TV Review: Canterbury's Law

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(1-10 stars) Canterburyís Law Starring:: Julianna Margulies, Linus Roache, Ben Shenkman, Keith Robinson, Trieste Dunn, Aiden Quinn
Created By:: Dave Erickson, Denis Leary, Jim Serpico, Julianna Margulies
Airs: Monday at 8 p.m. ET on Fox

Iím already bored with this show. Donít we have enough hard-edged people with issues on TV? Donít Denis Leary, Hugh Laurie, Holly Hunter, Keifer Sutherland and Angie Harmon pretty much have that covered? Apparently, Fox doesnít think so, because they just added another mad-at-the-world character to their lineup.

Julianna Margulies plays Elizabeth Canterbury, a tough defense attorney who in tonight's episode defends a guy accused of killing a child. Only sheís pretty sure he didnít do it, so she puts everything on the line to prove it Ė including her relationships with her co-workers, played by Ben Shenkman, Trieste Dunn, and Keith Robinson.

Her husband, played by Aiden Quinn, is the most understanding guy on the planet Ė especially given the fact that thereís tension between the two involving the disappearance of their young son. Thereís no justice in their home, so maybe Elizabeth tries extra-hard to make sure it happens at the office.

I like the ďlookĒ of the show. It looks HBO-ish. Itís dark, both in feel and color. Things arenít perfect. People arenít perfect. And the main character is definitely not perfect. She knocks back vodka like an old Russian, sleeps around like a Tudor king, and views the world with all the gloom of a Bronte character. And you get the feeling she could easily venture out of the cave, club a dinosaur over the head, and drag it home for supper.

After playing memorable characters on E.R. and The Sopranos, Margulies clearly has the chops to pull it off. But I wonder if the premise will get old after an episode or two. Iím betting there will usually be some sort of shock-factor in each episode Ė an ďOh my god, how can that happen?Ē moment.

In tonightís episode, that scene happened in the courtroom. Sheís got a guy on the witness stand, and you can see him starting to squirm as she gets closer and closer to the truth. She looks him square in the eye and says, ďYou beat your son.Ē Then he punches her in the face, sending her sprawling on the courtroom floor with a bloody lip. Case closed.

I think this show could work if they donít fall into the same pat formula week after week (a la House, where you can bet the farm that a patientís going to spew blood at least once in every episode). And if they can keep the character of Elizabeth from going all Andy Sipowicz on us every week. Weíre not dumb. We can see that coming a mile away. Keep it fresh, folks. That's all I ask.

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