Friday, 23 February 2024

Procedural ‘Will Trent’ debut, “Accused” TV crime thriller



‘WILL TRENT’ ON ABC

After a three-year hiatus, the biannual press tour that brings members of the Television Critics Association as well as unaffiliated critics together for panel discussions has finally returned to an in-person affair.

The gathering of critics afforded ABC the opportunity to present its newest crime drama “Will Trent,” which is based on the New York Times best-selling book series by Karin Slaughter.

In the role of the titular character, Ramon Rodriguez shared his thoughts that his role as a special agent allowed him to be a “resilient human being that had a complicated past” who has figured how to navigate in a unique way that “actually helps him with cases.”

Indeed, Special Agent Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has an intuitive approach to his police work that would remind some viewers of Tony Shaloub’s Adrian Monk solving crimes in the “Monk” series.

While Monk’s obsessive-compulsive disorder caused his departure from the police department to private sleuthing, Agent Trent has his own cross to bear for being a straight-arrow who made enemies in the Atlanta Police Department for uncovering corruption in the ranks.

The first two episodes, which are now streaming on Hulu, involve Trent investigating two deaths and the kidnapping of a college girl at the home of wealthy car dealer Paul Campano (Mark-Paul Gosselaar).

What looks to be a rather settled crime scene turns out to be something quite different after Trent is summoned by his boss at the Bureau, Amanda Wagner (Sonja Sohn), to apply his set of skills to the investigation.

Trent’s background is important to the series. He grew up in Atlanta’s foster care system. He suffers from dyslexia and records his observation with a tape recorder. An inability to read does not hinder his matchless ability to read a crime scene.

Though loath to partner with anyone, Trent finds himself reluctantly having to work with Atlanta PD detective Faith Mitchell (Iantha Richardson) who’s smart enough to appreciate his brilliance as well as to call him out when necessary.

In his private life, the fastidious Trent, who wears three-piece suits, has a curious cyclical romantic relationship with Atlanta PD detective Angie Polaski (Erika Christensen) as they share the common bond of growing up in the same foster home.

One unlikely four-legged star is a chihuahua named Betty that Trent reluctantly adopts after the animal shelter claims they don’t have a no-kill policy.

“Will Trent” presents itself as an interesting drama with some compelling characters, who may be flawed but are agreeable and easy to root for as they deal with work-related and personal issues.



‘ACCUSED’ ON FOX

FOX television’s new crime thriller “Accused” is akin to an anthology rather than a traditional series in that it is a collection of 15 intense and exquisitely human stories of crime and punishment.

Each episode is a fast-paced provocative thriller, exploring a different crime, in a different city, with an entirely original cast.

“Accused” is based on the British series of the same title that first aired a dozen years ago. The BBC drama series followed a different character in each episode as they await their verdict in court, including well-known actors such as Olivia Colman, Sean Bean and Naomie Harris.

The American version opens in a courtroom with a defendant that the viewers know nothing about their crime or how they ended up on trial.

Told from the defendant’s point of view through flashbacks, the show holds up a mirror to current times with evocative and emotional stories.

In the end, the idea is for audiences to discover how an ordinary person gets caught up in extraordinary circumstances, and how one impulsive decision can impact the course of that life and the lives of others forever.

Emmy Award winner Margo Martindale (“The Americans”) and Emmy Award nominee Molly Parker (“House of Cards”) are slated for a gripping episode tackling conspiracy theories.

Rachel Bilson (“The O.C.”) and Jack Davenport (“The Morning Show’) star in a thrilling episode with a family caught in a troubling situation.

Acclaimed Broadway star J. Harrison Ghee (“Kinky Boots”) will appear in a Billy Porter-directed episode about a drag queen’s affair and its aftermath.

Ian Anthony Dale (“Hawaii Five-O”) has been cast in an episode about a brother striving to protect his sibling who was injured in a devastating car accident as a child.

The director and writer of FX’s “Reservation Dogs” has been set to write and direct an episode about Native American activists protesting a uranium mine that has been polluting tribal lands for decades.

“Accused” will draw a wide range of actors to its ranks, including familiar faces such as Michael Chiklis, Jill Hennessy, Abigail Breslin, Wendell Pierce, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Rhea Pearlman and Malcolm Jamal Warner.

As an aside, “Fantasy Island” returns for its second season just in time as a way to forget the winter cold. Wouldn’t it be swell to vacation at a luxury tropical island resort? Unfortunately, there’s always a catch.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

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