You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Queens Supreme

CBS' latest legal drama "Queens Supreme" plods and is a vacant journey into the judicial system. Characters that seem far too rote. Much as it's great to see Oliver Platt back on TV as Judge Jack Moran, we've seen him do this smarter-than-the-average-bear guy before in "Deadline" and "The West Wing."

Jack Moran - Oliver Platt Thomas O'Neill - Robert Loggia Kim Vicidomini - Annabella Sciorra Rose Barnea - L. Scott Caldwell Carmen Hui - Marcy Harriell Mike Powell - James Madio Maude MacPherson - Kristen Johnson Tommy Ryan - Lee Tergensen

The Queens County Courthouse must have an odd sign at the entrance to direct traffic: Menacing defendants head down one hall to end up in the court of Judge Jack Moran (Oliver Platt), and the others, with cases that trigger giggles, venture off with judges Rose Barnea (L. Scott Caldwell) and Kim Vicidomini (Annabella Sciorra). Collectively, this juxtaposition creates an odd tone for CBS’ latest legal drama “Queens Supreme,” a plodding and vacant journey into the judicial system and characters that seem far too rote. Much as it’s great to see Platt back on TV, we’ve seen him do this smarter-than-the-average-bear guy before in “Deadline” and “The West Wing.”

CBS is down to just one legal hour on its schedule, “Judging Amy,” and “Queens Supreme” is being pitched as something it doesn’t deliver on its first two episodes: It’s neither quirky nor sufficiently serious or comic, and it shows little of the borough of Queens.

In the first two episodes, Moran ends up with a gun pointed at him for considerable lengths of time, first by an unhinged juror and then by a man Moran believes is an Irish mobster. There’s little sense of fear or terror in the scenes — Platt plays Moran so coolly, the character seems to believe he can talk his way through anything, and that includes getting his wife Maude (Kristen Johnson) not to demand a divorce.

When he figures out an odd legal wrinkle to get police reports entered as evidence in the Irish mob case, he not only befuddles an assistant district attorney, he becomes Superman in a robe capable of fighting crime and letting criminals feel like they received their just due.

Down the hall — and to get there we meet cute and cuddly law clerks and an elderly judge — are the courtrooms of Vicidomini and Barnea. In the pilot, Sciorra’s judge has a racial profiling case that boils down to whether a black man would run while wearing velour; episode two puts Caldwell’s justice in the middle of a porn dispute that elicits titters and, in the case of one law clerk, a considerable letdown. Said disappointment, though, leads to a judge taking a left turn and solving the case faster that you can say Perry Mason.

Caldwell and Robert Loggia, as Judge Thomas O’Neill, play the pragmatists, and their characters’ reasoned approach to the law doeslittle for the proceedings, unless the actions put before them strain taste or common sense. (Isn’t that why David E. Kelley sticks to quirky lawyers and lets the judges appear sane?) Sciorra, billed and promoted as young, attractive and ambitious, exudes none of those characteristics — she’s as sedentary as her mentors on the bench.

Marcy Harriell, as law clerk Carmen Hui, is the standout among the ensemble, used mostly to encounter the judges in hallways and push the exposition. Harriell plays the bright bulb among the crew, and her perky perf commands attention. Her counterpart, Mike Powell (James Madio), is too strident, a junior version of Moran played too far over the top.

David Platt’s direction in the pilot is standard-issue old-fashioned, and the second episode has all the freshness of “Marcus Welby, M.D.”

“Queens Supreme” is all about taking safe and familiar routes, perhaps the result of compromises brought on by the lengthy list of executives and companies above the line.

Names that are missing are Julia Roberts, who signed on as a producer and then exec producer before bailing, and Tim Robbins, initially inked as the pilot’s director. Kyra Sedgwick, cast as a D.A., will be featured in later episodes. Boasting the talents of Platt and Sciorra isn’t enough, though, to make up for the lack of vision.

Queens Supreme

CBS, Fri. Jan. 10, 10 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Queens, N.Y., by CBS Prods. in association with Spelling Television, Shadowland Prods., Red Om Films and Revolution Studios. Executive producers, Kevin Fox, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Deborah Schindler, Aaron Spelling, E. Duke Vincent; co-executive producers, Marjorie David, Keith Samples; producers, Steve Rose, Stephen Godchaux; co-producer, Linda McGibney; director, David Platt; writer, Godchaux.

Crew: Director of photography, Ron Fortunato; production designer, Cabot McMulen; music, Doug Cuomo; casting, Bonnie Finnegan. 60 MIN.

Cast: Jack Moran - Oliver Platt Thomas O'Neill - Robert Loggia Kim Vicidomini - Annabella Sciorra Rose Barnea - L. Scott Caldwell Carmen Hui - Marcy Harriell Mike Powell - James Madio Maude MacPherson - Kristen Johnson Tommy Ryan - Lee TergensenWith: Steve Mellor, Terry Schappert, Jackie Santiago, Adrian Maretinez, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Vincent Pastore, Adam Wade, Jim Doman, Jim Iorio, Keith Tisdell, Liana Pai, Will Chase.

More TV

  • 'Arrow' Star David Nykl Joins HBO

    'Arrow' Star David Nykl Joins HBO Europe's Spy Drama 'The Sleepers' (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Arrow” actor David Nykl will star in “The Sleepers,” HBO Europe’s Czech spy drama, which has just gone into production. Nykl, who plays Anatoly Knyazev in The CW superhero series, will be joined by Hattie Morahan (“Beauty and the Beast”) in the HBO show. Tatiana Pauhofová, who was in HBO Europe’s Agnieszka Holland series “Burning [...]

  • ITV Studios Strikes International Deals for

    ITV Studios Strikes International Deals for Barcroft Shows (EXCLUSIVE)

    Discovery and Seven Network are among the international buyers for Barcroft Media series after ITV Studios’s sales arm brokered a raft of deals for the shows. Barcroft runs a suite of YouTube and digital channels and has short and mid-form content on platforms including Facebook Watch. It has had success repurposing these shorter shows into [...]

  • HBO Asia and Catchplay Team up

    HBO Asia and Catchplay Team up for ‘The World Between Us’

    Pan-regional pay-TV group HBO Asia and Taiwan-based streaming video company Catchplay are to jointly distribute Taiwanese crime drama “The World Between Us.” The 10-part series will air from March. Directed by award-winning filmmaker Lin Chun-Yang (“The Soul If Bread”) and written by the Lu Shih-Yuan (“Dear Ex”), “World” plunges into the aftermath of a mass [...]

  • BTF Media, Vince Gerardis Pact Sign

    NATPE: BTF Media, Vince Gerardis Pact for Six Projects (EXCLUSIVE)

    MIAMI — BTF Media, producer of breakout series “Hasta Que te Conocí” and “El Secreto de Selena,” is teaming with Vince Gerardis, a co-executive producer with George Martin on “Game of Thrones,” on a six-project co-production alliance. Spearheaded at BTF Media by founder-partner Ricardo Coeto, the agreement takes in the development and co-production of the [...]

  • First Look at SAG Awards' Cuban

    First Look at SAG Awards' Cuban-Inspired After-Party (EXCLUSIVE)

    Celebrities at this year’s SAG Awards won’t have to go far for some tropical fun. Sunday’s annual post-show gala, hosted by People magazine for the 23rd year, is set to feature a Cuban-themed party space adjacent to the Shrine Auditorium. “We’re kind of going back to more of a thematic element. I have some close [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content