The most interesting thing (and perhaps the only interesting thing) about ABC’s new legal drama The Fix is that the show was co-created by former prosecutor Marcia Clark, who’s clearly using it as a wish fulfilment fantasy about her own desire for redemption after losing the O.J. Simpson murder trial.
Robin Tunney stars as Maya Travis, a hotshot Los Angeles prosecutor who, nearly a decade ago, failed to convict charismatic superstar actor Sevvy Johnson (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) of a brutal double-murder despite having what she felt was conclusive proof of his guilt. The trial was a media circus, and she was publicly humiliated for losing it.
A decade on, Maya lives a nearly idyllic life in the country, riding horses and helping her too-perfect veterinarian boyfriend, Riv (Marc Blucas from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), birth baby calves. She couldn’t be happier to put all that lawyering business behind her, until her former partner and love interest, Matthew (Adam Rayner from Tyrant), shows up on her doorstep with big news. Sevvy Johnson’s new girlfriend just turned up dead, and that can’t be a coincidence. Matthew asks Maya to come back to Los Angeles with him for a few days to act as a consultant and fill in his new team on everything she remembers about Sevvy. She grudgingly agrees.
It doesn’t take much for Maya to get sucked into the case and back into her old life. In no time flat, Matthew officially re-hires her and names her lead counsel on the case, even as the douchebag D.A. (Breckin Meyer, who has never not played douchebags) pressures him to investigate other suspects as well. Poor Riv feels abandoned and worries that the case will break Maya again just like the last one did.
After a little digging, Maya is absolutely convinced that Sevvy has murdered again. Meanwhile, Sevvy of course proclaims his innocence, accusing the D.A.’s office – and specifically Maya – of trying to frame him. He makes the mistake of putting on a show of walking into police headquarters offering to answer questions and help find the real killer, but with Maya’s help the detectives rattle him. After that, Sevvy’s slimy lawyer (Scott Cohen from Gilmore Girls) hires an image consultant to get the court of public opinion on his side.
At the end of the pilot episode, Maya discovers that the dead girlfriend kept a secret storage locker. Inside are video recordings of the many bruises and injuries she suffered at the abusive Sevvy’s hands, with detailed descriptions of every time he beat her. Maya thinks she’s found her smoking gun.
Episode Verdict / Grade: B-
To be frank, the story behind this show’s creation and the sales pitch for it are more compelling than the show itself. The Fix is a perfectly competent legal drama in most respects, and I’m sure it will have the type of twisty plot that plays well with fans of ABC’s primetime lineup, but it’s too… well, it’s just too much a network show. It’s very glossy and a little dull, and nothing about it feels like it takes place in the real world. I mean, I know Los Angeles is a ridiculous place, but it’s hard to take a dramatic thriller seriously when it’s populated with corny character names like Sevvy, Riv, Star, and Ares. The bad lawyer is of course named Wolf, because what else would a novice TV producer call him? Looking it up, I find it hilarious to learn that “Riv” is short for River Allgood. That’s seriously the character’s name – and he’s supposed to be the normal guy who’s not part of the Hollywood scene!
Maya is a rather boring heroine – too perfect at her job and too smug about it. Robin Tunney simply doesn’t have the acting chops to make us care about her as a person. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is better, but doesn’t have enough screen time in the pilot to develop his character. Perhaps that will improve in future episodes.
This Fix could use a little tune-up in the form of some rewrites and a different star.