'Proven Innocent': Kelsey Grammer's character isn't the main villain of the legal drama, it's the media and journalists
'Proven Innocent' was flacked by some viewers for inaccuracies regarding the portrayal of law practice, but they've also got the role of the media wrong too
In the pilot episode of Fox's 'Proven Innocent,' we met the heroes, the victims, the suspects, and the villains. There are a lot of greys in the scenario and one thing we aren't sure of is if Gore Bellows (Kelsey Grammer) is really the antagonist?
Sure, Madeline Scott (Rachelle Lefevre), the protagonist of the show, who is a fierce lawyer fighting for the wrongly convicted, definitely thinks so. Bellows is the "corrupt" lawyer who put Madeline away in jail along with her brother Levi Scott (Riley Smith) for the murder of Rosemary Lynch (Casey Tutton). Ten years after being proven innocent, Madeline becomes a lawyer; a top-notch one graduating with distinction from Yale and establishing her own firm with Ezekiel 'Easy' Boudreau (Russell Hornsby), the reinsurance regulator turned lawyer who set her free.
The first two cases picked up in episode 1, result in victories for Madeline and losses for Bellows. Besides, he is really portrayed as the bad guy, hungry for power and still believing Madeline is guilty. However, in a recent interview, Danny Strong, the creator of the show, said there's Bellows' side to the story as well. "You’ll see he’s the hero in his story for him, right? And we’ll see the story of ‘the prosecutor’ and what they go through and how they feel like they are fighting for justice."
Defending Bellows, he added: "Not everyone in prison has been wrongfully convicted, so it’s his job to protect the city, and maybe sometimes he crosses the line in order to do it. So we’re going to definitely get that point of view, and he’s running an attorney general campaign, so we’ll see what it means as a candidate versus a lawman, and when you have to compromise your values for politics."
Added to all this, is Kelsey Grammer portraying Bellows and for sure, he will not play him as a one-dimensional villain. Riley Smith, who plays Levi made a clear statement when he said: "There's a reason behind everyone's motive and a great actor like Kelsey Grammer is going to be able to make people think."
If that is the case, and if we ever move on from loathing Bellows, then who is the prime antagonist of the series? There should be one, right? Well, the answer to that would be the media people and journalists. Remember how the show has blamed the role of the media in covering Rosemary's murder? How the story was sensationalized as a party girl killing her best friend?
Madeline was nicknamed an 'All America Psycho,' and the media "loved to hate her." The wrongly convicted cases she takes on, echoes her own, remember Lucia? The woman she set free in episode one, the woman who had been portrayed in the "media" as the wicked goth witch for burning down her house and her young son and confessing on tape with black paint smeared on her face, when in fact it was soot as she was not cleaned up before she was shown to the world. Carbon-monoxide poisoning led her to falsely confess the murder. So, Madeline points out "behind media caricature is a real-life human being."
However, the role of a corrupt media does not end there. The journalist we meet, who is Madeline's potential love interest, tries to woo her by saying, "I would lose a Pulitzer for a date with you," after telling her he will toss the story to some other journalist. As if, it works that way. Added to that, the episode concludes with him announcing he bagged a date with Madeline, so he might get some juicy story on Rosemary's murder mystery.
What's more, is that we meet another journalist who aides Bellows in his campaign, as she tries to build her own name and is a seductress. Like, come on! The way the media and journalists are portrayed in the show leaves little room for other antagonists, not even Bellows. So, no wonder, we are told Grammer will make our hearts take a U-turn, but who is to tell the viewers that not all media is concocted and not all female journalists are, well, seductresses, neither are all male journalists for that matter. The contrast between the female lawyer and the female journalist boggles the mind.
The premiere received some backlash because lawyers were mainly portrayed for their inaccuracies, but they've got the media and journalists wrong too. Sorry, not sorry.