I saw a slightly better villain this week. I liked the prison warden who used an inmate workers' program to illegally dump an oil company’s toxic sludge in a pretty little swamp, all for the sake of saving money. Too bad this setup painted him as an easy target and not an intriguing villain.
I wanted at least one reason to like him and didn't get it.
Right now, FOX is betting that viewers will buy into these attention-grabbing conspiracy theories where the little good guys (cops) war tirelessly against the big bad guys (corporations, rich people, prison wardens).
In episode one, a nonprofit charity worked to stamp out the rebirth of one of the city’s toughest neighborhoods. In episode two, corporate corner-cutting threatened the region’s lifeblood: its water and bayous.
I’ll lose interest if I keep seeing “grand schemes against the Big Easy” unravel week after week. I need to see conflicts that make the city's recovery struggles more relatable, more believable.
Still, encouraging signs remain.
Anthony Anderson and Cole Hauser play two good cops who have reasons to distrust one other.
Anderson’s Marlin Boulet drinks on the job and puts hot sauce on his breakfast. (Watch out! He's crazy!) He’s also a loyal daddy and a glutton for his city’s culture. As cop characters go, he’s easy to cheer for because he’s cheering for his city. So far, his character flaws are forgivable. (Bet his drinking leads to no good, though.)
Hauser’s Trevor Cobb entrusts a dangerous, and potentially career-ending, secret to his partner. Cobb is not a former black ops soldier from Cincinnati like his résumé says. He escaped from his New Orleans prison cell after Katrina floodwaters nearly killed him. To get free, he had to drown his cellmate (and best friend), who couldn’t tread water and would have taken them both down.
Cobb’s a man trying to come to terms with a bad past and is doing something good for a change. That’s interesting, because he could slip and really hurt someone.
Over the next few episodes, I expect to see these two rescuing each other from desperate situations and gradually building trust. I also expect Cobb’s past to return and test their loyalties.
I need to see more sides of these guys, though. Beyond their jobs, I need to see more of them at their homes bonding with their buddies. Re-landscaping their yards. Re-painting their homes. Calling their families between shootouts. Burning toast before work. Whatever it is, I need to see them living in New Orleans, not just fighting it.
Same goes for the flatly drawn criminals, who right now are just sliding onto the screen, jawing, shooting, running, getting caught or getting set free.
In a good cops drama, interesting criminals have well-rounded lives and complicated motives.
In short, "K-Ville" needs to shelve the conspiracy crap and give me characters.
Enough of hopeless hopes. What did you think?