The Wolf of Pearson Specter Litt

Last time, Suits ended with Anita Gibbs, subpoenaing (if that is, in fact, a word) every document Pearson Specter Litt has ever drafted, sent, signed or otherwise. Every file, memo, Mike and Rachel love letter, had to be handed over. She’s not just coming after Mike, but the whole firm. If I were Jessica, I’d set the place on fire. Destroy everything and start over. Harvey and Mike were almost out the door anyway. If Harvey goes, so does Donna. If Donna goes, so will Rachel. If every bird leaves the nest, I don’t suppose Louis is going to stay. They can just set up shop somewhere else, right? Clean slate. No Mike. No trouble.

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Afraid
Okay, maybe not. You don’t just torch everything you built. And you probably won’t be able to take the name ‘Pearson Specter Litt’ with you, either. Besides, what’s Gibbs (Leslie Hope) hoping to find in their documents anyway? As far as I can tell, Jessica’s either done everything by the book, or cover things up by changing the books. They don’t have anything to be afraid of. Do they? I guess it wouldn’t be a show if they didn’t.

God’s Green Earth
In ‘God’s Green Earth’, Gibbs is pointing her arrows at Rachel (Meghan Markle). She doesn’t want to talk to Mike’s girlfriend, she just wants her to listen. And she gets to her. Rachel’s been on the fence, thinking about making a deal to make everything go away (and subsequently put Harvey (Gabriel Macht) behind bars). Gibbs paints a picture of a lovie dovie future for her and Mike (Patrick J. Adams). One that’s more like a fairytale rather than a real possibility, no more matter how convincingly Gibbs is trying to be.

Cash Cow
Because of Gibbs’ unorthodox tactics – talking to Rachel without a lawyer present and getting the dean of the university Rachel goes to, threaten to expel her – Mike gets his alfa wolf on. The wolf that cuts corners. The wolf with a photographic memory and street smarts. It seems like Gibbs has found David Green (Farid Yazdani, XIII: The Series), one of the many people who hired Mike in the past to take the LSAT for them. He must’ve tipped her off about Mike’s former little cash cow on the side. David would implicate himself, obviously, if he were to come forward with this. That’s why I don’t quite understand why he showed up in court at all, as Gibbs’ briefcase carrier. Mike saw him there, recognized him, and is now able to blackmail him.

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Target
And so he does. David had better give Mike some dirt on Gibbs. Or else. He comes through. Gibbs has no choice but to back off Rachel. That’s only one setback solved, though. Apart from the upcoming trial, or should I say because of it, Pearson Specter Litt has a target on its back. Not just Harvard graduates don’t apply anymore, hardly anybody gives the firm more than a month to live. Jack Soloff (John Pyper-Ferguson) gets offers from other firms, but wants to stay. He’s got a clever way of reasoning. If PSL falls, he can get another job somewhere else. If PSL survives, he has a shot at becoming named partner. As a token of good faith, he gives Jessica (Gina Torres) what Daniel Hardman has on him.

Louis
If you were wondering what Louis is doing, if he’s helping at all: he is. Sheila Sazs (Rachael Harris) is supposed to testify. Harvey’s going to pick her apart in court. Louis doesn’t want her (and himself) to be dragged through the mud, so shows up at her door with a plane ticket. Argentina. Have a nice long holiday until the trial is over. After showing what Harvey’s going to do to her, Sheila agrees to go. Louis’ first win in a long time. But it’s not all good news. Donna (Sarah Rafferty) informs Mike and Harvey at the office that ‘they found Trevor’.

Pearson Specter Litt On Fire

Suits, season 5, episode 12, ‘Live to Fight’ reveals the identity of who’s after Mike Ross, Harvey Specter, Jessica Pearson, Rachel Zane, Louis Litt, Donna Paulsen – am I forgetting someone? – and especially for Louis it’s a hard pill to swallow.

