Warning: Some mild spoilers ahead. Read on at your own risk.
Judging by the enjoyable pilot episode, Notorious is no doubt going to be a fun, entertaining series. Based on the real-life dealings between Mark Geragos and Wendy Walker, the show focuses on Jake Gregorian (Daniel Sunjata) and Julia George (Piper Perabo) as a lawyer and a television news producer respectively who both use shady tactics to try to manipulate the media, and thereby the public.
Even though some viewers may expect a series that more than echoes Scandal, the tone of the show fits more closely with series like Bones or CSI. And that's no coincidence, seeing as one of the show's co-creators Josh Berman had a creative hand in the latter two series (the other series co-creator, Allie Hagan, was previously a blogger) . These are what I like to call staple shows, or comfort-food shows. They are slow-burners that, once up and running, they find a core audience, draw new viewers over time, and — generally speaking — tend to last for a while. They're not necessarily as heavy as some other hit shows, but they often do have great solid characters and writing. They're worth watching; and they tend to become familiar fixtures in people's lives.
So why should other viewers be interested in Notorious?
1. The Plot
Part of the fun of the show is feeling as if you're getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of TV journalism, or at least that world as Jake and Julia see it. It makes for compelling viewing to guess how things might turn out for these two, and for Jake's clients. After all, they're lying to everyone they work with, and that's bound to have huge consequences.
And as pointed out in a recent Vanity Fair article, they haven't even gotten into new technologies on the show. What happens when TMZ or Twitter or a random person with a cellphone camera scoops a story and their perfectly made plans blow up in their faces? If the show goes on to tackle stories like politicized celebrities or international and domestic terrorism, it will be fascinating to see how these characters navigate those waters, all while balancing their relationships.
2. The Acting Talent
Jake Gregorian is clearly a man used to high stakes and winning. It appears that he's so confident in who he is that he overlooks the obvious, especially when it comes to his love-life. This alone creates some serious conflict, which we get a taste of in the first episode.
Tough as nails but with a sweet side, Julia George seems to see herself almost as a champion of sorts. But like Jake, she has a blind spot when it comes to her relationships and reading people.
Louise Herrick (Kate Jennings Grant) is a hedonist — and she's not ashamed to flaunt it. Kind of like a more chill version of Samantha from Sex and the City. And just like Samantha, she's as loyal to her career as she is to her friends.
Bradley Gregorian (J. August Richards) is a hard-hitting lawyer who just wants his brother to give him a chance to show that he's just as capable. He's devoted without question and can pull his brother back from the brink when things get too much. But Bradley's got his own ambitions and sees things that Jake doesn't.
Eric Jessup (Marc Blucas) is a judge with a dangerous habit. It's uncertain if his character will have additional appearances, since Blucas is one of the main cast members in the hit series Underground, but if he does it would be fascinating to see how he deals if Julia ever decides to use the information she has on him as leverage, rather than just exposing his dalliances.
- Sidenote — as a Buffyverse fan, I'm simply loving the inclusion of one of Buffy's ex-boyfriends and other Angel/Buffy connections.
Ella Benjamin (Aimee Teegarden) is a young, eager lawyer willing to earn her stripes by doing the dirty work. You might best remember Teegarden from the Friday Night Lights TV series. She'll next be seen on the big screen in the horror sequel Rings, hitting cinemas on February 3, 2017.
Sepideh Moafi (as Megan Byrd), Ryan Guzman (as Ryan Mills), and Kevin Zegers (as Oscar Keaton) round out the stellar cast.
3. It's A Feelgood Conversation Starter
OK, maybe not as feelgood as a sitcom, but the tone of the show is not as heavy as other dramas. It involves murder and mayhem, sure, but it doesn't leave you feeling depressed. In a similar way to lighter-fare detective shows, the situations provide stimulating topics of discussion. I for one spent a good amount of time discussing one of the plot points of the episode, wondering about the legality of the issue.
4. It Fits Well In The ShondaLand Lineup
No, it's not officially a ShondaLand show, and its feel is decidedly different from the more serious How to Get Away with Murder, Scandal and Grey's Anatomy. But like those shows, Notorious has a nice flow of banter and intrigue that works well.
Notorious airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. EST on ABC. So what's your take on Notorious? Is it a show you look forward to watching?