Conviction, episode one

Conviction is a new show this season premiering at 10 on a Monday night after two hours of Dancing with the Stars. I know that Hayley Atwell stars as a former first daughter heading a team of people that investigate potentially wrongful convictions. Atwell is best known for her role as Agent Peggy Carter in the Captain America movies and her eponymous show that aired for only two winter seasons on ABC. The rest of the cast is a mix of people that you’ve probably seen in a movie or show at some point but don’t remember there name.

We first meet Hayes Morrison (Atwell) in lock up. She’s being told by District Attorney Connor Wallace (Eddie Cahill) that this whole legal fiasco can be swept under the rug if she agrees to head the Conviction Integrity Unit, a department comprising lawyers, detectives and forensic experts who re-examine cases where there is suspicion of wrongful conviction. He reminds her that if she doesn’t agree she will be once again disgracing the family name and ruining her mother’s election chances. Needless to say, she takes the gig.

Morrison reports to work and meets her team including Sam Spencer (Shawn Ashmore), paralegal Tess Larsen (Emily Kinney), forensics expert Franklin “Frankie” Cruz (Manny Montana) and head investigator Maxine Bohen (Merrin Dungey).

Their first case is a young, black man, Odell Dwyer (Maurice Williams) that was convicted of shooting his girlfriend by an all white jury eight years prior.

The prosecutor tells Larsen and Spencer that the jury selection was “by the book,” that only a few black people were in the pool and the judge excused them for other circumstances.

Morrison discusses her punishment with her brother Jackson, Daniel Franzese, begging him to save her but he merely points out that she owes Wallace the next three years. Spencer goes to Wallace and threatens to leave the team because he was promised the leader position. Wallace tells him to stick out until he runs for mayor and that his “loyalty will be rewarded.”

When Bohen corners Morrison about her lackluster performance as leader, she comes clean that she is only doing this because she was busted the previous night for possession of cocaine and that “this is her prison.”

When Dwyer’s mother turns up at the office she is furious at the way her son is being used as a political prop. She confronts Morrison about it and while they can’t promise he will be exonerated, they do promise to stay on the case.

The team continues to investigate and the evidence of Dwyer’s guilt mounts. He was on steroids. He tried to buy a gun. His girlfriend, Anna, was scared of him. Her mother maintains that he did it.

Wallace finds Morrison in his office that night pleading to be fired. “Remember fun, wild and transgressive is actually messy, destructive and dangerous. This unit could do good but I won’t, can’t,” she explains. She snorts a white powder substance off the desk but he confirms that it is not cocaine.

Morrison decides that she should try to bury Dwyer if they can’t save him and Cruz is not pleased. At a fundraising event for her mother Morrison dances with Wallace until her mother cuts in to point out that Wallace saved the family and that she needs to keep the job or go to prison.

After talking with Dwyer, Morrison is convinced of his innocence and the team renews their efforts to free him. Cruz and Larsen investigate the alleged time of death while the rest of the team pours over case information and comes up with another suspect.

They solve the case and prove that Dwyer was playing football at the time of Anna’s death. He is freed from prison and Wallace gets the happy ending he wished for.

I want to like this show because I like Atwell and I was a big fan of Manny Montana on the show Graceland but I don’t think I will be able to stick with this for very long. It’s super predictable and pretty cliched. Obviously Morrison will sleep with Wallace. Probably at the worst possible moment for her mother’s campaign. And she’ll get caught. It’s just trying to hard. I’ll give it another few episodes but I will probably drop it before the winter hiatus.

There is a new episode next Monday at 10 p.m.


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