‘Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector’: TV Review

Russell Hornsby, Arielle Kebbel, Michael Imperioli

40 mins

Some seemingly ridiculous TV show titles are misleading. Others, like “Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector,” are not.

The new NBC drama (based on Jeffery Deaver’s novel) stars Lincoln Rhyme (Russell Hornsby) is a cocky detective who’s made a name for himself by scouring crime scenes like no one else after modeling himself after (who else?) Sherlock Holmes. Accordingly, his Moriarty is “The Bone Collector,” a wry and ruthless murderer who disappeared into the ether after his last interaction with Rhyme a few years ago, which left the detective in a full body paralysis. Now, Rhyme finds himself back on the case after restless cop Amelia (Arielle Kebbel) stumbles upon a murder seemingly carried out by the Bone Collector. As might be expected of this odd couple pairing, he’s brilliant and revered, while she’s more talented than many will give her credit for. Both have a tragic backstory and complicated home lives that interfere with their work despite all their best efforts. (Also, Michael Imperioli co-stars as a weary detective, because this is a New York City show and don’t you forget it.)

In its pilot episode, “Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector” makes a big show of shaking up the usual procedural formula (different timelines! elaborate fakeouts! explosives!), but nonetheless follows the lead of umpteen serial killer stories so closely that it ends up a paint-by-numbers collision of predictable tropes. Rhyme speaks exclusively in clichés or outright word salad nonsense (“turns out the broken take better care of the broken”?) that everyone’s impressed reactions indicate are supposed to be unusually smart and poignant. Kebbel, a perpetually underused actor, does her level best to make Amelia as interesting as the script insists she is, but can only dodge the obstacles of her lines so often. How well their partnership goes — or more accurately, how well the actors can sell it — from this point forward could determine the fate of the show. But given its introduction, it will be an uphill climb for the show to get anywhere particularly compelling. 

“Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector” premieres Friday, January 10 at 8 pm on NBC.

'Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector': TV Review

Production: Executive producers: Mark Bianculli, VJ Boyd, Barry O’Brien, Seth Gordon, Avi Nir, Alon Shtruzman, Peter Traugott, Rachel Kaplan, Steve Shill.

Cast: Russell Hornsby, Arielle Kebbel, Michael ImperioliBrían F. O'Byrne, Tate Ellington, Courtney Grosbeck, Ramses Jimenez, Brooke Lyons, Roslyn Ruff.

More TV

  • Tiger King

    'Tiger King': Where Everyone in the Series Is Now

    (Warning: Spoilers ahead. Do not watch if you haven’t seen all seven episodes of Netflix’s “Tiger King.”) Like a stealthy tiger padding through the jungle, no one saw Netflix’s “Tiger King” coming until it was too late to un-see the questionable conditions the animals were kept in, and the questionable taste in tattoos of nearly [...]

  • Jameela Jamil attends the NBC and

    Jameela Jamil Admits She Could Have Picked a Better Time to Come Out as Queer

    Jameela Jamil isn’t interested in being perfect.  “Sometimes, I do f— up, but I always apologize when I’ve gotten it wrong,” she told said in a candid interview on “Variety Live,” which streams via Variety’s Instagram account. “I learn, and other people learn with me.”  And she definitely isn’t afraid to back down from a [...]

  • THE BLACKLIST -- "Cornelius Ruck (#155)"

    'The Blacklist' Bosses on 'Clue' Inspiration for Standalone Whodunnit Episode

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Cornelius Ruck (No. 155),” the 12th episode of “The Blacklist” Season . Viewers that needed a bit of a respite from the real world on Friday night probably embraced the light-hearted nature of “The Blacklist’s” “Cornelius Ruck” episode, a concluding installment to the previous week’s [...]

  • APA Logo

    APA Sets Salary Cuts and Furloughs in Wake of Covid-19 Pandemic

    Following in the steps of several agencies dealing with the coronavirus, APA has informed all offices of upcoming salary cuts along with possible suspensions and furloughs for employees due to the pandemic’s economic effect on the industry. APA board of directors will make the largest financial sacrifice. The move has been made to avoid layoffs [...]


    DGA, SAG-AFTRA, WGA Scramble to Keep Residuals Flowing During Coronavirus Pandemic

    Hollywood’s creative guilds have been working overtime to keep residual checks going out to members during the coronavirus crisis. Even though most of the staff members of the Directors Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild of America West have been working remotely, the guilds have stepped up efforts to maintain the flow of [...]

  • Steven Universe Series Finale

    The Radical Empathy of 'Steven Universe' (Column)

    The last epic battle of “Steven Universe” isn’t one between friends and foes, but between Steven Universe and himself. After six years and nearly 200 episodes, both the show and character took the time to ask themselves some crucial, existential questions: What happens to a hero after they’ve already saved the day? Who is Steven [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content