“King & Maxwell” opens with its two private eyes chasing down a bad guy in a beaver suit, suggesting either someone is a big Oregon St. fan, or that this is going to be another pretty hackneyed procedural, destined to live or die based on its casting. Jon Tenney and Rebecca Romijn must carry the load as the title duo, a pair of former Secret Service agents now operating on their own. Forgive TNT for returning to the ampersand well (following “Rizzoli & Isles” and “Franklin & Bash”), but creatively speaking, this is all fairly stale & mediocre.
Although based on a series of novels by David Baldacci, there’s nothing in the show as initially constituted to distinguish it from any number of other detective concepts birthed in a standard pitch meeting. In fact, the situations and values are so standard and traditional, said pitch meeting could have taken place circa 1983.
Tenney’s Sean King and Romijn’s Michelle Maxwell were drummed out of the Secret Service (something about a candidate getting shot), but now they put their experience to use in the service of private clients. In the premiere, they dive into solving the death of one of his former associates — a lawyer representing an accused serial killer — quickly running afoul of a scowling FBI agent (Michael O’Keefe) striking a familiar “stay out of our business” stance. (“I don’t like private investigators,” he snarls, just to make his feelings explicit.)
As is almost obligatory in these situations, the two leads engage in playful banter, like an old (albeit much better-looking) married couple. So when she goes over to his place and promptly hops in the shower, she conveniently leaves the door ajar because, well, if he can’t see a tantalizing glimpse, then neither can we.
Admittedly, Tenney and Romijn are an appealing pair, and the producers (“NCIS: Los Angeles’ ” Shane Brennan is the showrunner) are doubtless banking on that — along with a “Major Crimes” lead-in — to sell the show to an audience whose appetite for this sort of comfort food has remained consistent and, like the show itself, predictable.
As for anyone seeking slightly spicier fare, this is a dish barely fit for a commoner, much less a King.