MEMPHIS BEAT (TV series, 2010)


Written & Created by: Joshua Harto

Starring: Jason Lee, Sam Hennings, DJ Qualls, Celia Weston, Alfre Woodard, Abraham Benrubi, Leonard Earl Howze...

Run time: one-hour TV series on TNT cable channel. 10 p.m. Tuesdays. Check local listings for "encore" or repeat schedule.

Genre: Cop/crime

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

MEMPHIS BEAT is a new summer cop series featuring a quirky Memphis police detective, Dwight Hendricks (Jason Lee), who has a passion for the city, blues music, and his momma. And a soft spot for his ex-wife. The other cops he works with are equally, uh...quirky.

After only two episodes, it's too early for me to say if I even like the show. After the first episode, I was sure I hated it. Everyone seemed way too quirky. It had that, "I've seen this premise before but I can't remember where or when..." but "it wasn't this weird" feel to it.

I also found the tension between Dwight and his Black female boss, Lt. Tanya Rice (Alfre Woodard) very annoying. Too much. We get it, already. She's got rules...You like to just wing it, rely on your so-called charm and gut instincts, whatever.

The underlying crimes were presented unevenly. In the first episode, there was a case of elderly abuse. Interesting crime but the "quirkiness" of the various characters got in the way of the story. In the second episode, a missing dad that leads to accusations of physical abuse and possible murder, was a bit dull. Nothing new or interesting here. Even a guest starring appearance by Juliette Lewis as the victim's supposedly battered wife couldn't help this episode rise above mediocre. I also find Dwight's relationship with his mother to be boring. "Burn Notice" has already covered that angle.

I haven't checked, but the professional critics probably love this show. They always do. So far, I find more annoying things in the programs than things to look forward to. I'm not saying that the show doesn't have potential, just that the writers better do something with that potential or I'm changing the channel.

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