I had seen a commercial for Shark a few weeks ago, and, basically, here's the premise:
Sebastian Stark reevaluates his life after a wife beater he once defended finally ends up killing her. To atone, he takes a job with the high-profile crime unit of the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office.
Before I even saw the show, I had a problem with the premise. I just don't think that defense attorneys think this way. If a guilty client goes free, I don't feel bad - I think that's the way the system works, and the police and prosecutors should have done their job. Our system is imperfect - innocent people go to prison, guilty people go free. I think defense attorneys (especially one described as "a notorious defense attorney," leading me to believe he's been around the block a few times) know this.
Sure, it would be disturbing to know that the person you represented later killed someone. But I don't think defense attorneys are responsible for every later act of their clients. If I represent a completely innocent person and after his acquittal he goes out and kills someone, either accidentally or purposely - am I somehow responsible for that death? No. Likewise, it's not my Nobel Prize if he wins one either. I only deal with the crime charged, the single accusation - not my client's whole life - good or bad.
So, a defense attorney's client kills someone and the defense attorney "reevaluates" and "atones." Do you think that when my clients go on to do something good with their lives, the prosecutors ever "reevaluate" and "atone?"
Fine. Let's concede that it's just a premise. Then he goes to the DA's office (to atone) and has to try a pop-star accused of murder within 48 hours. He has a staff of little underlings (ala House) who run around doing his work (and being his conscience- ala House).
Part of this trial prep occurs in his home, where he's built a perfect replica of a courtroom - complete with jury feedback, video screens, and anything else you can imagine in your dream Barbie courtroom. That's kind of cool.
Despite all this prep, when the time comes, this "notorious" defense attorney, tells his little prodigy to sit down and, instead, decides not to cross-examine the pop-star accused of murder because she reminds him too much of his daughter.
(Can you imagine a real murder trial where a defendant testified and the prosecutor didn't cross-examine?)
Later, though, he reconsiders and decides to cross-examine her. And, is somehow allowed to.
Here, Shark falls into the trap mentioned in the comments of the previous post - rather than elicit evidence through testimony, the attorney just gets up and testifies.
To paraphrase, "Why is it then, that the LAPD crime lab says with 99% accuracy that the video found in that camera matches the camera you used to make your first music video?"
Umm, did they? Did you reopen the prosecution case to elicit that testimony that you just discovered that morning? Or does the fact that you are saying it make it true? Objection!
But don't worry about that. The defense attorney doesn't object, and, the next thing we know, the little pop-star is confessing and crying on the stand, "I didn't mean to kill him..."
And all the defense attorney can say is "Can we have a recess?" - The surest sign that the case has just been lost.
It's ok. Legal shows don't have to be perfectly realistic. In fact, if they were, they probably wouldn't be worth watching. (Although, I always worry that jurors that watch too much TV are thinking, "Why can't she just get up there and say 'Isn't it true...' and tell us what happened? Why is she doing this whole slow process of asking questions? Is she stupid or something?")
Then there was a whole secondary plot about his wife and his daughter, none of which I cared much about, but I'm sure it was there either because (1) this is the premiere, so they're setting up the characters or (2) people like my mother like that sort of thing.
Overall, though, I think Shark was far better than Injustice, and I may end up watching another episode. If you're interested in seeing the Series Premiere, it seems like you might be able to watch it on the CBS website by following that link.
And, finally, call me blonde, but I didn't get why the show is called Shark when his name is Stark. Maybe it's because there are a lot of lawyer jokes out there about Sharks, or this guy is a "shark in the courtroom" - but then why does his name have to be Stark, which is just so close to Shark?
I kept thinking throughout the episode, "Am I hearing them wrong? Did they just say Stark or Shark? What's his name again? What's the name of this show again?" And then I was thinking "Maybe it's like the Cosby show, where there was nobody on the show named Cosby, since they were the Huxtables, and it was named for one of the actors..." and trying to figure out the names of all the actors.
Why distract me like that (I got it! James Woods! Wait, that doesn't make sense...)? It's not based on a real person, the writers could pick whatever name they wanted, so why not just name him Shark (look at House, they named the main character House) or call the show Stark?