Picks and Pans Review: Courthouse
This strenuous, sometimes muscle-bound drama begins with a bang. A criminal who has just received the death sentence pulls out a gun and shoots the judge. The victim's black-robed brethren convene in chambers and, after observing a moment of silence, immediately begin wrangling over the dead judge's choice parking spot. It is a quick orientation to the show's portrayal of the urban criminal justice system as a rank environment full of heartless bastards.
Although the bad guys are at the center of the action that drives each episode, the most engaging characters are the handful of people who have managed to stay compassionate in this harsh world, especially a pair of judges (Patricia Wettig and Brad Johnson) and a committed public defender (Nia Peeples). We follow this small band from the courtroom to the bedroom, watching them work through their professional and personal trials.
Although the show tries hard to shock and amuse, the plots are often lumbering and heavy-handed.