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Hope
Anita Gibbs (Leslie Hope) has got the whole PSL family by the balls. I wasn’t much of a fan of Hope, to be honest, when I first saw her. As Jack Bauer’s wife, in the very first (and many people consider best) season of 24, Teri Bauer was a worrisome woman, jealous, suspicious and no stranger to constant nagging. But that’s 15 years ago. She got herself a nice head of hair and insufferable as Gibbs is, Hope plays her brilliantly. A force to be reckoned with. Everybody’d better be on their game, because once she grabs you, she doesn’t let go.

The Email
Gibbs smells blood, and rightly so. And all because of a secret source. One she doesn’t have to share with opposing council for another three weeks. The judge, however, starts to question her motives and makes Gibbs hand it over. It’s an email. Anonymously sent. Whoever wrote it, implicates Mike (Patrick J. Adams), calling him a ‘potential fraud’. Funny choice of words. The source seems to have a hunch; no evidence.

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The Professor
Mike and Harvey (Gabriel Macht) can think of only one person who could’ve done this: Harvard professor Henry Gerard (Stephen Macht; Gabriel’s father in real life). Mike looks him up – Harvey’s got other things to take care of – and confronts him, but Gerard swears he didn’t do it. Mike, good lawyer that he is, has come prepared. Would the professor be so kind to sign a statement in which he solemnly swears Mike was in his class? No. As fond as Gerard is of him, he’s not going to perjure himself. He won’t be blackmailed either.

Father Donna
The one getting grilled in a holding cell by Gibbs this week is Donna (Sarah Rafferty). They’ve picked up her father (Derek McGrath, She’s the Mayor and, of course, My Secret Identity) for a 7 year old minor offense. He’s going to hang for it, if Donna keeps quiet about Mike and the conspiracy of keeping his secret. The show gives us a nice introduction to her father and their relationship via flashback. Turns out, Donna’s always been this smart. He, not so much. Mike comes up with a plan to at least make Gibbs back off the Paulsens. Professor Gerard was willing to sign something else. A sort of letter of recommendation, in which he expresses his admiration for Mike as a lawyer. No word on Harvard, although it’s kind of implied that Mike went there. The most important thing is, it’s enough to bluff.

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The Sazs Factor
In the courtroom, Harvey makes a deal with Gibbs. Drop the charges against Donna’s father and they won’t bring in Gerard to testify. It’s a huge gamble, but it works out. Now, if Mike had indeed been innocent, what keeps him from putting Gerard on the stand anyway, after the charges have been dropped? Maybe that’s not possible, because it’s a lawyer-y backroom deal. In the meantime, Louis (Rick Hoffman) has taken a look at the email and knows exactly who wrote it. The way it’s written, is classic Sheila Sazs (Rachael Harris, Lucifer), his former soulmate – with the emphasis on former.

It Gets Worse
Like in many cases, Louis talks to Sheila and just makes matters worse. She didn’t know for sure that Mike was a fraud (ergo: ‘potential’), and wasn’t planning on coming forward. Unfortunately, she has now. Given she’s the female counterpart of Louis, maybe even more rigid and stubborn, it’s going to take a lot to win this case. Also because every other law firm now knows about the fact that Mike’s a suspect – publicity is a bitch -, and Rachel (Meghan Markle) is contemplating strategies to keep her boyfriend/fiancé out of jail. It looks like the only way to do that, is turning Harvey in instead. With everything that’s going on, and half the city knowing about the case, it finally seems like something Mike and Harvey won’t be able to weasel themselves out of this time. But you never know. This is Suits. Suits operated by puppet master Aaron Korsh.

2016 Q1 Pilot Season

It’s the beginning of the year and CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX are busy ordering, reshooting and test-audiencing their pilots for the 2016-2017 season. What are we going to watch after we get bored by (the already cancelled, just doesn’t know it yet, dead show walking) Second Chance, (style over substance) Quantico, (paint by numbers) Blindspot and (sprawling) Limitless? They’re holding the cards. Let’s take a peek at their hands.

