After a body washes up on a beach, a young man from a wealthy family is accused of murder. A lawyer then tries to prove his innocence. That sounds like it could be the premise of any lawyer/courtroom TV show episode.
That actually is the storyline of the pilot, titled “The Necklace,” for the new CBS drama Bull. However, there’s much more to it than just that.[WATCH] Get Your First Look at the Heart, Humor and Real Science Behind Bull >>>
Lead character Dr. Jason Bull (Michael Weatherly) has quite the operation going on at Trial Analysis Corporation. He and his team use advanced technology, psychology and much more to sort out which team each juror in the courtroom will side with.
Back when the first trailer was released during the Upfronts, I found myself somewhat intrigued by the premise, the lengths that this lawyer will go to and the fact that the show is based on the early career of none other than Dr. Phil.
After having seen the pilot, I can say that I’m even more impressed by what Dr. Bull does. His firm has a courtroom set where they conduct mock trials based on the actual trials that he and his team are dealing with. There are cameras set up and the “mirror jury” is analyzed in such a meticulous manner to match up exactly with the real jury that’s been selected for the case, down to their personal characteristics, likes/dislikes and behavior. Based on all this analysis, Bull is able to identify which of them will side with the prosecution and which will side with the defense. As Bull says, “We know how they’ll vote before they even know.”
Then when the real trial begins, Bull is sitting in the courtroom and observing the jury to get a sense of where their mind is at the moment. Along the way, he can tell if the “mirror jury” has them winning or losing.
As great as this sounds, not everyone seems on board with Bull’s tactics. In the premiere, for example, there’s an old-school lawyer who tells Bull, “I’ve tried hundreds of cases without all this woo-woo psychology. … Try the facts,” and goes on to say that a mock trial isn’t a real trial.
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This “past versus the future” angle is, in a way, an expected storyline to see, but as the episode progresses, it’s fun to see Bull be proven right. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s proven wrong and his methods fail him. It’s bound to happen at some point, right?
As far as the casting goes, it’s a mixed bag. The supporting roles fade into the background and are not really memorable. The only exception is Cable McCrory (Annabelle Attanasio), who plays a stereotypical Millennial, but so far, that’s the only reason why I remember her. This is just the first episode, of course, so there’s plenty of time to get to know them more and distinguish one from the other.
As we all know, the big draw is the lead actor, Michael Weatherly, who left NCIS after 13 seasons. Was it a risk to leave that gig and start over on a new one? Of course. Will it pay off? It just might. If you’re a fan of Weatherly, then you’ll definitely want to check out Bull. (It doesn’t hurt that the series will air right after NCIS.)
Dr. Bull is in control, very confident and knows how to get inside people’s minds. Weatherly plays the character perfectly. Not once during the premiere did I think he had a weak moment. No doubt Weatherly fans will look forward to seeing his new character navigate each case and use his highly advanced firm to help his clients. It’s sure to be an entertaining ride.
Bull will be using a tried-and-true formula every week. It’s a procedural, after all, and a CBS one at that. But if you’re a fan of the usual dramas that the network airs, then you should watch Bull. It’s not perfect (the supporting cast is bland, the formula could get old after a while unless the team has things up their sleeve that we don’t even know yet), but it’s a fun show, plain and simple, and you’ll find yourself impressed with what Dr. Bull has built and created.
Check out a preview of Bull below:
Are you going to watch Bull? Does the premise sound intriguing? Is Michael Weatherly the reason you’ll be tuning in?
Bull season 1 premieres Tuesday, September 20 at 9/8c on CBS. Want more news? Like our Bull Facebook page.
(Image and video courtesy of CBS)