Monday, March 18, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Fix' - Maya Travis Gets a Second Chance to Prosecute Sevvy Johnson for Murder in 'Pilot'

ABC's The Fix - Episode 1.01 "Pilot"

L.A. district attorney Maya Travis suffers a devastating defeat after prosecuting an A-list movie star for double murder. With her high-profile career derailed, she flees for a quieter life in rural Washington. Eight years later, when this same star is under suspicion for another murder, Maya is lured back to the DA's office for another chance at justice.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of ABC's The Fix.

"Pilot" was written by Marcia Clark, Elizabeth Craft & Sarah Fain and directed by Larysa Kondracki

It would be too easy and minimalistic to say that The Fix is simply a dramatized retelling of the O.J. Simpson story. That comparison can be made thanks to many of the onscreen details as well as those happening behind-the-camera. Lead prosecutor of that infamous trial Marcia Clark is a co-creator of this series. She has become a public figure again thanks to television being able to change the narrative around her. That may be the aspirational quality of this show as well. It may be telling the story of man who may have just killed for the second time after being found not guilty during his first trial. But it's also a story of potential redemption as Maya hopes to resolve unfinished business in Los Angeles while Sevvy and his lawyers hope to get the public narrative on his side once more. Of course, it would best suit the show if it took wild diversions from the clear source material as soon as possible. It is already doing so because Simpson was never accused of another homicide even though he did spend time in jail for a completely different and criminal case. Plus, the audience just has to go along with the idea that Maya Travis would once again be the prosecutor in this case. The defense could easily make the argument that she personally has a vendetta against Sevvy because she didn't get a guilty conviction the first time. The show goes through the motions a little bit to say in the early going that Maya isn't coming on as the lead prosecutor. She is just returning to the DA's office to offer some insight as the prosecutor who best understood the evidence and case that was presented against Sevvy at the first trial. It may not have worked that time because the trial was such a media circus that fell down along racial lines. Of course, it doesn't feel like the show is handling that aspect of things all that well. Ezra Wolf certainly isn't a Johnnie Cochran type. He can't speak eloquently about issues of race and how they are systemic leading to the condemnation of his client. He mostly just goes around saying "racism" and Sevvy is targeted for "being a black man." It's not subtle and the show makes sure that Ezra has a vested interest in all of this as well. He needs this employment because he is indebted to some dangerous people who are willing to hurt him to get what he wants. It's all very complicated. And yet, it's also a fascinating character study from Maya's point-of-view. After this massive public defeat, her career was over and she broke down. She fled the city to a rural life elsewhere. She didn't aspire to come back when this latest murder occurred. She was lured back by her former co-counsel, Andre. He never left the office. The investigator, C.J., is still there as well. It's clear that all three of them were broken apart by that outcome. Maya just chose to leave instead of coping with her emotions in the public spotlight. She didn't know how to do so. And now, the cameras are turned on her once more. She understands that she is already a part of this story. She comes more prepared this time around. She knows what to look for even though she doubts Sevvy would make the same mistakes twice. It may also be too easy to see Sevvy as guilty. The show should feel comfortable playing around with that despite all the damning evidence of physical and emotional abuse. Yes, he is clearly hiding things. But his world should be expanded further to ensure that all of the twists and turns along the way feel earned and are relevant to the proceedings. That final face off makes for an effective closing shot. Now, the show has to maintain that energy moving forward.