“Rosewood” seems designed to test the question, “So just exactly how willing are Fox viewers to watch anything adjacent to ‘Empire?’” If the answer is “Too spent to operate a remote control,” this beyond-thin vehicle for Morris Chestnut might have a chance. Otherwise, Fox will likely find itself looking for another companion, hopefully something that hits fewer false notes than this “Castle”-like drama, pairing the eponymous title character — a “private pathology consultant,” whatever that is — with a Miami cop. Mostly, the whole thing looks like 2015 for “Quincy M.E.”
Rosewood is apparently such a successful consultant — seeing clues that the poor slobs at Miami P.D. can’t — that he can afford to plaster the city with billboards, and examine bodies in a way-cool private lab, where the staff includes his sister (Gabrielle Dennis). Yet he’s quickly drawn into a case by his former mentor (Clancy Brown), which throws our hero together with Det. Annalise Villa (Jaina Lee Ortiz), who models a lot of tank tops (it’s supposed to be Florida, after all) and has to endure a lot of flirty banter. (The tank tops wouldn’t be worth mentioning if Ortiz wasn’t motivated to go undercover wearing a slinky dress later in the premiere, hoping to unearth some Miami-style vice.)
Granted, life isn’t all peaches and cream for Rosewood — there’s the little matter of a lingering health problem — but as anyone who watched the first season of “Empire” knows, those tend to be miraculously dealt with at the first sign that your show is a hit.
Created by Todd Harthan (who worked on USA’s “Psych,” which is similar in tone), “Rosewood” tries to create a light atmosphere around the dead bodies, but still winds up largely wasting Lorraine Toussaint as the character’s mother. Then again, it’s hard for anyone to come away completely unscathed when there’s dialogue to be delivered like, “You got nothin’ on me, lady cop!”
Chestnut does make for an attractive lead, but the series leaves him smartly dressed up (medical scrubs, apparently, don’t go with the billboards), with no place to go. On the plus side, if the show does wind up on the slab and its star finds himself with some spare time on his hands, Cookie would probably just love him.