MEMPHIS BEAT Pilot Early Review

Memphis Beat on TNT

With summer TV shows coming to a screen near you, I wanted to share an early review of the new TNT show MEMPHIS BEAT which premieres Tuesday, June 22, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT). The show stars Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl) and Alfre Woodard (Three Rivers) and co-starring DJ Qualls (Hustle & Flow).

Here is the official show summary of Memphis Beat straight from TNT’s press release:

The show centers on Dwight Hendricks (Lee), a quirky Memphis police detective with an intimate connection to the city, a passion for blues music and a close relationship with his mother. He is “the keeper of Memphis,” a Southern gentleman who is protective of his fellow citizens, reverential of the city’s history and deeply rooted in its blues music scene.

Despite his impeccable instincts as a detective, Dwight’s loose, relaxed style of police work rubs his demanding new boss, Lt. Tanya Rice (Woodard), the wrong way. But Dwight may eventually win her over to a Memphis state of mind, especially when he takes the stage at his favorite hangout to perform a legendary song or two.

Well this description gives a pretty accurate portrayal of the show. Memphis Beat is a compelling mix of procedural, drama and comedy that make you relate to the characters, the city and its unique musical heritage.

The show is wholly centered on Dwight Hendricks, played by Jason Lee who does a really solid job of playing him, a southern cop who loves his town’s cultural history and also has a nonchalant yet effective investigative style that makes him great at his job. Think of him as the popular detective at the police department that embodies the spirit of the police force. You will also be treated to Lee’s intense musical renditions on stage in the pilot episode which should become a recurring staple of the show. He also has a unique approach to his work that blends solid detective skills and also a strong attachment to Memphis and its residents that make him care about his work, sometimes a little too much. All and all, Dwight is a very interesting character that seems to have a lot of potential depth to explore.

Other characters in the show are pretty much there to support the Dwight show. You have his new boss Lt. Tanya Rice played by Alfre Woodard with whom he clashes a bit in the pilot. The relationship looks like it is slowly being established as more of a mother-son relationship than boss-employee, which generates a few intense but amusing scenes. You also have his seasoned partner Charlie “Whitehead” White played by Sam Hennings, who is an old-fashioned kind of detective; unfortunately, I am not quite seeing the bond between the two partners in this first episode. Finally, you have Davey Sutton played by DJ Qualls, who has good intentions but also a propensity to screw things up in a funny way; I like to think of him like Monk‘s Randy Disher. All and all, the whole cast seems to work well together although I would have liked to see an additional female presence to balance out the male cast.

I would not claim that Memphis Beat is the most original procedural that I have ever seen but it is certainly has enough satisfying elements to compel me to come back for more.

So don’t forget to tune in to Memphis Beat which premieres Tuesday, June 22, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT) on TNT. When you do, leave a comment below to let me know why you thought of it.

In the meantime, you can check out a preview of Memphis Beat below: