The Telefile

Ironside: Shake the Rust Off

by Angel Cohn October 3, 2013 6:00 am
<I>Ironside</I>: Shake the Rust Off

This new cop drama is based on an old cop drama from the '60s/'70s, and let's just say that this is not the next fun Hawaii Five-0-style remake. This will not be our new guilty pleasure. And we will not be 'shipping any of the leads. We'd be surprised if we ever even make it to a second episode. There are about a dozen too many New York cop shows on the air currently, and this one isn't original enough to make it into our rotation. It just failed to make any sort of lasting impression on us at all.

The big twist here is that NYC detective Ironside (Blair Underwood, filling the role previously occupied by Raymond Burr) is in a wheelchair. That makes typical crime work a little more challenging, but with his tough attitude and residual anger issues, he pushes through the pain and tries not to ask for assistance. If you take away the wheelchair, he's really just a rule-breaking detective who will stop at nothing to solve a caseā€¦ which is something we've heard and seen ad nauseam.

The problem isn't Underwood -- it's that in this day and age we expect more than "tough cop takes down bad guys" as a premise. We've had groundbreaking series like The Shield and Southland push the envelope when it comes to edgy cops, or even shows like Castle and the aforementioned Hawaii Five-0, which take gruesome crimes and focus more on the characters' relationships with some humor thrown into the mix. In short, we've been spoiled by more than 40 years of police shows that have given us every permutation possible with varying degrees of success.

One of the largest hurdles this new show has to overcome is Ironside's partner Holly (Spencer Grammer). While we often enjoyed Kelsey's daughter in her role on Greek, this dark procedural is a bad fit. She's even less convincing as a member of the NYPD than Kristin Kreuk on Beauty and the Beast, a feat we would have found nearly impossible just one short pilot season ago. Even Andy Samberg's goofball detective on Brooklyn Nine-Nine seems more plausible.

The rest of Ironside's elite team includes Virgil (Pablo Schreiber, sadly without his Orange Is the New Black Pornstasche) and Teddy (Neal Bledsoe), who are watched over by their Captain (Kenneth Choi) and Ironside's ex partner Gary (Brent Sexton). They are pretty unremarkable and just seem to be there as filler as the pilot really didn't give them a lot of room to be developed.

The real question is: Will this show last? And our best guess is that it probably won't make it until midseason. And then this largely attractive group of actors will move on to the next project, and hopefully Grammer can find a dramedy on a network like The CW to better showcase her skill set.

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