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24: Legacy
A year ago, FOX was in the preliminary stages of creating an Expendables-like action series. Legendary television action heroes would team up and kick, strangle, shoot and blow up bad guys. I suppose, given the stubborn nature of these characters (Magnum, Jack Bauer, Michael Knight, Sydney Bristow), they couldn’t make a deal with them to share the limelight, so there hasn’t been news about this idea for a while. They did come up with a reboot of sorts – yes, another one – to continue the 24 franchise. No matter the ratings, no matter the critical acclaim, 24: Live Another Day was very disappointing. A clean slate was promised, and we got more of the same. Luckily, it only lasted half a day. FOX seems to have come to its senses, because they’re serious about starting from scratch, with 24: Legacy. No Jack. No Chloe. No Bill. No Audrey. They’re all out of the picture – i.e. let Jack rot in a Russian prison. New players, new CTU, new leading man: Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton, The Walking Dead). Also starring is Miranda Otto, who’s switching from one Howard Gordon show (Homeland) to the next. That’s all good news, on paper. However, it is once again about a ‘potential largest-scale terrorist attack on American soil’. When are they going to realize it’s not the scale of the threat that once made this series so great?

MacGyver
While FOX is reworking its past successes, CBS thought it’d be a good idea to bring back MacGyver. The guy who could melt steel with a matchstick, blow up tanks with a popsicle, make a trampoline out of toothpaste. Even in the eighties, this show was already too goofy. The only way it would work is, if they come up with not just realistic, but real physics tricks. My guess is the 2016 audience doesn’t like to be fooled as much as the one of 30 years ago, so they’d better bring in the Mythbusters.

Re-Imaginations
These aren’t the only re-imaginations. NBC thinks it can strike gold in B-movie territory. Apparently, there’s a good enough reason to continue the story started in Cruel Intentions (1999). For Taken – Liam Neeson’s I’m going to hunt you down trilogy – they’ve created a prequel series. It’s about how ‘a young Brian Mills develops his particular skill set’. So, basically another MacGyver show. If you change the name of Mills into ‘Dr. Phil’, then you get the logline of CBS’ Bull. A procedural to inflate Phil McGraw’s ego a little more, turning his younger self into the incredibly smart man that he (thinks he) is, who’s helping people prepare for trial. That sounds a lot like the 2006 series Justice. With The Following obliterated, FOX gets its creep on once again, with The Exorcist. Set 15 years after the 2001 movie ended, CBS’ Training Day will pick up the story that got Denzel Washinton his Oscar. Ethan Hawke’s character will not only be older, but also morally more ambiguous.

Supernatural Beings and Lawyers
What’s a pilot season without vampires, werewolves and angels? Written by Monica Owusu-Breen (Alias, Fringe, Revolution, Brothers & Sisters, Charmed and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Midnight Texas brings all of your supernatural suspects to life. Also on NBC: Suits First Class AKA Miranda’s Rights and Timecop Sliders AKA Time, written by Shawn Ryan (Mad Dogs, The Shield). The green apples in ABC’s basket: Cold Case 2.0 AKA Conviction, created by Liz Friedman (Elementary, House MD). ‘Macbeth with a Cuban twist’, The Death of Eva Sofia Valdez, created by Charise Castro Smith (Devious Maids). The People vs Somebody Else AKA The Jury, written by VJ Boyd (Justified), directed by Neil Burger (Billions) and produced by Carol Mendelsohn (the one who founded the CSI factory).

