating convicted criminals through science, and she has a special interest in this case because her father is on death row for a crime she knows he didn’t commit. Christine and her boss Clark try to get new DNA samples at the last minute, but they’re fought at every turn by Adam, the young hotshot district attorney of Philadelphia who made his bones prosecuting this murder case when he was younger. Basically, we soon discover that there’s more to this case than it seems, and the characters at the non-profit as well as district attorney Adam and his family are going to have to bring back up a whole lot of dirty laundry that everybody thought they were done with years ago.

I often complain about the rampant proliferation of lawyer, cop, and medical dramas on TV, and I do believe there are way too many if only because they prevent more imaginative shows from appearing in their wake. Still, there’s absolutely a place for lawyer shows on TV, and shows where you can turn your brain down and enjoy taut plot twists and turns without any greater consequence. Those shows may never be the best, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t entertaining.

Will I watch it again? I’ve changed from no to yes as I’m writing this, though with so many shows to watch I’m not that confident I’ll actually get to any more. It wasn’t brilliant or must-watch but it was a surprisingly attention-captivating legal thriller, which would probably make some good low-thought watching early in the day or late at night.

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