'Proven Innocent' episode 1 review: Prove them innocent to prove Bellows guilty, that is Madeline's approach
The drama mostly takes place indoors with Madeline suited up in a black suit and pump heels, she goes head to head with Bellows for the first time and secures a streak of victories
This article contains spoilers
To be proven innocent when not guilty is crucial, but the story never ends there. This isn't the only thing that comprises the premise of Fox's new legal drama 'Proven Innocent,' the show also marks a startling contrast between the protagonist's case and the cases of her clients. The soap-like feel to the courtroom drama is interwoven with the back story of Madeline Scott, played by Rachelle Lefevre.
The fierce young lawyer, who runs an underdog firm to defend the wrongly convicted, was herself a victim of a "corrupt" judicial system when she was sentenced for the murder of her best friend, Rosemary Lynch. The pilot episode tries hard to maintain her innocence because ten years after being wrongfully convicted, she is now an uncompromising lawyer, a top-notch graduate from Yale, and immune to the intimidation of veteran lawyers such as Gore Bellows (Kelsey Grammer), the man who put her away. This is where her story begins - after having been proven innocent - and this is where the stories of her clients ends when they are proven innocent.
The highly-anticipated drama immediately picks up momentum as a man kills himself less than 10 minutes in and our leading lady finds herself a German Shepherd. "911, what do you with a dog after the owner dies?" Next thing we know, the dog has found home in Madeline's office, which to be honest, feels like a comfortable co-working space with investigator Bodie Quick (Vincent Kartheiser) playing around with broomsticks, a katana and other props while Ezekiel 'Easy' Boudreau (Russell Hornsby), and podcaster Violet Bell (Nikki M. James) balance out the seriousness of the environment.
A majority of the drama takes place indoors and with Madeline suited up in a black suit and pump heels, she goes head to head with Bellows for the first time and secures a streak of wins by defeating him two times in one episode, proving she really is a fierce unstoppable lawyer.
The first victory comes easy, reason being, Bellows wants to play it safe to win a seat as the state attorney general, and for that, he has to be a liked figure. Madeline refuses to let the "corrupt" prosecutor be put in charge of society, so, she launches an attack to prove Gore Bellows is guilty of corruption. This is when you need to rethink the title.
The case Madeline takes up next to prove her point is that of a woman nicknamed 'the goth witch', who confessed setting fire to her house and killing her son. Definitely not an easy case, Madeline and her firm show their genius prowess, but not without impossible obstacles to tackle. Added to all this is Madeline overcoming her fear.
She puts her strong face forward and remains resolute when questioned if she is nervous to go against Bellows. Though she cites it as "an opportunity she is happy to take," to prove he is a corrupt prosecutor, she staggers on seeing Bellows for the first time in the courtroom. We see it and feel it too. Despite being portrayed a superhero, Madeline is still very human and her challenges prove that.
The role of media looms heavy on the show, because remember when the trailers suggested Madeline Scott was slammed by the tabloids as an "All American Psycho"? The approach of the journalists is really a no-good here. Even her client, nicknamed 'the goth witch' has been sensationalized and Madeline is heard saying behind every media caricature is a real-life human being.
Madeline's love interest, who we meet in the very first episode, however, is a reporter, and he tosses away his story to go on a date with her. "I would lose a Pulitzer for a date with you," he cringingly says and in the final scene of the pilot, we see the reporter has all the wrong intentions to woo Madeline, it's basically for his byline. What vileness!
Madeline's story and her clients' story go hand in hand, as their cases, oftentimes, echo her own and she "empathizes" with her clients. But it's not always about Madeline, her poor brother Levi Scott (Riley Smith) is in the background, and as obvious as it looks, he could not do much with his life after being proven innocent.
Working as a baseball coach gives him joy, but he is soon fired because his past still haunts him. Levi even confesses he was in love with Rosemary, and that puts them in jeopardy as they could be found guilty all over again.
While proven innocent is a continuous cycle, the stories of her clients ends in each episode, Madeline's fight on retaining her innocence forms the connecting crux and Levi's fate after being released from prison makes us wonder what happens to the rest of the characters we briefly meet and are proven innocent. Do they have to fight to retain it? Or do they go down the road as Levi?