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ABC
There’s no telling when the superhero hype’s going to slow down, but we’re getting closer. ABC puts another series out there, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff Marvel’s Most Wanted, to completely clog the trend. Nobody cares about models, but that’s no reason to pass on Model Woman, a sort of Models Inc In The Seventies, written by Helen Childress, who’s got one other writing credit to her name (Reality Bites). If we didn’t have enough legal business already: Notorious focuses on a criminal defense attorney and a cable news producer. Stephanie Sigman (Narcos, Spectre) stars in Presence as a private investigator, created by John Ridley (12 Years a Slave, American Crime). Also on ABC: Bizarro Revolution AKA Spark, created by Michael Cooney (Identity). Romeo & Juliet The Sequel AKA Still Star-Crossed, created by Heather Mitchell (Scandal, The Chicago Code). And another Time Machine Series AKA Time After Time, created by Kevin Williamson (The Vampire Diaries, Stalker, The Following).

The Ghost of Dave Eggers
Over on CBS: Dave Eggers’ The Circle Meets Dr. House AKA Bunker Hill, written by Jason Katims (Parenthood, About a Boy). Katherine Heigl’s 68th Chance To Show Her Acting Skills AKA Doubt, and Sherlock Is A Woman AKA Drew, written by Joan Rater (Grey’s Anatomy). Although CBS’ Zoo was a (and this is the appropriate term) turd of a show, FOX just made Zoo 2: More Sick Animals under the name of Zoobiquity, written by Stephen Nathan (Bones, Joan of Arcadia). Also on FOX: Dave Eggers’ The Circle Meets Hill Street Blues AKA A.P.B., directed by Len Wiseman, who’s done the pilots for Hawaii Five-O, Sleepy Hollow and most recently Lucifer. Quantico Homeland Mashup AKA Recon, written by Caroline Dries (The Vampire Diaries). The Way Of The Ball Or What Was That Clint Eastwood Movie Called Or Was It That Kevin Costner One? AKA Pitch, starring Kylie Bunbury (Under the Dome) and written by Dan Fogelman (Galavant, Danny Collins).

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A Title So Bad
Two more FOX shows are Shots Fired, about ‘racially charged shootings in a small town’ and (working title) Star, starring Queen Latifah and Benjamin Bratt, a kind of Nashville, this time in Atlanta. The last show on our list, makes us come full circle: ABC’s Designated Survivor. A title so bad, the leading man takes you by surprise: Kiefer Sutherland. It’d be wrong to assume he’s going to play another Bauer-ish character, especially given the logline: ‘A lower-level U.S. Cabinet member suddenly is appointed President after a catastrophic attack during the State of the Union kills everyone above him in the line of succession.’ That sounds interesting. The show, which has been ordered straight to series, is written by David Guggenheim (Safe House) and produced by Simon Kinberg (X-Men Apocalypse, The Martian). Now, is Sutherland going to play this Cabinet member and what’s he going to do as acting President? Who knows. This is by far the most promising pilot of all, but please, ABC, change the name. Mr. Sutherland Goes To Washington would even be a better title than Designated Survivor.

The Mike Ross Situation In Flux

Suits returns from its autumn break with ‘Blowback’ and things don’t look good. When Mike Ross was taken away in handcuffs at the end of ‘Faith’, my guess was it didn’t have anything to do with his dirty lawyer secret; the show just wanted us to believe that. It’d be a misunderstanding, somebody wanting revenge because of a lost case, that’s all. But no. Mike’s in the sourest pickle that’s been dangling above his head since the beginning.

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Somebody’s Been Talking
Somebody’s out to bury Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams, Luck, LOST: ‘The Man From Tallahassee’) and every one of his friends with him, or so it seems. The circle of people who knew Mike was a fraud, had grown bigger each season, but it was still pretty much contained. Well, the cat’s out of the attaché case now. Somebody’s been talking, but who? The first thing the Ross/Specter/Zane family needs to do, is finding out who might’ve shot his mouth off. Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht, The Others, The Spirit) pays an awkward visit to Dana ‘Scotty’ Scott (Abigail Spencer, Mad Men, True Detective). She wants to sweat her former boyfriend a little, but she hasn’t talked and – probably – won’t. All the while, Mike’s put away and being interrogated by hound dog Anita Gibbs (Leslie Hope, 24, Tyrant).

