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The Good Cop - Season 1 - Review: "The Good Cop Needs to be Better"



Josh Groban is an actor. Josh Groban is an actor. I had to keep repeating this in my head over and over because I honestly had no idea he did any acting before watching him on this show. And you know what? He's not bad. Out of all the problems this show has, he is the smallest. There is much more outside of him that could use a Good tuneup.

The show is about Tony Caruso Jr., a Good Cop, who's former cop father, Tony Caruso Sr., comes home from prison to live with him. His father was busted for, well, a lot of crimes he committed as a cop. Now they have to navigate their rocky relationship while solving crimes. Rounding out the cast are Cora, Tony Sr.'s parole officer turned homicide detective and Tony Jr.'s love interest (sort of), Tony Jr.'s coworkers Ryan, a young tech geek, and Burl, a long-time and long-tired cop. This has all of the workings of a police procedural with a high-end noir-esque feel with comedic, sitcom-like touches. If you take it for what it is, it's a fine show. It's entirely harmless. But if you're looking for something closer to Andy Breckman's other show, the big hit Monk, you won't find it here.


Instead of getting into the nitty gritty of these episodes, I think I'd rather play a game and make watching this more fun. I'm going to list aspects to watch for in the show, and for every one that you spot, you get a certain amount of points. The one with the most points wins, or loses, depending on how you look at it.


For every time a character believes the suspect is innocent and won't listen to reason, 10 points.

On too many occasions does the plot revolve around a murder occurring and there being one cop who believes the suspect is innocent because they have or develop a personal relationship with them, ignoring all evidence to the contrary. Unbelievably, this happens twice in a row where Tony Sr. is determined to believe that his idol is innocent despite the evidence against him. The very next episode does the same thing only this time it's Tony Jr. who believes in the suspect and everyone else believes her to be guilty, and he refuses to listen to them. It's understandable for a regular network cop show to have a couple of episodes like this in a regular, 22 episode season, but it's inexcusable for a show to do this this many times in a 10 episode season.


For every time that suspect actually turns out to be the bad guy, a bonus 5 points.

Also, every single time it turns out that that same suspect is the guilty party. On multiple occasions, there's either a middle of the episode reveal or last-second reveal that they are the bad guy. Tony Jr.'s love interest, Tony Sr.'s love interest, Tony Sr.'s idol. All guilty. There is maybe one time where they change it up so that the suspect is actually innocent.


For every time the bad guy(s) randomly shows up with a gun, 15 points.

For the climax of the episode, often the bad guy just pops up out of nowhere with a gun or pulls a gun out of nowhere. This is another problem with the show; the total lack of sense or intelligence with the bad guys. They always leave evidence behind that ends up getting them caught, and when they realize they are caught, their go-to plan is to grab a gun and try to kill the cops that caught them. What are they going to do after that? They have no plan outside of all of that. There is a distinct lack of creativity when it comes to their planning. These are very one-note bad guys that have seemingly no thought in their brain outside of what the script tells them to do. It leaves for a lack of thrill and interest when it happens over, and over, and over again. There's no wondering what the bad guy is going to do when they all do the same thing. It's too predictable.


For every time they tell us who the bad guy/s is/are before the halfway point in the episode, 10 points.

Speaking of the bad guys, and this may be a personal tick, but part of what makes me enjoy a good mystery is when they stay a mystery until the very end. More than half of the time on this show they reveal the bad guys halfway through. I don't know if they were going for the thrill of the chase over mystery, but if they were, the chase wasn't thrilling because they don't develop the bad guys enough to give the chase a true cat and mouse feel. They are only there as a prop. It can also be frustrating when you know who the bad guy is and you see the cops struggling to figure it out when it seems obvious.


For every time Tony Sr. just stumbles into the crime coincidentally, 5 points.

The way the show laid the premise out on its promotion made it sound like this was going to be some kind of buddy cop father/son show with the son solving cases and the ex-convict and former cop father helping him. But for the most part, Tony Sr. just conveniently stumbles into cases either because they involve someone he knows or he's there when it happens. Even then, he doesn't get much involved in the cases. He's busy living his own life separately from the cases and then just happens to get shoe-horned in. We really don't get much into Tony Sr.'s abilities as a former cop, which is a shame because at one point we only briefly get the chance to see how brightly he shines as a cop when he wants to, or when the script calls for it, really. Because his abilities go in and out. Sometimes his cop spidey senses will tingle, and sometimes they don't. They usually don't with suspects or people acting suspiciously. It will go right over his head.


For every time Tony Jr. makes a comment about the slippery slope of crimes, 15 points.

Okay, so every show likes to have characters that have character quirks, but this is too far. Tony Jr., his thing is he is The Good Cop. He always follows the rules no matter how small of an infraction they may be. But he never deviates from that, not once. We really don't get a chance to see any other side to him except for one time when he's tricked into believing he is some masterful bowler and actually considers leaving the force to become a professional bowler. Yes, the guy that lived and breathed the law, thought about leaving it for a sport he never cared about before. And they don't even make it into an issue. As soon as he finds out he's not a good bowler, he's just back to being a regular cop. There's no drama over him possibly leaving. None.


For every episode in which JOSH GROBAN doesn't sing, 20 points.

Okay, so this is really just another personal issue, but you have world-renowned singer Josh Groban starring on your show and you don't have him sing at all? I get that he might be trying to have an acting career separate from singing, but it just feels like unused potential.


For every time the characters act like plot devices instead of real living beings, 15 points.

This goes back to Tony Jr. a bit, but now I'm expanding it to everyone else. Another thing this show was trying too hard with was making each character quirky in their own way, which is fine as long as you don't make it their shtick. Unfortunately, this show does just that. These characters don't feel like real people as much as they do one-dimensional characters that live and breathe their quirks and nothing else. They're not well-rounded. Ryan is the tech genius millennial, Burl is the stripper-loving ready to retire yesterday cop. Cora, actually, did get a chance to shine in one episode that revealed more about her past, making her a much more interesting character. That's what needs to happen for everyone, is to let them be onions. Because onions have layers, and you have to peel them back. You get the feeling that this is supposed to be an upbeat comedic show, almost like an hour long sitcom, but you can keep it that way with developed characters. And instead of having the plot drive them, let them drive the plot.


Like most shows, the introduction of the show, the characters, the setup for how the show is going to go forward, and giving you a taste of what it's going to be like can be difficult to navigate and have it come out naturally and not so clunky. This is more forgivable for a network show, but for something like Netflix whose shows usually start and continue on with a bang, it doesn't have the room for a show to be this sluggish in their first season. I do like Tony Danza and Josh Groban, but they need to get fleshed out more, as does the supporting characters. The cases also need to get more intricate and complicated, and not hastily and easily solved with a lot of plot holes in the middle. This show, while headed by two charismatic leads, has its downfall in, well, everything else.


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