×

Golden Boy

Based on the narrow sweep of CBS dramas, this one looks better positioned than most to live up to its name.

With:
With: Theo James, Chi McBride, Kevin Alejandro, Bonnie Somerville, Holt McCallany, Stella Maeve.

CBS appears most comfortable when it can introduce the smallest of twists to its procedural formula, and “Golden Boy” — a crisp, well-cast drama from Greg Berlanti and “NYPD Blue” alumnus Nicholas Wootton — fits the bill. Framed by fleeting flashbacks, the show features the youngest police commissioner in NYPD history, just as he’s becoming a homicide detective with a group of wary colleagues. As for filling in the seven-year span between then and now, that’s the high-class problem CBS would like to have. Based on previewed episodes and compatibility with the network’s crimefighting Friday lineup, it just might get its wish.

Wootton certainly hasn’t sought to reinvent the wheel; the producers have shrewdly put together a precinct that very much resembles “Blue” (Bonnie Somerville is even a holdover from the earlier series), except for the ambitious whippersnapper at its center: That would be Det. Walter William Clark Jr. (Theo James, yet another British import, who bears a more-than-passing physical resemblance to James Franco and is apt to be referred to by CBS viewers as “That nice young man”).

In terms of his political savvy and desire to leapfrog barriers to advancement, the Clark character also has a cinematic ancestor: Edmund Exley, the striving cop from “L.A. Confidential.” He’s paired with a gruff, world-weary partner, Don Owen (Chi McBride), who essentially plays his Yoda, counseling the kid on the ways of the (police) force.

Nevertheless, Clark’s rule-bending and zeal frequently place him in questionable situations, and in professional conflict with another squad member (“Southland’s” Kevin Alejandro), who essentially ruled the roost prior to his arrival.

The cases themselves are nothing new — indeed, it’s all pretty standard procedural stuff, with the only extracurricular detour involving Clark’s young sister (Stella Maeve), who he looks after. Yet the device of the flashbacks offers a nifty kicker, teasing at things to come — like why the older Clark walks with a pronounced limp.

Ultimately, the series benefits enormously from the interplay between James (whose limited credits include a “Downton Abbey” guest stint) and McBride, the latter adding much of the same dimension and humor he brought to the since-departed “Human Target.”

Although CBS is introducing the show with a pair of Tuesday previews against what can only be called tepid competition, “Golden Boy’s” regular beat is in the less-demanding, even more hospitable Friday berth, leading into the similarly themed “Blue Bloods.” The only superstitious note might be that CBS just tried a relatively unknown British lead in the same timeslot, lest anyone forget “Made in Jersey.”

Unlike “Golden Boy’s” hero, the future for TV shows is always uncertain. Even so, based on the narrow sweep of CBS dramas, this one looks better positioned than most to live up to its name.

Golden Boy

CBS, Tues. Feb. 26, 10 p.m.

Production: Filmed in New York by Berlanti Prods. in association with Warner Bros. Television. Executive producers, Greg Berlanti, Nicholas Wootton, Richard Shepard; co-executive producers Jace Alexander, Melissa Kellner Berman; Andi Bushell, Brett Mahoney; producer, Peter Schindler; director, Shepard; writer, Wootton.

Crew: Camera, Sarah Cawley; production designer, Lester Cohen; editor, Tony Miller; casting, Rosalie Joseph. 60 MIN.

Cast: With: Theo James, Chi McBride, Kevin Alejandro, Bonnie Somerville, Holt McCallany, Stella Maeve.

More TV

  • Seth Meyers TV Take Podcast

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Announces Seth Meyers's Standup Special

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix announced the premiere date for “Seth Meyers: Lobby Baby” and Epix released a trailer for “Belgravia.” CASTING AMC announced that “Succession” actor Sarah Snook, David Costabile (“Breaking Bad”) and Sonya Cassidy (“Lodge 49”) have been cast in its upcoming anthology series from Will Bridges and Brett Goldstein. The still-to-be-titled series is set 15 years into the [...]

  • Rachel Maddow

    Four Female Journalists Will Moderate Next Democratic Debate

    Four women will moderate the next Democratic debate, slated for broadcast on MSNBC. Rachel Maddow, the primetime host; Andrea Mitchell, the veteran foreign correspondent; Kristen Welker, the NBC News White House correspondent; and Ashley Parker, a Washington Post White House reporter, will moderate the event, MSNBC said Wednesday. The broadcast is slated for November 20. [...]

  • Neilsons Measurment Problems TV Digital

    Megan Clarken, Key Nielsen Executive, Will Depart Company (EXCLUSIVE)

    Megan Clarken, a Nielsen executive who has been instrumental in the company’s quest to keep tabs on consumers in the many new ways they have to watch TV, is leaving the measurement giant. “After 15 years at Nielsen, Megan Clarken will be leaving at the end of the month to take on a new position [...]

  • James Murdoch

    James Murdoch on 'Succession,' Pete Buttigieg and Climate Change

    James Murdoch doesn’t watch Fox News and he doesn’t watch “Succession.” “There are some shows that you just know you’re never going to watch,” the youngest son of media mogul and Fox Corp. founder Rupert Murdoch told Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Radhika Jones on Wednesday, alluding to to the HBO series centered on a family-run media [...]

  • Freddie Prinze Jr First Impressions

    Freddie Prinze Jr. Joins ‘Punky Brewster’ Sequel Pilot at NBCU’s Peacock Streamer

    Freddie Prinze Jr. is joining another pilot, this time at NBCUniversal’s forthcoming Peacock streaming service. He will play a recurring role in the “Punky Brewster” sequel pilot which was ordered when the Peacock unfurled its slate of feathers back in September. Prinze Jr. was a part of the pilot for the CW’s “Nancy Drew” earlier [...]

  • Traci Blackwell

    BET Names Traci Lynn Blackwell Head of Scripted

    Traci Lynn Blackwell has joined BET has head of scripted programming. Blackwell joins BET from the CW, where she was senior VP, current programming. As executive VP, scripted programming, Blackwell will lead all originals efforts for BET Networks’ linear channels and streaming service BET Plus. She will report to BET Networks president Scott Mills. “Traci [...]

  • Ted Sarandos Netflix

    Ted Sarandos: Netflix Is Why 'Friends,' 'The Office' Remain So Popular

    In an onstage conversation with Katie Couric at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit on Wednesday, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos waved away concerns over the streaming service’s upcoming loss of “Friends” and “The Office,” instead focusing on the company’s push in original programming and its international content growth. “One of the reasons ‘Friends’ and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content