Empty9-10 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17
Setting a series in New Orleans -- and actually producing it there -- is brave and admirable. "K-ville" is a reminder that things are still rough in the Big Easy, that parts of the city are little changed since the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina receded. And it shows us how much remains to be done.
So you go in rooting for "K-ville" to succeed, but it doesn't take long before the shortcomings become too great to ignore. Police procedurals have become increasingly sophisticated in their storytelling. Whether or not creator-writer Jonathan Lisco can achieve clever plot twists remains to be seen. In the premiere, his focus is on explaining New Orleans' lingering problems of crime, housing and post-traumatic stress. Solving crime is happenstance, accomplished mostly through car chase and coincidence.
At its heart, "K-ville" is a buddy drama. Anthony Anderson plays Marlin Boulet, a cop who loves the Crescent City even more than he loves his wife and daughter. They relocated to Atlanta, but Marlin won't budge. On the force, he's been without a partner for a couple of years, ever since his former partner became overwhelmed by the mess Katrina made of everything and simply fled the city.
In the opener, Boulet gets a new partner, Trevor Cobb (Cole Hauser), a mystery man and a straight arrow. Their first assignment is to find out why people keep shooting up charity benefits that raise money for rebuilding. No sooner does a benefit get rolling then bullets start flying. It's very discouraging.
There is only minimal magnetism between the new partners. Anderson plays Marlin with civic pride that borders on fanatical. While Marlin wears his heart on his sleeve, Trevor all but locks his away. He is aloof and humorless. Marlin enjoys knocking back a few shots while on duty, while Trevor won't touch a drop. Other than enjoying a good ol' fashioned car chase, they might have nothing at all in common.
Before Katrina, New Orleans was a city with its own vibe, filled to the brim with colorful characters, nonstop music and joie de vivre. For now, though, it is a city fighting to regain its balance. The more "K-ville" captures this aura of gloom, the more depressing it is to watch. So what if Marlin and Trevor catch bad guys? The city is still a mess. The people they really need to nab are the engineers who designed the city levee system. Only then will there be any real hope.
Fox scheduled the series after "Prison Break," which is logical. However, it puts "K-ville" in an impossible time period. Up against NBC's "Heroes, CBS' comedies and the last half hour of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," "K-ville" is as likely to succeed as Michael Brown is to be elected king of the Mardi Gras.
Lockjaw in association with 20th Century Fox Television
Executive producer/creator/teleplay: Jonathan Lisco
Producer: Kelly A. Manners
Co-producer: David Burns
Director: Deran Serafian
Director of photography: Dermott Downs
Production designer: Debbie DeVilla
Editors: Sue Blainey, Michael Ruscio
Score: Philip Giffin;Set decorator: Tim Cohn
Casting: Scott Genkinger
Marlin Boulet: Anthony Anderson
Trevor Cobb: Cole Hauser
Ginger "Love Tap" LeBeau: Tawny Cypress
Jeff "Glue Boy" Gooden: Blake Shields
Capt. James Embry: John Carroll Lynch