‘Bluff City Law’ 1×09 Review: See you later, Alligator

When this show started, Lyra and I decided we both liked it enough to review it, so being friends and all, instead of fighting to the death for it, we agreed to split it. That means that today is my last time reviewing Bluff City Law for this season, and very likely forever.

That, of course, makes me incredibly sad. There is, of course, still a chance enough people discover this show for NBC to order a season 2, especially considering last week’s ratings did go up, but the truth is, at this point, I’ve grown weary of hope. The good don’t get rewarded, the bad go on to live forever, and so on. As is in politics, it is also on TV.

And yet, when I look back at my time watching this show, my time reviewing it, I don’t regret one second of it. Good TV leaves a mark, and good characters, even if you met them for a short time, stick with you. Such is the case with Ginny Baker, and Lucy Preston, and Jules Thomas, and Alicia Mendoza, and so many others. Such will be the case with Sydney Strait, as well.

It is better to have lost and lost than to never have loved at all, they say.

They are right.

So, let us, once more, with feeling, go into “Ave Maria” and why this show should have gotten many more chances to prove itself.

LOSING TO WIN

BLUFF CITY LAW — “Ave Maria” Episode 109 — Pictured: (l-r) Jimmy Smits as Elijah Strait, Caitlin McGee as Sydney Strait — (Photo by: Katherine Bomboy/NBC)

As a lawyer, trust me, you never want to lose. There are no good cases to lose, and TV lawyers are no different. As a viewer, though, I can tell you both that they needed to lose one, for, you know, credibility’s sake, and that this is – of all the cases they’ve tried – the one I am more okay with them losing, not that I wanted them to.

Going against the church is a gusty move, typical of the Straits, but one thing I learned from a catholic church upbringing is you never really win against the church. Learning to think for yourself, to not see things in black and white, to be all “science is a part of God’s grand design. As far as I’m concerned, her child is a miracle,” is a win in and of itself. A win against an institution that, sometimes, forgets the very lessons it’s trying to teach and gets lost in the rules it set up.

So yes, a part of me hopes they would have won this one. A bigger part understands why, of all the cases, this one was one they were probably always going to lose. But, if there’s a silver lining, though it never really feels like that to the person losing, it’s that we’re starting to move to a place where some people get it. Little by little, I guess?

CHARACTER OVER PLOT

BLUFF CITY LAW — “Ave Maria” Episode 109 — Pictured: (l-r) Barry Sloane as Jake Reilly, Josh Kelly as Robbie Ellis — (Photo by: Katherine Bomboy/NBC)

One of my favorite things about how this show has handled the whole George thing, especially as it relates to Jake and Robbie, it’s that it’s never used George as a way to point out to either of those men and be like, SEE, THEY ARE GOOD PEOPLE. And yes, they would certainly deserved that being said, they’ve both gone above and beyond, but that isn’t the point of the plot, much less the reason why they have done what they did.

Sometimes people just do good things. Simple as that. And the fact that a show has used this story-line to show who Jake, and to a lesser extent, Robbie, are, to give us, as viewers, a taste as to what makes these characters tick, doesn’t mean that’s all they are, or that they’ve only acted that way to get accolades.

Plus, and this has been mentioned before, by both me and Lyra, but it bears repeating: they’ve done so for their own reasons, and not – like so many TV shows would have done – to catch the attention of a woman, or to prove themselves worthy of someone.

That’s big.

Things I think I think:

  • This episode was written by a woman: Maya Dunbar, and directed by a woman: Erica Dunton.
  • Continuity, in the little things, is a beautiful thing. Emerson not liking ribs, for example. So many shows forget about the little details.
  • WHERE IS MY SYDNEY AND JAKE ROMANCE? I WANT IT.
  • All these characters feel so real, their interactions are never forced, and I’m just …gonna miss them a lot. I really, really will.

Agree? Disagree? Share with us in the comments below!

Bluff City Law airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC.

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