Not A Lawyer
Gibbs is pretty good at scaring tactics, but there’s only one Mike Ross. He does however get quite railed up when his lawyer steps through the door. It’s not the one he was expecting. Rachel (Meghan Markle, 90210, Fringe) called her father for help, and Robert Zane (Wendell Pierce, The Wire, Treme, The Michael J. Fox Show) couldn’t be happier to see his soon-to-be son-in-law in a jail cell, accused of pretending to be a lawyer. He wants to know if it’s true. I think you already have the answer to that, Mike says. Harvey’s standing by, so when Robert walks out, furious, he steps in and tells Mike just how simple it is: they don’t have to prove he’s a lawyer; it’s up to Gibbs to prove that he isn’t.

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The Usual Suspects
Mike is released on bail and contacts his old friend Trevor (Tom Lipinski, The Knick). He’s also not the one who ratted him out. There are two people they’ve forgotten about: Claire (Troian Bellisario, Pretty Little Liars), Mike’s ex-girlfriend, and hacker girl Lola Jensen (Amanda Crew, Silicon Valley), who helped out Mike in the season 1 episode ‘Identity Crisis’. It seems unreasonable to assume anyone from the inner circle would deliberately go after him. There must have been a fly on the wall, of some kind, put there by one of the bad guys. Jack Soloff (John Pyper-Ferguson, Bird on a Wire, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr, Jeremiah, The Last Ship)? Doesn’t seem likely. He’s more of an ambitious errand boy. Daniel Hardman (David Costabile, The Wire, Breaking Bad, Damages) then? He seems too busy with Billions at the moment. Or maybe the biggest baddest wolf of all, Charles Forstman (Eric Roberts, the hardest working man in Hollywood)? Maybe the writers pull a ‘matryoshka‘ and introduce an even more powerful player.

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Just When You Thought You Were Out…
Just when you thought you were out, they pull you back in. Harvey resigned, Mike quit; everything was going to be fine. Harvey would start his own firm, in all likelihood, and Mike would marry Rachel and get a job as some legal advisor or something. But now it’s all hands on deck. Harvey’s back at work, even though he promised Forstman he’d leave. Mike blackmails Soloff, so when Harvey shows up, the first thing Soloff is going to do is not give Forstman a call. And Donna (Sarah Rafferty) leaves her ‘Litt Station’ to help Mike and Harvey any way she can. That probably means Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) will have Gretchen (Aloma Wright) as his new secretary. ‘Blowback’ does what Suits has been doing for five and a half seasons straight; not missing a beat. Welcome back.

2016 Q1 Watchlist

It’s the first day of the rest of your lives – happy new year, everyone – and it’s only a matter of time before the media starts calling it Official (Inter)National Hangover Day. Sit back and relax, get yourself a clean water drip, some spicy tomatoes and fried eggs (in that exact order; trust me, that’ll help). You don’t have to do anything today, except get excited about the new TV season. We’ve taken a look at the schedule and there’s some good stuff on it. Potentially, of course. In chronological order, you don’t want to miss the following shows.

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January
It’s probably due to the massive workload on the desks of Martin Freeman (Fargo, The Hobbit, The Office UK) and Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game, Doctor Strange, The Hobbit), that Sherlock has been taking its sweet time. At least we’re getting one episode this year – airing tonight, in fact – called ‘The Abominable Bride’. If you prefer lighter work, I’d suggest the start of the second season of Galavant, on January 3. It’s such a fish out of water, being a medieval musical comedy series, which never should’ve made it to episode 2, let alone season 2, but maybe that’s exactly its strength; going against the grain and beating the odds. The more conventional (and currently best) comedy series return two days later: The Grinder and Brooklyn Nine Nine.

