“The Deep End” can’t help but leave viewers wondering if every law firm is just a front for a book-filled, gavel-smacking sexual playground.
“The Deep End”
Thursday at 8 p.m.
The show follows the careers of a new group of lawyers in a competitive and wealthy firm as they deal with insecurities, corruption, moral dilemmas and, most importantly, sexual quandaries. Liam Priory (Ben Lawson, “Neighbours”) gives a fine example of that last concern when a Jewish client becomes magnetically attracted to him (and, more importantly, to the yarmulke his boss made him wear) but comes to find he has not, in fact, been circumcised. This is a fact explained by one of the other up-and-coming lawyers, as she has personal experience with the matter (and member) in question. By the end of the episode, it feels like each and every character is connected, not by a passion for the justice system, but by a line of common hookups.
“The Deep End,” while subpar, is buoyed by a cast of fairly competent actors. Rowdy Kaiser (Norbert Leo Butz, “Dan in Real Life”) is especially likeable, even managing to be funny at times. Protagonist Dylan Hewitt (Matt Long, “Ghost Rider”) on the other hand, was clearly chosen for aesthetic appeal. Long is a capable actor, but his character is bland and morally superior in an obnoxious way. He brings flowers to the colleague he has chosen to sleep with this week. This black-and-white morality will quickly become dull in a show like “The Deep End.” If it lasts, they’d better spice him up with a drug problem or something.
Beth Branford (Leah Pipes, “Sorority Row”) offers a more morally gray character, and strangely, a female with daddy issues. There’s a first. But among the more grating characters are “the prince of darkness” boss Cliff Huddle (Billy Zane, “Samantha Who?”), who is insufferable purely because of Zane’s terrible performance, and Addy Fisher (Tina Majorino, “Big Love”), whose coming-of-age story is far too obvious and packed into one episode.
Fisher is that archetypal character who lets everyone take advantage of her until her moment of clarity, when she gets fed up and takes what she wants. Except she manages to be whiny and annoying even after she grows a backbone. Why does each and every drama have to include the same stereotype?
A counterpart for each fresh young lawyer can be found in “Grey’s Anatomy, ” and this may be intentional. After all, there’s clearly a market for that type of drama (“Grey’s” is on its sixth season now), and a law firm can offer as tense and dramatic a setting as a hospital.
In the end, “The Deep End” is a decently executed combination of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” plopped down into a different setting. While it offers nothing groundbreaking or original, it does occasionally manage to entertain.