You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Harry’s Law

Kathy Bates is just the person to deliver David E. Kelley's tart dialogue, and he surrounds her with enough quirky characters to make this Cincinnati-set spiritual companion to "Boston Legal" a breezy diversion.

Harriet "Harry" Korn - Kathy Bates
Adam Branch - Nate Corddry
Jenna - Brittany Snow
Malcolm Davies - Aml Ameen

In television, marrying a writer to the right talent can often be more than half the battle, and so it is with “Harry’s Law,” the second NBC drama of the season about a disgruntled lawyer embarking on a late-in-life career change (OK, so “Outlaw” featured a Supreme Court justice — and lowered the bar on expectations). Kathy Bates is just the person to deliver David E. Kelley’s tart dialogue, and he surrounds her with enough quirky characters to make this Cincinnati-set spiritual companion to “Boston Legal” a breezy diversion. Whether that provides sufficient appeal for a show that rightfully belongs on CBS may be another matter.

Bates’ Harriet “Harry” Korn is a big-time patent lawyer who experiences a near-death epiphany (two, actually) in the opening moments. Before you can say “motion to dismiss,” she’s shifted gears from her mid-six-figure income to handling petty criminal cases, bringing her into conflict in the two episodes previewed with a snide prosecutor (“ER’s” Paul McCrane), who has an odd habit of repeating himself, repeating himself.

Sometimes — indeed, a lot of the time — it feels like Kelley is doing this show just to get his political opinions off his chest, heavy-handedly so. As he did with “Boston Legal,” the cases and closing statements he crafts for his fictional counselors resonate with real-world implications, usually stinging conservatives, such as reminding the world that radio firebrand Rush Limbaugh is a “drug addict.”

While that may be a turnoff to self-proclaimed dittoheads — especially those who see liberal media conspiracies everywhere they look — with Bates delivering the arguments and Kelley’s knack for distilling issues to their essence, some people will find the mix just fine. Besides, what other show would borrow the theme from “The Jeffersons” to quickly establish the modesty of its environs?

Harry’s extended work family includes Nate Corddry — finally in a show whose sensibility suits him — as a promising young attorney who chucks his corporate gig to work with her; Brittany Snow as an assistant who moonlights selling shoes out of their ragtag office; and Johnny Ray Gill in a recurring role as a local thug with a Robin Hood streak, peddling protection to the locals while reminding them the police aren’t apt to rush into their ‘hood.

As for Bates, Kelley has given the “Misery” star a character worthy of her outsized personality — brandishing a pistol in her office, irritating judges and fearlessly speaking her mind. Moreover, the producers manage to take a jokey plot in the second hour — an old lady who commits armed robbery — and conjure rather poignant moments.

“Harry’s Law” has the kind of light procedural touch that CBS aimed for, but didn’t deliver as well, on “The Defenders.” And while this show hardly establishes any precedent, it’s pretty clear it doesn’t intend to; Kelley simply had some things to get off his chest, and primetime is a better place than most to plead his case: His heroine may be an outsider, but at least Harry’s no “Outlaw.”

Harry's Law

NBC, Mon. Jan. 17, 10 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by David E. Kelley Prods. in association with Warner Bros. Television. Executive producers, Kelley, Bill D'Elia; co-executive producers, Susan Dickes, Lawrence Broch, Mike Listo; supervising producer, Chris Ambrose; co-producer, Tommy Burns; director, D'Elia; writer, Kelley.

Crew: Camera, Michael R. Lohmann; production designer, Charlie Lagola; editors, Michael Hathaway, Craig Bench; music, Transcenders; casting, Ken Miller, Nikki Valko. 60 MIN.

Cast: Harriet "Harry" Korn - Kathy Bates
Adam Branch - Nate Corddry
Jenna - Brittany Snow
Malcolm Davies - Aml AmeenWith: Paul McCrane, Johnny Ray Gill.

More TV

  • 'SNL' Turns the Impeachment Hearings into

    'Saturday Night Live' Turns the Impeachment Hearings into a Soap Opera (Watch)

    “Saturday Night Live” kicked off its Nov. 16 episode with a take on the biggest news story of the previous week (and foreseeable future): the impeachment hearings. But another big story of the week, especially in Hollywood, was how NBC’s last remaining daytime drama, “Days of our Lives,” had let its actors out of their [...]

  • Andy Cohen attends BravoCon's "Watch What

    'The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City' to Debut in 2020

    Bravo announced Saturday during its first annual BravoCon that a tenth “Real Housewives” series, “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” will debut in 2020. Bravo host and “Real Housewives” executive producer Andy Cohen made the announcement during a panel titled “Ask Andy” at the NYC convention. “We’ve always tried to choose a city that [...]

  • The Simpsons

    Disney Plus Will Make 'The Simpsons' Available in Original Uncropped Format in Early 2020

    Eep! After an outcry from “The Simpsons” aficionados, Disney has decided to offer classic episodes of the iconic animated sitcom on Disney Plus in their original 4-by-3 aspect ratio early next year. The streaming service launched Nov. 12 in the U.S., Canada and the Netherlands with the full batch of “Simpsons” episodes in 16-by-9 HD [...]

  • Sterling K. Brown on His Oscar

    Sterling K. Brown on His Oscar Buzz for 'Waves': 'Kind of Surreal'

    Sterling K. Brown can’t quite comprehend the awards attention he’s receiving for his work in the A24 drama “Waves.” “If the Academy sees fit to put me in a category with people who I absolutely adore, I will pee all over myself, dude” the Emmy winner says on the latest episode of “The Big Ticket.” [...]

  • TV News Roundup: 45th Annual Humanitas

    TV News Roundup: 45th Annual Humanitas Nominees Announced

    In today’s TV news roundup, Humanitas has released the finalists for the 45th Annual Humanitas Prize, and YouTube announced a new beauty competition series hosted by James Charles.  CASTINGS Jason Kennedy has been named as the host of E!’s new series “In The Room.“ The “E! News” host will bring viewers inside celebrity homes for [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Viacom Extends 'The Office,' 'Parks and Recreation' Syndication Deals

    “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” reruns will continue to air on Viacom linear networks for the foreseeable future. The company announced that it has reached a new deal with NBCUniversal to keep “The Office” on Comedy Central through 2021. The series will then air in a non-exclusive window on Viacom Media Networks through 2025. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content