Idol XV
It’s been a given, for the past 174 years: American Idol. But we’ll have to say goodbye to the singing competition. J-Lo, K.U., Harry ‘Nae Nae’ Jay Jay and Cresto will be desk-judging one last time. After weeks and weeks, pick a superstar. And then push that same superstar into anonymity again before the night is through. It’s been a music biz tradition, and now it ends. It took 14 seasons to realize you can’t manufacture an idol. Its 15th starts on January 6.

Shades of Blue
Jennifer Lopez has had more success being a judge than playing somebody else. I’m not sure exactly where she turned right where she should’ve gone straight ahead (Gigli? The Cell? The Wedding Planner?), but her acting days seemed to be dead and buried. On January 7, on NBC (right after Idol on FOX, I suppose), and produced by a company called ‘Ryan Seacrest Productions’, she stars in new police drama Shades of Blue, together with Ray Liotta and Drea de Matteo.

How to Out-Netflix Netflix
On January 10, we take a breath with Ricky Gervais and the Golden Globes. On January 13, FOX rolls out Second Chance (which once has gone by the names of The Frankenstein Code and Lookinglass). The next day, it’s Colony time on USA. Gordon Ramsay returns on January 15 with a new bunch of hopefuls (and two or three contestants who can actually cook) on Hell’s Kitchen. After burning down the house, it’s time to get political. Real time, with Bill Maher over on HBO. That same weekend, the complete first season of Angie Tribeca, created by Steve and Nancy Carrell, will be released by TBS. The next week, its second season already starts, on a weekly basis, so you’d better catch up fast. Man, they’re sure trying to out-Netflix Netflix on this one.

Ninja Warrior Duo-Play Edition
I know it will bring a smile on your face when I tell you that Damian Lewis is back on Showtime (January 17). Not as an ambivalent veteran this time, though. He and Paul Giamatti star in Billions. Expect shady business in the corporate world. Everybody else is doing it, so why can’t we, is what PBS must’ve thought. Mercy Street is their first drama in over a decade. On January 19, it’s a whole other ballgame, when the American Ninja Warrior spin-off Team Ninja Warrior comes out of the cage.

High Anticipation
Amazon finally releases its first season of Shawn Ryan’s Mad Dogs, on January 22. The pilot was amazing and we’ve been losing our patience ever since. Two days after that, another highly anticipated premiere: the 10th season of The X-Files. Stubbled Mulder and Scully gone blonde go ‘out there’ again, for a mere 6 episodes. On January 25, FOX unleashes the super-antihero Lucifer, starring Tom Ellis. The following day, Outsiders premieres on WGN. A series about a mountain community, deliberately cut off from the rest of the world, starring David Morse. January 27 is a work day, at least at Pearson Specter Litt, when Suits returns.

Travolta vs. The Muppets
It’s no secret the reinvention of The Muppets hasn’t been a critical success. Or success, period. They’ve been busy retooling the show, so on February 2, we might get pleasantly surprised. I say: more Pepe! The furry animals have steep competition, though, because American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson premieres on the same night. John Travolta is in it; need I say more?

11/22/63
February 3, there’s an interesting mini-series, called Madoff, starring Richard Dreyfuss, Erin Cummings and Lewis Black. While everything’s up and running, we take a short break, until HBO brings out Vinyl on February 14. The trailers didn’t exactly grab me, but you never know; maybe it’s one of those typical HBO slow suck-in shows. Hulu starts to step onto the plate more and more, and you want to look out for 11.22.63 on February 15. Time travel, J.J. Abrams’ production company Bad Robot and Stephen King; what more do you want? I tell you what I don’t want: James Franco. But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.

Tuxedos
February 15 is also the date of the continuation of Jimmy McGill’s transformation into Saul Goodman. On February 26, Netflix not only launches the sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but also – one of the biggest bets they’ve ever placed, in my opinion – the Full House revival show Fuller House. I mean, really, who’s going to watch that? February 28, it’s the night of tuxedos and commercials: The Academy Awards.

