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

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Signs of Solidarity and Strain Emerge as Week 2 of WGA-Talent Agency Standoff Begins

    Hundreds of WGA members rallied solidly behind their union last week as the industry grappled with uncertainties spurred by the sudden break between writers and their talent agency representatives. But as the standoff heads into its second week, signs of strain among some WGA members are beginning to emerge. Shalom Auslander, author and creator of [...]

  • Jon Snow Arya Stark Game of

    'Game of Thrones' Final Season Vegas Odds Reveal Wild Theories

    With “Game of Thrones” hype at an all-time high, Las Vegas may be raking in as much money as the Iron Bank. HBO’s fantasy masterpiece has seized the gambling world’s attention nearly as much as the Super Bowl or Kentucky Derby. Fans spew countless theories on social media, such as which characters will be axed [...]

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

  • Adam Lambert, of Queen, performs at

    Adam Lambert Back to 'Idol' to Mentor Finalists Through Queen's Catalog

    Adam Lambert famously launched his career on “American Idol” a decade ago performing a brilliant audition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He wrapped that amazing eighth season performing with the band on the season finale, and years later earned his current spot as the front man touring as Queen + Adam Lambert. On April 28, Lambert comes full circle as he steps [...]

  • Lily Tomlin SAG Lifetime Acheivement Award

    TV News Roundup: Netflix's 'Laugh-In' 50th Anniversary Tribute Sets Premiere Date

    In today’s TV News roundup, Netflix sets the premiere date for its 50th anniversary special of “Laugh-In.” DATES “Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate,” the 50th anniversary tribute to the original series by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, will premiere on Netflix on May 14. The special, which was taped at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, pays [...]

  • Texas Tech's Norense Odiase (32) shoots

    Live+3 Ratings for Week of April 8: NCAA Championship Game Dunks on Competition

    The final of the 2019 NCAA basketball tournament, in which Virginia triumphed over a spirited Texas Tech team, unsurprisingly finished way out in front in the Live+3 ratings for the week of April 8. Although the sports broadcast’s scripted competition made some gains, its 5.4 ratings still more than doubled that of “Grey’s Anatomy” in [...]

  • Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million

    Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million Total Viewers Across TV News

    Coverage of the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into whether President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice unsurprisingly caused a ratings bump across TV news yesterday. In terms of overall viewership, around 11 million people tuned in to see Attorney General William Barr’s news conference regarding the report’s release, and the news coverage surrounding it. According [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content