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'The Firm' Recap: 'Chapter Seven' (1.07)

Brittany Frederick Brittany Frederick
February 19th, 2012 12:59am EST

Mitch and Ray go looking for the car, which has already been picked up by someone else, resulting in an awkward but hilarious car chase (it's worth it just to hear Josh Lucas blurt out "bitch"). Ray eventually cuts off the other car, causing it to crash, and Mitch finds out his co-counsel is behind the wheel. Mitch brings this information to the prosecutor, who reverses course and tells the judge that they'll make a deal with Mitch's client. "You're going to be okay," Mitch reassures him, because he's been there. And then he goes to that ill-fated meeting with Martin...

"Chapter Seven" presents an interesting moral argument as it plays the two brothers against each other, even if it's not novel (as Mitch says, this happens all the time). It's not the show's most intriguing case, but it's not a bad one, either. Unfortunately, there's so much else around it that's cliched, and that feels like the show is sliding into a formula. The cop and the prosecutor fall into a category that's typical of so many procedurals: if the character isn't on the protagonist's side, they end up being insufferable and even inept. We've seen this with FBI agents on cop shows and defense attorneys on other legal series, and it's grating. I'd much rather see guest characters like Law & Order's Shambala Green, who might have been on the other side of the aisle but was always portrayed as a competent attorney and a much more developed person. But The Firm is hardly the first show to be guilty of this problem, just the most recent.

The bigger issue is that for the first time, I'm starting to feel like I've seen this before. Don't get me wrong, I love TV attorneys who are willing to put themselves on the line to do the right thing; I grew up watching Law & Order's Ben Stone, whose moral compass was the biggest of them all. And I'm a sucker for a good, passionate speech. But I don't want The Firm to have every episode be about Mitch bucking a prosecutor, judge, etc. whose aims conflict with what he believes in. There has to be more to the character, and more to his world, than that.

In this "kill or be killed" world of TV, there's a tendency to give up on a show once it looks to be dead; people don't want to bother with something that isn't going to last. I'm not one of those people; I want to enjoy the whole ride, no matter how short. Even though The Firm may be done for, there are questions in my head. Depending on whether or not the show has wrapped shooting, are we going to see the original plan for the show, or will the writers try to give things more closure? It's a thorny area, because there's still that slight chance of renewal, and it's not easy to write something that could function as both a season and series finale (ask the Chuck writers about that). I hope the writers can pull it off.

I was drawn to this show because of its strength of characters; I've never really cared for the flashforwards, or the mob angle, or the conspiracy. What kept me coming back was a legal drama with good performances in quirky roles that made me think about something. If I can get that out of the show's remaining episodes, I'll be happy. Now that we'll be caught up with said flashforwards next week, I'll be watching to see if The Firm can find itself again. Just because it's possibly going out doesn't mean it can't go out on a high.

(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.

Photo Credits: NBC


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