THE FIRM doesn’t have much problems to begin with to be seen as a sequel to the Tom Cruise thriller, but about 80 percent of the two-hour pilot (finally, another two-hour pilot again!) was wasted with a procedural case, which had nothing to do with the main arc of the show. Instead, Mitch McDeere, this time portrayed by charming Josh Lucas, only gets teased from the danger of his past.
The Firm is set a decade after the 1991 book and the 1993 movie, and rather continues the movie than the book.
In the opening scene, Mitch McDeere is being chased through Washington, D.C., by a pair of suits, but stops to call his wife, Abby, to tell her they have to pack up and leave. From there, the story flashes back to the recent past, when the McDeere family emerged from a decade in the witness protection program because Mitch had ratted to the FBI about a legal firm that did business for organized crime.
Mitch is content, at first, to work out of a tiny office that used to be a travel agency, with his brother, Ray, a private detective, and Tammy, his seen-it-all secretary with a longtime romantic attachment to Ray.
McDeere is a good lawyer and a good man. Willing to take pro bono cases even though he desperately needs paying clients to keep his fledgling office open, he gets saddled with the case of a high school kid accused of murdering a classmate.
Mitch McDeere is determined to do all he can to defend the kid, regardless of the client’s innocence or guilt, and regardless of whether the kid is being truthful. Ultimately, Mitch’s commitment to the letter of the law is tested when a hit is put out on the kid, who has been released to his father’s custody until the trial. How Mitch manages to resolve the issue tells us a lot about his character and about where The Firm is going.
I loved the cinematic aspects of the premiere, from the sweeping shots of DC to its ability to feel like a complete film and story, even as it was preparing plenty of larger stories for the whole season. And while the time-jumping could be a bit confusing, it was a great way to bookend the two hours and prepares viewers for the intensity to come.
If the audience is able to forget the movie (or haven’t see it at all), then they get a nice little TV drama out of The Firm, where the cast can succeed not to suck, Josh Lucas gives a great Mitch McDeere. Lucas is sure to make you believe that this role is his now, which has a great positive effect on believing his character’s actions and decision-making. That’s also a positive, because the TV show continues where the movie ended with Mitch as a character: Instead of being a selfish bastard in the middle of a dangerous situation (like in the book), Mitch continues to be the “all white vest” man, as “holy” and “path breaking” for his job and his colleagues.
The future of the show lies in the hands of the writers, and if they want The Firm as a stand-alone drama in the genre with a conspiracy a la 24 as a great story arc, or a real and honest sequel of the movie. Former would be great for the genre. Latter would only work, when the show manages to keep the universal and thrilling episodic stories going, from the beginning and not in the middle of the season because it’s closer to the season finale. Also, there’s enough leeway for the show to be compelling, to prepare the story, to have a bigger outcome at the end. Hopefully the writers don’t fall into a delirium to write a cliffhanger finale.
Addict Verdict: The Firm is tedious, but not terrible. Whether it is watchable depends on, one, how much you like legal dramas (Something I really like), and, two, how the ongoing McDeeres-in-jeopardy plot is handled!
Fix-Your-Eyes-On-Me Scene: It has to be the opening, the running down is stairs, running through water, making an already nervous man want to kill himself, all is pretty gripping!