Lunchtable TV Talk: Rosewood

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Rosewood is one of those shows. It’s one I could take or leave. My mom really liked it and encouraged me to watch. We don’t usually align on our favorite tv shows – this was no exception. But I like Morris Chestnut and decided to give it a go. (Sure, I preferred Morris in Nurse Jackie and even in the reboot of V… but I will take what I can get.)

This was a slow starter for me. I found the premise tired, the setting rather unbelievable, a lot of details thrown in just for the sake of drama, tension or diversity (i.e., nothing wrong with those things but they did not seem to flow naturally, which ended up being distracting). Characters felt artificial, showing up at strange times and just not fitting into the flow. I don’t know if this jarring effect was intentional (maybe it is more like real life to throw a group of unlikely random people together than other shows that cast for specific types of chemistry?), but for me, it did not work at all. I found myself annoyed most of the time by the female lead/detective, Annalise Villa, with whom Rosewood was constantly pairing up. Eventually, though, I warmed up to her and think she started filling the role more believably (that often happens on tv shows – actors and writers find their footing). I am still not mad about most of the rest of the cast and its characters, but Rosewood and Villa are a compelling pair.

The show’s premise is nothing particularly fresh – Rosewood is a private pathologist/medical examiner with whom the city of Miami consults on tough cases. And like all police procedurals that bring in medical examiners or psychics or writers or what have you, the non-police characters are still somehow woven directly into the daily investigative work of the police, which strikes me as pretty unrealistic. But how much would we watch otherwise? How much smoldering chemistry would you get between a detective and a pathologist if they each spent the entire show working in their own spheres? Yeah, exactly.

The show tries a few “hooks” – Rosewood is flashy, slick, arrogant (and with reason – he seems to be the best at what he does) and stubbornly unable to drop something once he has a hunch. But he is also riddled with a history of health problems and a stopwatch on his life – how much time does he have left? He imagines it might be as little as ten years. So… pack as much as possible – including crime solving?! – into the time that’s left?! I don’t know. That angle felt pretty weak to me from the beginning, and is often used as a convenient reason to introduce different characters and storylines that don’t always feel well reasoned otherwise.

For the first eight or so episodes, I watched but was disengaged, and would wander off to get coffee or something for minutes at a time. I am sure I missed something useful but it never really seemed to matter. Every episode felt like it was definitely much longer than 45 minutes. By the end of the first season, I was not hooked and could easily forget to watch the next season, but at least I was not leaving the room periodically while an episode was running.

Photo (c) 2010 Sergio Monsalve

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