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.

True Detective: The Western Book of the Dead

The second season of True Detective has arrived. The premiere, at least, since HBO doesn’t do the binge yet. Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson and Michelle Monaghan have been replaced by Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn and Rachel McAdams. Everything else is different, too. Apart from its tone, it’s a new show, basically.

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Nevermind
The episode opens strong. From the sultry depths of pop music, rises the voice of Leonard Cohen. No stranger to diabolical crime plots involving dysfunctional characters – two tracks of his album ‘The Future’ ended up in the movie Natural Born Killers -, Cohen accompanies the leader with the song ‘Nevermind’: The war was lost / the treaty signed / I was not caught / I crossed the line. Unfortunately, the line on the chart immediately goes into a dive after that.

Staring into Space
What follows is an hour of staring into space, people doing nothing, scars, booze and a total lack of humor. Writer Nic Pizzolatto avoids anything that could be considered funny business and has created yet another world of serious beyond serious characters. Irony is absent. Sarcasm doesn’t exist. Relativisation’s gone out the window. Like American Crime, over on ABC, the show’s so stodgy, it becomes a hard pill to swallow. Not because of story, or graphic scenes, but due to writing without some much-needed air between the words.

Ray Velcoro
The second ‘pilot’, if you will, deals mostly with detective Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell). His son – probably conceived when his wife was raped, but no one knows for sure – gets bullied in school, so Velcoro teaches the bully’s father a lesson. He’s tight with Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn), a seemingly (as far as criminals go) sympathetic guy, and the one who gave him the identity of his wife’s rapist – currently ex-wife. Life hasn’t exactly been a friend of Velcoro’s, so at night he drinks Johnny Walker as if it were Mountain Dew on a hot summer day.

Unnecessary Prologue
It’s only at the very end of the episode that things start to get into motion. Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch), a suicidal – or at the least unstable – motorcycle cop, Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams), another detective, and Velcoro are put together after finding a dead body. It’s a guy whose eyes have been removed. This is probably the case they’ll all be working on together for the next 7 weeks, and this was all just an hour of unnecessary prologue.

A Defining Show
There’s another character in the show whose appearance is noteworthy, but it doesn’t look like he’s going to be a regular, or of any importance. David Morse plays Eliot Bezzerides, Ani and Athena’s hippy/guru dad. Athena’s masturbating in front of a webcam for a (legal) porn(ish) internet site, but I’m not sure that’s going anywhere in the overall story either. It just seems like another one of Pizzolatto’s examples of how batshit crazy we, human beings, actually are. It’s too bad he’s not interested in the whole picture, though; it’s the dark side, and only the dark side, he puts his flashlight on, discarding everything else. It seems even the director – Justin Lin, responsible for 4 of the 7 instalments of the Fast & Furious franchise – wasn’t allowed any input.
How could this show ever have turned into the hype it was last year? I still think it was because McConaughey was on top of every bill at the time, and not because True Detective was such a defining show in the history of television.

I Know What You Watch This Summer

TV would have a time-out during the summer months, but at this point, when the big boring procedurals go on holiday, the more interesting stuff comes out to play. This is a rundown of what you’ll be watching this summer.

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Take a brilliant feature film director and keep the keys of the writing room far away from him. This could be good. Wayward Pines (May 14) is M. Night Shyamalan’s crossbreed between The Sixth Sense and Twin Peaks. Starring Matt ‘everybody knows who he is, but can’t name one movie with him in it’ Dillon and the amazing Carla Gugino.

One week later, History adds a few more historical bad asses to their lineup. After Vikings, it’s time for Texas Rangers, in Texas Rising (May 25). Starring Bill Paxton, but it could just as well be Will Patton, I can never tell the difference.

At one point, it looked like he was going to be Fox Mulder forever, but his portrayal of Hank Moody has also become legendary. It could go either way this time. The tagline for Aquarius (May 28) never grabbed me. Investigating Charles Manson? That can only end badly. The writers probably came up with a twist, but I’ve yet to hear it.
Creepy, but in a more extraterrestrial way, is The Whispers (June 1). A ‘force’ is manipulating kids into achieving its goal, whatever that may be. A lot of mystery and you know: the bigger the secret, the bigger the payoff has to be. We’ll see.

Constance Zimmer (House of Cards) is back, but it’s a long way from the White House. Unreal (June 1) is all about a dating competition program. Her former home, Netflix, is the gift that keeps on giving. On June 5th, they launch Sense8, the show directed by James McTeigue (V For Vendetta) and created by The Wachowski siblings.

As usual, FX has got a lot to offer. The second season of Tyrant (June 16), for example, but also a new comedy by Denis Leary: Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll (July 16). It wasn’t hard to figure out what that will be about.

TNT keeps on trying to overshadow USA, but I don’t think it’s their year. Despite the fact that Proof (June 16) stars the wonderful Jennifer Beals, the premise sounds like a watered down The X-Files and all that’s left is Scully doing autopsies.
Falling Skies (June 28) is back, as well as Cold Justice (July 31), Legends (August 25), Rizzoli & Isles (June 16) and The Last Ship (June 21).
That last one will disappear between the waves, because on the same day HBO brings out their big guns. The return of True Detective, followed by two comedies. Ballers, starring Dwayne Johnson and The Brink, starring Jack Black, Tim Robbins and directed by Jay Roach (Austin Powers, Meet The Parents).
TNT’s dark horse is Public Morals (August 17), a period police drama set in 1967, directed by Edward Burns.

Suits has just ended its fourth season, but is back on June 24th. USA cancelled Rush last year and will replace him with another doctor in Complications (June 18). They’re also moving into AMC territory, with the hacker series Mr. Robot (June 24), starring Steve Buscemi’s brother Michael and Christian Slater.
On June 25th we’ll finally know whether Mike Warren actually died or not. The second season wasn’t as hot as the first, so I’m looking forward to the third of Graceland.

Stephen King’s Under the Dome (June 25) also goes into its third year, where Zoo (June 30) still has to prove itself. Showtime’s got its usual suspects lined up: Penny Dreadful (May 3), Ray Donovan (July 12) and Masters of Sex (July 12), and NBC will once again be the one to beat when it comes to reality, with Running Wild with Bear Grylls (July 13) and American Ninja Warrior (May 25).

You may say Orange is the New Black (June 12) and cannibal may be the new serial killer Hannibal (June 4), but summer is the new spring.