TV Review: ‘Taxi Brooklyn’

Taxi Brooklyn TV Review

Despite a slight, breezy USA network-type feel, “Taxi Brooklyn” is such a risible concept as to border on parody. Alas, this NBC series by way of France doesn’t make that turn, leaving behind a head-scratcher of a show, derived from a last-century French movie written by Luc Besson (“Taxi”), and casting “Grey’s Anatomy” alum Chyler Leigh as the latest in a long line of unconvincing hard-bitten smallscreen detectives. Before it’s over, the show has detoured into nonsense about her taxi-driving co-star’s immigration status and the unsolved murder of her father and, oh for the love of God, who cares?

As a movie, one might ostensibly buy the premise of a cab driver — with mad maneuvering skills, naturally, and an elaborate backstory — having to help out a detective for a couple of days in order to clear up a legal hassle. Extended to series form, it just feels flat-out ridiculous, as Leigh’s Det. Caitlyn “Cat” Sullivan arrests Leo (Jacky Ido), after he’s forced to drive a getaway car at gunpoint, then turns him into her grudging, de facto sidekick.

Having earned fame for solving a high-profile case, she’s been booted down to foot patrol for some reason, and of course, the best way for any self-respecting cop to get around the city is by taxi.

The few glints of tolerability reside in Ido’s easygoing performance as Leo; he’s a French transplant with an aversion to confined spaces. But any goodwill pretty quickly evaporates, as he tries to assist Cat while spouting expository dialogue and doing things like referencing his affinity for “CSI,” presumably to justify his participation.

As for Leigh, her perpetually pissed-off character doesn’t provide much latitude, other than the opportunity to find various ways to say “douchebag.” Pity, too, the supporting cast, which includes James Colby as Cat’s irascible boss, Jennifer Esposito as her one pal on the force (a CSI, naturally), Bill Heck as her ex-husband (conveniently, an FBI agent) and Ally Walker as Cat’s blowsy mom, who can’t understand why she’s so obsessed with her dad’s murder.

Adapted by Gary Scott-Thompson, “Taxi Brooklyn” does a reasonable job of capturing its locations while racing around New York (the program was shot in English and dubbed into French for consumption there), but otherwise this export makes a pretty strong case for sticking with national staples, like wine and cheese.

Adding amateur psychologist to his assortment of skills, Leo tells Cat in the premiere, “You’re afraid if you start crying you will never stop.”

Although the show will get a boost from an “America’s Got Talent” lead-in, those who start watching “Taxi Brooklyn” should have no such problem quitting.

TV Review: 'Taxi Brooklyn'

(Series; NBC, Wed. June 25, 10 p.m.)

Production

Filmed in France by EuropaCorp Television with the participation of TF1.

Crew

Executive producers, Olivier Megaton, Gary Scott-Thompson, Thomas Anargyros, Edouard de Vesinne; co-executive producers, Franck Ollivier, Benjamin Dupont-Jubien, Frederic Bruneel; director, Olivier Megaton; writer, Scott-Thompson; based on the film “Taxi” written by Luc Besson; camera, Danny Elsen; production designer, Sebastien Inizan; editors, Carlo Rizzo, Pascal Revelard; music, Nathaniel Mechaly; casting, Avy Kaufman, Kristen Paladino. 60 MIN.

Cast

Chyler Leigh, Jacky Ido, James Colby, Jose Zuniga, Jennifer Esposito, Bill Heck, Ally Walker, Raul Casso

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  1. John says:

    The immigration process was complete Bull@$%^ …there is no sponsorship until documents establishing a visa have been approved… With a 5 minute call to an immigration lawyer the producer could have established that there was a possibility to file a U Visa as witness to a crime assisting police then a possible parole by ICE. The previous conviction in France would be a huge problem….Is everything in this show that screwed up???

  2. thisvthattv says:

    Please check out my recap/review of this episode here:

  3. Angie P. says:

    I was very excited for this show and thought it had potential and something different to offer. Unfortunately, I felt that the acting of Chyler Leigh is for some reason completely off, almost terrible. I found the other actors defined but Cats character completely single layered. I wont be watching past the 1st episode. :(

  4. Joey Regal says:

    And yes,the French.Truly,they have their finger on the pulse of pop culture.Really.Really?

  5. Joey Regal says:

    Thankfully,the script was so bad ,it was a distraction from how painful it was to watch.The icing on this cake of schlock was “Did somebody call a cab?”.Who gave this the green light?

  6. R says:

    No way this could ever take place in real life but excellent show with a super sexy chick detective… Good job NBC

  7. Peggy Allen says:

    I thought this was a ripoff of the Queen Latifah Jimmie Fallon movie? Was that a French ripoff?

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