Fall 2016 TV Review: Bull

This is going to be a quick review, because I’m not entirely certain what to make of this yet.

Dr. Jason Bull (played by NCIS‘ Michael Weatherly) is a jury consultant. Supposedly, he’s based off of the life of Doctor Phil.

The basic idea is that Bull breaks down how juries think, profiling the jurors, and even creating a mirror jury to experiment with. His fashion consultant dresses the clients (the character is, of course, a gay former football running back who you can’t TELL is gay), and he has a former prosecutor who runs the mock juries (and occasionally defends clients). There is also an obligatory hacker.

It’s generally apolitical, and by that I mean I don’t yet want to punch the TV screen. The pilot episode used the standard cliche “This teenager being prosecuted for killing this girl is really gay, so he probably didn’t do it.” The second episode centered around a plane crash, where the jury was “affected by gender bias,” but it was presented in such a way that was reasonable, and not an SJW screed. The third episode was a rape victim accused of killing her rapist, but the jury pool is being tainted by a podcaster who edits her news story to support the narrative.

The pilot was a cliche, the second episode treated a real psychological concept with sanity, and the third episode was a straight-up defense in a trial. The series is trending upward, and they’re DROPPING the politics as they go along. Yay.

Props should be given to Michael Weatherly for playing someone who isn’t Tony DiNozzo. We don’t really have a backstory on Dr. Bull, but there are interesting hints here and there. Not to mention that they’ve decided that, like Sherlock Holmes, Bull needs busy work in order to keep himself together.

I must point out for special note the actor Freddy Rodriguez (of The Night Shift) for playing the lawyer Benny. Thus far, he’s got the most backstory, character and emotional range. He will probably steal this show, if he wanted to.

All in all, if you’re a fan of The Runaway Jury, you might want to try this. Let’s give it 3, maybe 3.5 stars.

About Declan Finn

Declan Finn is the author of Honor at Stake, an urban fantasy novel, nominated for Best Horror in the first annual Dragon Awards. He has also written The Pius Trilogy, an attempt to take Dan Brown to the woodshed in his own medium -- soon to be republished by Silver Empire Press. Finn has also written "Codename: Winterborn," an SF espionage thriller, and it's follow-up, "Codename: Winterborn." And "It was Only on Stun!" and "Set To Kill" are murder mysteries at a science fiction convention.
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