×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘Bull’

With:
Michael Weatherly, Freddy Rodriguez, Geneva Carr, Jaime Lee Kirchner, Annabelle Attanasio, Christopher Jackson

Bull” is based (rather loosely) on the early career of Phil McGraw, better known as “Dr. Phil,” who became acquainted with Oprah Winfrey while working as a trial consultant. In the CBS drama, Michael Weatherly plays Dr. Jason Bull, a psychologist who works with lawyers by profiling jurors and tweaking trials to his clients’ advantage. During proceedings, Bull can envision what the participants are really thinking, based on intuition (the show preposterously claims that he has three Ph.Ds in psychology). What he can’t analyze, technology provides: Bull’s firm has a data-gathering system for the jurors that would shame Homeland Security. And when not analyzing crucial figures in trials through algorithms, “Bull” is delving into the proliferation of social media, overlaying Instagrams and Facebook posts and viral news posts over dead bodies and crying loved ones.

Weatherly, who spent 13 seasons with “NCIS,” is an able charismatic lead — snarky and smart-alecky in a way that suggests both unnecessary toughness and vulnerability underneath it. His profession means that the show is constantly interested in social dynamics, identity politics, and personal histories; Bull tunes into the inner monologues of jurors from all walks of life.

But the show itself is totally ridiculous, in concept and execution. “I’ve won dozens of cases without this ‘woo-woo’ psychology,” a lawyer tells Bull, as if the science is some newfangled concept no more well-respected than healing crystals. Bull’s lone ability to “truly” understand humanity becomes wearying, just as the firm’s reliance on improbably sophisticated technology to achieve its goals is disturbing. The show is aware of its cynicism about both the law and psychology — after all, it romanticizes the weaponization of a skill used to treat illness, solely for the gain of rich people — but it may not be aware that it is also hilarious. In a climactic scene in the pilot, a witness declares, “I’m gay,” to which the lawyer coolly responds, “Is that where you were between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m.?” Slick and oversimple “Bull” begs to not be taken seriously.

TV Review: ‘Bull’

Drama, pilot episode reviewed: CBS, Tues. Sept. 20, 9 p.m. 60 MIN.

Crew: Executive producers, Phil McGraw, Paul Attanasio, Rodrigo Garcia (pilot only), Steven Spielberg, Jay McGraw, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank

Cast: Michael Weatherly, Freddy Rodriguez, Geneva Carr, Jaime Lee Kirchner, Annabelle Attanasio, Christopher Jackson

More TV

  • Writer-Director Dominik Moll on Series Mania

    Writer-Director Dominik Moll on Series Mania Competition Contender ‘Eden’

    LILLE, France — “I must down to the seas again,” Amaré, an teen African illegal immigrant, reads aloud in a poetry lesson at a refugee center near the beach in Greece. Thoughts of wander-lust seen comically out of place. Amaré has just been seen in the prolog to “Eden” leaping out of a dinghy beaching [...]

  • John Simm Talks ‘Cold Courage' as

    John Simm Talks 'Cold Courage' as Lionsgate Boards International Drama (EXCLUSIVE)

    John Simm plays a rabble-rousing populist politician in “Cold Courage,” and Lionsgate has stepped up and taken international rights to the series. Based on the series of novels by Pekka Hiltunen, the drama is billed as the biggest yet out of Finland and will bow on the Viaplay streaming service in Scandinavia. With a cast [...]

  • "Raven's Home" Executive Producer, Eunetta Boone.

    Eunetta Boone, Showrunner and Creator of 'One on One,' Dies at 63

    Writer-producer Eunetta Boone, creator of the UPN comedy “One on One” and showrunner of Disney Channel’s “Raven’s Home,” died Wednesday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 63. Boone was found dead at her home of an apparent heart attack. Boone had most recently worked as showrunner on the third season of the Disney [...]

  • Global Sales for ‘Les Miserables’ Series

    Global Sales for ‘Les Miserables’ Starring Dominic West Ahead of Series Mania

    The BBC and Masterpiece adaptation of “Les Miserables” will play on a numerous international channels after a raft of deals were sealed for the series, which features Dominic West, David Oyelowo, and Lily Collins. Andrew Davies’ adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic has been acquired by broadcasters in Scandinavia and southern Europe, and by several buyers [...]

  • Kevin Hart

    TV News Roundup: Kevin Hart Netflix Comedy Special Drops First Trailer

    In today’s roundup, Netflix releases the official trailer for the comedy special “Kevin Hart: Irresponsible” and Josh Charles joins Showtime’s Roger Ailes series “The Loudest Voice.” DATES More Reviews SXSW Film Review: 'J.R. 'Bob' Dobbs and the Church of the SubGenius' Film Review: 'Roll Red Roll' Season two of “Yellowstone,” starring Kevin Costner, will premiere [...]

  • adidas game of thrones

    5 New 'Game of Thrones' Collaborations Coming in Time for the Final Season

    Some of the biggest lifestyle brands in the world are jumping on the “Game of Thrones” bandwagon this spring, hoping to capitalize on the fandom and popularity of the HBO hit, as it enters its eighth and final season. From sneakers to spirits, these officially-licensed collaborations extend the characters and colors of the show beyond [...]

  • Nicole Richie

    Nicole Richie Joins Fox Comedy Pilot 'Richard Lovely'

    Nicole Richie has been cast in a series regular role in the Fox single-cam comedy pilot “Richard Lovely.” The project follows Richard Lovely (Thomas Lennon), the disgruntled author of the best-selling children’s book series, “Mr. Mouse.” He doesn’t hate children, but rather just everything about them. After a publicity fiasco involving an unexpectedly savvy 9-year-old [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content