The Code: CBS's latest military legal drama is a drag and waste of major talent
Predictable, slow and boring, 'The Code' is a show the network could have done without, and it fails its cast miserably too
On a regular day, legal shows take our fancy. We appreciate a good episode of the 'Suits' with its relationship drama and convoluted corporate, high society issues. Or 'The Good Wife' with its scandalous storyline. But CBS’s new legal drama, which works within the confines of the US Marine Corps, doesn't excite us all that much.
A drama about "the military's brightest minds, who tackle the toughest legal challenges facing the US Marine Corps", 'The Code' aims to offer an insight into some of the most difficult cases faced by the Marines, and the exhaustive, meticulous process put in by the legal system so that justice and law and order can prevail.
But 'The Code' really fails to deliver on this front. In fact, the pilot episode, titled "Blowed Up", was such a drag that we found ourselves checking how much of the roughly 45-minute episode was left for us to endure.
Captain Jon "Abe" Abraham (played by Luke Mitchell) and Captain Maya Dobbins (Anna Wood) are assigned to a case as prosecution and defense lawyers respectively. They are investigating a commanding officer's murder by his subordinate in Afghanistan.
In Abe is a driven prosecutor who leaves no stone unturned to fight the good fight - he is adamant on bringing to justice the murderer of his dear friend and colleague. As Abe, Mitchell, however, delivers a really subpar performance - one that doesn't call for much intrigue.
His role as Inhuman Lincoln Campbell in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., on the other hand, managed to bring out Mitchell's true potential. We will even go ahead to say that 'The Code' may have let down Mitchell as an actor.
The plot moves at a slow, predictable pace. There is absolutely nothing in the pilot episode that you haven't seen anywhere else: the wrong murder, wrongful conviction of an innocent soldier, realisation that the mystery goes beyond what appears on the surface, good lawyers figuring out that the bad guy is really someone else, the key witness bailing out at the last minute, and last but not the least, an important piece of evidence coming just in time for the judge to not lose her cool.
If there is something to look forward to, it is Wood's character of Captain Dobbins. Wood blends seamlessly into the role of a lawyer and had us waiting on her to take screentime. For every five drab Mitchell scenes, there are two worthwhile Wood scenes. The pilot sure has made a protagonist out of Mitchell, giving him more screentime and running it (mostly) on his shoulders, but it is really Wood's performance that makes the episode worth watching. In fact, actress Dana Delany steals the scene with her barely two minute long performance.
At first glance, 'The Code' will remind many of 'JAG' and 'NCIS' - shows that are set in a similar procedural space. But trust us, they make for much better viewing.
Directed by Marc Webb of '500 Days of Summer' and 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' fame, 'The Code' fails to do it for us. Maybe we are being too harsh - it is only the pilot and there are shows that pick up after the second episode. But given the quality of the pilot episode, we do not have much hope for the upcoming episodes.
If you are an avid legal show audience, The Code is for you. Else, wait for something else to come by.