'Pearson' review: The 'Suits' spin-off focuses on the human side of Jessica Pearson and Chicago politics
USA Network's legal drama, 'Suits' saw Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres), the head at a top law firm in New York expertly diffuse complications created by her colleagues. But eventually, she's disbarred after creating complications of her own.
'Pearson', the spin-off around Jessica sees her working for the mayor of Chicago, Bobby Novak (Morgan Spector). Novak is a sly, charmless chap who hates upsetting the apple cart. Jessica is hired by him as a fixer.
The show is from Aaron Korsh, the creator of 'Suits.' Korsh is the EP with Torres while Daniel Arkin comes in as the showrunner. 'Pearson' is hard-hitting and does not have the comedy elements that its predecessor had. But the show is quite impressive and shows that even the people fighting for what is right are compromised at some point, including Jessica. Known for her moral compass, she struggles to maintain it at certain points over the course of the series.
The series starts off with Jessica sorting out matters in her own way after joining Novak's office. And going by the way she works, she's going to be taking home more of brickbats than bouquets. But doesn't seem to deter her as she maintains the cool-as-a-cucumber attitude throughout the "assignments" that Novak dishes out. The fact that she wants to work for the Mayor doesn't earn her any good points with her family either.
Plotwise, it is clear that the show leans more towards politics. Jessica too is seen to have moved on from the corporate world. Rather, she makes attempts to connect with her family even as they are being gentrified by Novak. In a way, the idea of bringing in the family angle is to show that, irrespective of how awesome Jessica is, she is still human, and she's vulnerable.
The highlight of the series is the crackling chemistry she shares with the City Attorney, Keri Allen (Bethany Joy Lenz). They start off as bitter enemies but later become a formidable team. Torres shines in her role as a hard-hitting fixer and is just as flawless as she was in 'Suits'. 'Pearson' is a bit of a slow burner and the plot takes some time in setting itself up.
The other characters too play their parts to perfection. Eli Goree as Derrick Mayes, the earnest Press Secretary to Novak and Lenz's Keri Allen, is feisty and refuses to take a step back. By the end of season 1, it is evident that 'Pearson' has all the necessary ingredients for a show that could go a long way with the audience. The final episode feels like 'Pearson' is finally in a place where it can start off and gain traction going forward.
'Pearson' premieres on Wednesday, July 17 at 10 pm on the USA Network.