For a moment there, I considered writing a longer review for FOX’s new crime/buddy cop show K-Ville, but after seeing the pilot, and finding it lacking, I’ve decided to take the lazy route. Which is unfortunate, because from everything I’ve seen of the show before actually seeing the show, I had high expectations. Alas, like the people of New Orleans when Katrina swept in, I was left wanting. There is a great twist at the end of the pilot, but it’s not quite enough. Besides its Katrina hook, K-Ville is nothing you haven’t seen before, and done better.
The biggest source of disappointment has to be the squandering of a great cast. Anthony Anderson, usually associated with bit comedy roles in big movies, proves to be an outstanding dramatic actor, and if you were cautious about him playing the lead (and yes, Anderson’s Marlin Boulet IS the show’s male lead, not co-star Cole Hauser), then you shouldn’t be. Even if K-Ville doesn’t make it, and I have my doubts, Anderson should have a pretty good movie or TV career in dramas ahead of him.
The show takes place in New Orleans, a city still suffering from the ravage of Katrina. Anderson is Marlin Boulet, a life-long New Orleans cop who refuses to move, even after his wife and daughter have already relocated to Atlanta. They have not divorced; she is just waiting for him to come to terms with the situation and join them in Atlanta. As his neighbors sell their houses up and down his street, Marlin is determined to stay, save the city, and restore it to his former glory.
Two years after Katrina, Marlin gets a new partner in ex-Special Forces soldier Trevor Cobb, a cop from Cincinnati (or so he says) who has transferred over to the New Orleans PD. Marlin is understandably suspicious of his new partner, but that’ll have to wait when gunmen starts shooting up the city. A side plot concerns Marlin’s ex-partner, who has lost his job when he deserted his post during Katrina, but now wants to get back into the department, and Marlin’s, good graces. Unfortunately for him, no one, least of all Marlin, is buying it.
The rest of the pilot is pretty standard cops and robbers stuff, including the lackluster investigation into the shootings. The villains are never really delved into, and neither is the purpose of all the shooting and running and car chasing. Of course we eventually find out the why’s and how’s, but there just isn’t enough interest there from the writers to make us, the audience, care about it.
Technically, the pilot is a mess. I’m not sure who cut this thing together, but they need to be fired. The episode skips through without a care in the world, people and cars appearing everywhere as needed, violating all manner of space-time laws. One moment Marlin and Trevor are running after a car, and the next they’re in a police cruiser and giving chase on the streets. Now how did they get from A to B again? Don’t ask. This happens throughout the pilot. After a while, you just have to accept that the people who chopped this thing together weren’t on the same page with the people who actually shot it.
The other knock on K-Ville has to be its real-life post-Katrina storyline. Do people really want to be constantly reminded of the miseries of Katrina? Haven’t the news done that for us already? Do we really want to keep tuning into a show about it, too? I don’t know, I’m not sure. Unfortunately for K-Ville, that uncertainty isn’t good for a new show.
In this case, K-Ville’s biggest hook may also be its biggest handicap.