The Re-Election, Maybe, of Frank Underwood
Blindspot returns on leap day February 29, but the real event of that week is, of course, the 4th season of House of Cards, on March 4. Quantico’s back on March 6, and ABC has re-written, re-shot, re-directed and re-cast their Thrones wannabe Of Kings and Prophets, which will premiere on March 8. Speaking of Game of Thrones, the 6th season is set to begin on April 24, but that’s yet to be officially confirmed.

Perry Passion
March 9, it’s WGN again, with Underground, which reads as a mashup of 12 Years a Slave and The Great Escape. On March 24, Peter Krause, Sonya Walger and Mireille Enos star in The Catch on ABC. Hulu brings The Path on March 30, starring Aaron ‘bitch’ Paul and Rockmond Dunbar, and last but not least, FOX will air a live broadcast of The Passion on March 20. Tyler Perry will narrate the last hours of Jesus Christ, while a huge white cross will be carried through the streets of New Orleans.

The X-Files: Roland

The penultimate episode of the first season of The X-Files is about a guy named – wait for it – Roland, and yet again it features an actor we’ve come to know pretty well over the years: Željko Ivanek (don’t forget that tiny twitter bird on top of the Z). His body of work includes practically every TV show ever made (Oz, Law & Order, Heroes, Big Love, Damages, The Mentalist, The Event, Banshee, Revolution, LOST, The Americans, The Mob Doctor, Suits, True Blood, Madam Secretary, to name a few), but to me, he’ll forever be Andre Drazen (24).

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The Janitor Did It
At the time of ‘Roland’, Ivanek had been in the business for over 10 years, but nothing worth mentioning. The team of The X-Files had a knack for attracting talent, brought him on board and turned him into – because they also liked to borrow a lot of stuff – a television version of Rain Man (and perhaps inspired Edward Norton for his portrayal of Jack Teller in the movie The Score, who knows).
Roland is a janitor, sweeping the floors, avoiding eye contact, not knowing how to unlock doors of the laboratory, who suddenly seems to step outside of himself to operate machinery, kill scientists and write brilliant mathematical equations on white boards. It looks like we’ve got ourselves another ghost of some kind, taking over the body of an innocent antagonist.

Comfortably Confident
We’ve seen it before, more than once this season, so it’s getting a bit tiresome. However, it is actually a clever spin on the concept. It’s not a ghost. Not really. And Roland isn’t faking his autism either. While Mulder and Scully are investigating the case, they’re kind of flirting with each other again. Whether it’s because they were almost done shooting the season (only one more episode to go) or not, they both have found their humor again and we haven’t seen that for some time. They seem to be much more comfortable in their roles. I think we have to go back to the pilot when they last looked this confident to do the tongue-in-cheek thing.
Figure of speech, of course. We know Mulder and Scully will never have any intention to stick either tongue in either cheek. Except maybe for that one time, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Arthur
Roland has a twin brother. Arthur. But he died. Or did he? He’s being preserved, is more what it is. Kept in a cosy tank, waiting for the day technology’s figured out a way to bring him back from the dead. Because there’s a strong psychic connection between siblings – especially twins – Roland’s brain is being accessed by Arthur. Needless to say, to Mulder this makes perfect sense. Arthur uses Roland’s body, not only to finish his research, but also to get rid of some (or all) of his former colleagues.

Touching
It’s only when Arthur makes Roland about to kill again, that Mulder and Scully show up just in time. Roland’s able to turn Arthur off. However, he must leave the home where he lives with other autistic people. That means saying goodbye to Tracy (Kerry Sandomirsky, The Killing), who ‘loves’ him. He loves her, too, he says. It’s actually a touching moment, even though there isn’t any form of touching going on.
Like I said, it’s hard to be too enthusiastic about this episode, since it’s basically yet another play on the same idea. The series, 23 episodes in, shows a little fatigue already. Still, ‘Roland’ has got a lot going for it.

