We’ve all seen lawyer shows. Lots and lots of lawyer shows. And why not? It’s a fascinating formula: well-dressed smart people defend and/or prosecute criminals in dramatic settings, leading to (mostly) justice!
Unfortunately, that formula can get a bit tired. But some lawyer shows manage to twist and freshen the concept just enough so that everything feels new again. Franklin & Bash does this just right.
The basic premise of the show is simple. Peter Bash (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and Jared Franklin (Breckin Meyer) are two young, attractive and eccentric lawyers out to rule the legal world in their own unique way.
Initially, the partners are independent ambulance chasers who plan lunches around likely traffic-accident locations. Franklin and Bash run this law firm out of a home office that greatly resembles a frat house. The entire business consists of the two lawyers and their assistants: Carmen (Dana Davis), a young and beautiful convicted felon, and Pindar (Kumail Najiani), an agoraphobic genius.
Many shows would consider this enough. But not the overachievers of Franklin & Bash. After a brilliant court victory — involving a model willing to strip on the stand — the lawyers attract the attention of Stanton Infeld (Malcolm McDowell), head of the Infeld Daniels law firm. Infeld offers our titular heroes oodles of money and power if they join the firm.
Now, your standard lawyer drama might introduce morals and ethics here. The hero lawyers have to stand on their own, free of corporate influence! That doesn’t happen here.
Franklin and Bash happily abandon their humble office space (while still living in the house) for the soaring Infeld Daniels tower. Will the corporate world change these free spirits?
Nope. They just remake Infeld Daniels in their own image (knocking down office walls, playing video games, etc.). Of course, this irritates some of the old guard, most notably Damien Karp (Reed Diamond), Infeld’s nephew and resident stick-in-the-mud. But the boys keep on winning, and it’s kind of hard not to like them. The corporate world just has to adapt.
While the title of Franklin & Bash indicates this is a buddy show, Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s Bash is the presumed star. Bash gets the more prominent cases and immediately gets such character-developing traits as a self-made career, a history as a ladies’ man and an ex-girlfriend who happens to be a public defender. Also he gets to mess with his excellent hair a lot.
Breckin Meyer’s Franklin does hold up his end, however, providing extra comedy as the rebellious son of a legendary super-lawyer. Plus, he gets to be the object of attention of Infeld & Daniels’ resident cougar, Hanna Linden (Garcelle Beauvais). So it pretty much evens out.
Will the pleasant fun of Franklin & Bash hold up for more than just a single episode? Having seen the first few offerings, I can say definitely yes. The show has a strong ensemble cast, and everyone gets something to do. Plus, Franklin & Bash, unlike many comedic dramas, doesn’t forget that the fun never has to end.
It’s a refreshing change-of-pace for this cool dramedy. And it works.
Franklin & Bash premieres on Wednesday, June 1 at 9pm on TNT.
(Image courtesy of TNT)
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Laurel grew up in Mamaroneck, NY, Grosse Pointe, MI and Bellevue WA. She then went on to live in places like Boston, Tucson, Houston, Wales, Tanzania, Prince Edward Island and New York City before heading back to Seattle. Ever since early childhood, when she became addicted to The Muppet Show, Laurel has watched far too much TV. Current favorites include Chuck, Modern Family, Supernatural, Mad Men and Community. Laurel received a BA in Astrophysics (yes, that is possible) from Colgate University and a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and History of Science from Columbia University before she realized that television is much better than studying.