Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Finally, humor comes to Tuesday night television
A review of mid-season replacement series "Blind Justice", in which V. points out plot flaws, draws comparisons to Horatio Caine, and generally makes disparaging comments.

Last night I had the pleasure of watching the pilot episode of Blind Justice, a new series about a homicide detective rendered blind in a shootout. After a landmark court case and some sensational media attention, he wins the right to return to his old job. The show is about his struggle to be accepted by his peers, and also about his ability to keep being a great homicide detective despite not being able to see.

So we start out with an impossibly lofty premise. Okay, fine. Sometimes lofty premises work pretty well (examples: Memento, Fight Club). Let's see how well the writers and actors handle this one.

So here's Blind Justice, and he can't see. His wife (Rena Sofer from the sci-fi channel's awesome and sadly defunct series The Chronicle) is presented as a royal bitch who doesn't understand him and has lost faith in his ability to Be A Real Man. I don't think this is fair, really. Honestly Blind Justice comes across as a real ass (we find out that he's cheated on her in the past), and in my opinion she's just trying to be supportive and mend their marriage.

We start the show on Blind Justice's first day back on the job. We see that Blind Justice is capable of functioning within normal parameters: he wakes and dresses on his own, operates the coffee maker, and walks to work on his own with the help of his trusty aid dog. Oh yeah, and he takes martial arts training.

So Blind Justice makes it to work, and it soon becomes clear that everyone on the force "respects" him (he took a bullet to the head for four other cops, after all), but nobody wants to be his partner. Apparently the fact that he's blind and carries a gun gives one pause. He's subjected to some less than good-natured ribbing, to which he responds with self-deprecating humor. Important: Blind Justice seems to use humor as a defense mechanism rather a lot. He delivers a lot of cheesy one-liners, which reminded me a lot of CSI: Miami's Horatio Caine. But where Caine is a god in his own mind, Blind Justice just wants to prove himself.

He gets partnered up with a pretty girl. We find out later that Pretty Girl was good friends with the woman he had an affair with, and so is predisposed to think he's a jerk. I am also predisposed to think that Blind Justice is a jerk, so that's something we have in common already. They get called to the scene of a murder. Turns out their precinct has been on the trail of a serial killer for quite a while. The killer targets prostitutes, strips them, ties them up, and cuts out their tongues.

An aside: this episode started out with a warning that it contained brief nudity. And here it is: a dead prostitute's bare ass. As far as I'm concerned, any network drama that will show a dead prostitute's bare ass in the first 20 minutes gets bonus cool points.

So, here they are in this warehouse with the dead naked hooker. Cops are swarming around taking notes and photos, and Blind Justice just stands still and goes all Zen. The only way to describe what happens next is to say that his Spidey-Sense kicks in. As if he has bat-sonar or something, he stands still and listens closely, and suddenly he can "see" the room perfectly. He makes pointless statements like "the window pane on the left is broken!" and everyone is all "yeah, yeah. Sure. That's real good, Blind Justice."

Suddenly here's the chief. Blind Justice and Pretty Girl are being pulled from the homicide case and being sent to investigate a carjacking. Obviously, nobody trusts Blind Justice to do his job. Blind Justice and Pretty Girl are indignant. Pretty Girl tells Blind Justice that she doesn't want to be his partner, because they're just going to keep getting sent on bullshit cases like this carjacking (it's nice to think our police force takes the everyday crimes against the common citizen so seriously, isn't it?).

Anyway, at the scene of the carjacking, Blind Justice detects the scent of a recently fired gun in the car. Nobody else smells anything and there is much dramatic eye-rolling as Blind Justice insists on calling the crime lab.

I'll sum up a lot of boring crap here: Blind Justice stands up to some cops who challenge his right to carry a gun. They back off. Blind Justice responds with stoicism when a bum in the holding cell taunts him for being blind. Blind Justice holds a grudge against the cop whose colossal screw-up caused him to get shot in the head in the first place.

The crime lab turns up with a fingerprint on the stolen car. Blind Justice and Pretty Girl follow the lead. It belongs to a girl who had turned to prostitution to pay off her student loans (This is a good idea... note to self: get webcam and paypal tip jar). I am not entirely sure how, but Blind Justice and Pretty Girl manage to locate the body.

The body is: fully clothed, not tied up, and still has a tongue. Nevertheless, Blind Justice is convinced that it's the work of our serial killer. Pretty Girl points out that the body is: fully clothed, not tied up, and still has a tongue. Blind Justice says something along the lines of "He didn't do those things because for some reason last night he didn't have time!!" Pretty Girl inexplicably immediately jumps on this bandwagon.

Meanwhile I was thinking, you know, it's entirely possible that in a city the size of New York, maybe... just maybe, this is the work of a different killer. I mean, that's reasonable logic, right? Maybe, just maybe, this is a simple carjacking. Clearly I am wrong, because Blind Justice pushes the very boundaries of reason.

Now that another body has turned up, the chief pulls them off the carjacking case and sends them to a Chinese takeaway where someone stole $12 out of the cash register. While Pretty Girl is interviewing the victims, Blind Justice hears a train go past and Zens Out again. When he snaps out of it, he presents Pretty Girl with an exceptionally convoluted and far-fetched theory about how the killer is using public transportation and how they can use the train schedule to pin down where he lives.

Um, yeah. Okay dude. Whatever you say.

Long story short: holy shit, it works. Blind Justice is a Jedi Master of impossible theories. They find the killer's house and make their way in with an excuse about a parking ticket or something.

The next few minutes are pretty much a carbon copy of the end of Silence of the Lambs. Remember when Clarice finally gets into Jame Gumb's house, and he goes to get a business card from the kitchen, and ends up trapping her? This is exactly what happens to Pretty Girl. Blind Justice hears a struggle. He calls for backup and makes his way to the kitchen. Pretty Girl is out cold on the floor. He has a stand-off with Jame Gumb.

Jame Gumb claims to have Pretty Girl's gun. Blind Justice's Spidey-Sense tells him that this is not the case. He points his own gun at Jame Gumb, who mocks him (you won't shoot me! You're blind!). Just as Blind Justice is about to actually shoot, the backup shows up.

More summing up of some tedious crap: the real police (read: the ones who can see) have no luck getting a confession. So they finally break down and let Blind Justice and Pretty Girl go in. Blind Justice turns all Bad Cop on the guy and smacks him around a bit and finally the guy confesses.

In conclusion: Blind Justice has proven himself, and has earned at least partial respect from his co-workers. Even his own partner grudgingly agrees to take it day by day.

Would I recommend this? Oh hell yeah. The writing is shit, the acting is shit, and the plot is completely nonsensical. Hilarity ensues. Besides, nothing else comes on Tuesday nights.

Another WTF moment: blogger spell check suggests that I replace "carjacking" with "churchgoing"