“Why the hell would she defend that case?” asks Dana Delaney’s medical examiner character in the pilot of her new series Body of Evidence, speaking about a lawyer who had once been attacked by a dog but was defending someone whose dog had attacked someone. That was the end-of-act cliffhanger statement. And there I am yelling at the screen “because she’s a lawyer! That’s what lawyers do, take cases to represent people, even for things that they may not support. But that’s the level of stupid this new series depends on.
Back when I was in the (non-improv) comedy troupe Doorways To Lint, we used to make a point of establishing the vital details right off; we didn’t have sets to work with, but sitting in a chair, holding an imaginary steering wheel, a troupe member would say “boy, I’m a pilot!”, and things would be established. But then, we wanted to be in and out of that sketch in five minutes. Body of Evidence intends to be a series that will run for years, hundreds of hours, and yet they feel that in the first hour they not only have to impress you that the lead character is driven ex-surgeon with some dark demons in her past, a traffic accident, a failed marriage, a distant daughter, and so forth, but they have to explain each and every one of those, so there’s no risk of, you know, discovering the character as you go. There is no space for subtlety here, no nuance, it’s a blatant damaged-acerbic-genius show – something we’ve seen many times since the rise of House, but never that well and only rarely successful (The Mentalist being the only one that comes to mind.) So luckily I will not have to be worrying about whether to tape this or Parenthood in the near future; one time through this is enough for me.
Edited to note: somehow, I missed that over the year since this show was first announced, its title switched from Body of Evidence to Body of Proof.