ABC’s Monday Night Moves on with Conviction
By Geannie Bastian
It’s 10PM on ABC premiere Monday, but this longtime Castle fan isn’t feeling the blues because Conviction makes a worthy and interesting replacement for my crime drama fix.
Things start off with a snap of banter, as DA Connor Wallace meets with whip smart but troubled Lawyer Hayes Morrison. It’s not unlikely meeting to be sure, especially since they’re meeting in jail. It seems Hayes was caught with drugs, and the DA has a deal to offer. He wants to see her lawyer. Turns out, she’s it. “You’re lawyer’s hot,” he says. “To bad she hates you,” she fires back. History, there? Oh yes. But we’ll come back to that.
DA Wallace wants Morrison to head up his new Conviction Integrity Unit. Something he has created because the politically ambitious DA wants to clear up negative press around recent overturned convictions. Morrison really wants nothing to do with it, until of course it’s mentioned that this latest scandal of hers (Hayes Morrison is a troubled former First Daughter) – could tarnish her mother’s attempt to run for Senator.
So, stuck between politics and a possible conviction of our own, Morrison takes the job. And it doesn’t quite go as she had planned.
The Conviction Integrity Unit – First Case Jitters
Morrison arrives at the job (that she honestly intends to phone in) to find quite an interesting group assembled. There’s Sam, the up-and-coming guy in the DAs office whose job she took (and who Wallace wants to spy on her!), Maxine a long time NYPD detective who wants to make sure good cops have someone looking out for them – and who absolutely did not vote for Former President Morrison, her new bosses father, Frankie a former convict, and Tess, a young woman who idolizes Morrison, but was also an eyewitness in a crime that got a man convicted, but was later overturned on DNA.
While Morrison picks the case they work on purely because the young man, Odell, makes a great political poster boy, she mostly intends the for the rest of the team to do most of the actual work figuring out whether or not he actually killed his girlfriend in high school. Members of the team are largely split, particularly Maxine and Frankie who each see the situation from their own point of view. It looks like Odell may be guilty, and Morrison may be bailing, especially when her attempt to become involved and speak to the victims mother goes terribly wrong.
Things start to turn when Frankie and Tess stage a unique experiment that proves the victim was killed later than the prosecution had stated, which meant that the accused was playing football at the time. However the biggest moment of the night comes when Morrison gets stripped bare emotionally by her mom – who as it turns out has manipulated all of this for her own reasons, and basically wants to see if her daughter has what it takes to succeed.
Don’t We All Make Mistakes?
That is the question that comes when Morrison, following the conversation with her mother finally sits down and talks to Odell. He says he’s made mistakes but he didn’t do this. He wants someone to believe in him and see the truth. What Hayes sees, it seems, is herself. After Odell repeatedly says it could not have been him that his girlfriend was afraid of as she wrote in her diary, (only saying HE) Morrison has a case-breaking thought – was the diary in code to protect it from prying eyes, as her own had been? The team there’s been a man hanging around the edges of the case. A family friend, which the initials HE.
They go to his last known residence to find his ex-girlfriend is there, and she looks awfully like the victim, Anna. He has a type. His ex not only tells the team that Hector is violent and scary, but he has a gun, which she hid so that he could never use it on her – and it turns out to be the missing murder weapon in their case.
So, it’s a happy ending high for Hayes, who informs Wallace she knows the deal he made with her mother, and if he ever attempt to press charges, she will expose him for blackmailing her. And no, she doesn’t care that that would expose her mother as well. She’s through being manipulated by both of them. And she’s all in, with a whole other kind of conviction.
Overall a pretty fun and unique set up for a new crime show, and it’s well written with interesting characters. And a truckload of relationship history between Morrison and Wallace waits to be explored.
Not a bad first date with a new show, huh? See you back here next week for more Conviction.