I watch very little television. Why? Because there are often better things to do with my time, and spending them passively watching television isn’t the most productive of activities. If there’s a program I like I’ll find the time or make the time to watch. Jonathan Creek, mentioned yesterday, is one of those programs.
The Practice is another.
By and large I found last season disappointing. It had good moments, and the short-lived addition of Ron Livingston brought about one of the best episodes of the series ever where Livingston’s Alan Lowe faced off against Camryn Mannheim’s Eleanor Frutt in finding a teenaged gang member who shot and killed another youth. Overall the season didn’t engage me as it had in years before. And with Lindsay Dole being convicted of first degree murder in the final episode, I had grave doubts about this season.
Tonight’s season premiere, however, reminded me of what I loved about The Practice–desperate lawyers employing desperate tactics at great personal cost navigating a moral landscape so murky that black and white are indistinguishable. It wasn’t a great episode as much of the hour was spent on exposition setting up future plot threads, but the writing itself was crisp, the acting compelling. The story of a kidnapper who wanted to make peace with the woman whose child she kidnapped and the woman blamed for that kidnapping sixteen years ago was classic Practice. The issues revolving around Lindsay’s appeal weren’t quite as engaging, but they were necessary to drive forward future episodes. Will Lindsay be freed on appeal and a new trial ordered? I have no idea. Honestly, I could go either way on the question. But I feel confident it will be an interesting ride getting there.