The Cancellation of Graceland

Viewers and critics alike don’t care about ratings, just about the quality of the shows they’re watching. Networks, on the other hand, initially only have their expectations and crystal balls to go on. They make an assessment of how a script is likely going to be translated to screen, judging by creator, actors and director. Then, they decide to start production on a number of episodes. But when a show’s on the air and doing great in the quality department but is unable to rake in the necessary ratings, there’s no mercy.

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Bad Decisions
This week we had to say goodbye to a merciless kill by USA. They don’t usually make bad decisions; they’ve been renewing Suits – one of the best shows on television -, they’ve chosen Satisfaction over Rush for a new season (the former will have its second coming on October 16), and very recently they’ve lost dead weight Complications. But every now and then, a show just doesn’t haul in enough (big) advertising (contracts), like, apparently and for incomprehensible reasons, in the case of Graceland. So we had to say goodbye to Briggs, Mike, Paige, Charlie, Johnny and Jakes. At a point where it was getting very, very interesting.

Fresh and New
The show, starring Daniel Sunjata, Aaron Tveit, Serinda Swan, Vanessa Ferlito, Manny Montana and Brandon Jay McLaren, blew up the summer of 2013 with its first season. Every week there were multiple cliffhangers, revelations, twists, turns, sharp dialogue, cool images, sizzling locations, this fresh new show was on everybody’s radar immediately. So where did it all go wrong, I hear you ask. But did something actually go wrong?

Dead Serious
The way I see it, every Graceland season wore a different signature. Almost like for three years in a row, the show changed showrunners. From the funny, action-packed season 1, they went for a more serious approach in season 2, with a new Mike. Still played by Tveit, he was a different guy. Left Graceland at the end of the first season finale, he came back after Briggs invited him, but at arrival demanded right away he’d be the man in charge. It turned out to be a total failure, with him doing some very questionable things. But not only that. His storyline was the least interesting of all, combined with the audience – well, I for one felt that way – distancing themselves from him, this new Mike that wasn’t relatable anymore, and suddenly Graceland was no longer about the laughs and the action sequences. It’d become a dead serious portrayal of a man who was losing his way. Therefor it was such a fitting ending, when the season 2 finale saw Mike die in a hospital bed.

Puppet
It was the ultimate price; giving his life, sacrificing himself for everything he’d done. It was the first (and last) noble thing he’d done in a long time. But you can’t kill off the star of your show, an old Hollywood rule prescribes, so he was brought back. He wasn’t an egomaniac anymore (season 2), and the time he used to be an ambitious, decent but gutsy new kid on the block was long behind him (season 1), no, he came back to life a junkie (season 3). An addict, or should I say puppet, with Briggs pulling the strings.

Evolvement
The third season quickly wrapped up all the loose ends the writers forgot about resolving, and turned its attention to the Sarkissian mob family and Briggs’ undercover sting operation. The show changed its tune again, and drew inspiration from Robert Rodriguez’ Sin City (the episode ‘Aha’) and Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs (‘No Old Tigers’).
This tune changing might be an explanation for the declining viewership. If you were to compare the pilot and the series finale, the difference should be obvious. Now, that’s not a bad thing, per se. Evolvement can only be applauded. But maybe it went too fast to keep up for most people, who knows.

The Fugitive
It’s just sad, when the last episode promised so many opportunities for great stuff if a fourth season had been greenlit. As we’ve mentioned before, one of the coolest things that could happen is one of the Gracelanders turning on his or her former team mates. Like Tony Almeida (24, season 7). The season three finale set it up nicely, with Jakes leaving the band, choosing a life as a fugitive. Then again, I guess the best finales make you imagine what could’ve been. Although, just a lousy three seasons of Graceland, 38 episodes in total, just isn’t enough.