OUTLAW “In Re: Curtis Farwell” Review

Outlaw

OUTLAW “In Re: Curtis Farwell” Season 1 Episode 4 – Cyrus takes on a auto manufacturer who has left cars on the road with defective steering rods in the “In Re: Curtis Farwell” episode of OUTLAW. Is Cyrus interested in this case because of the actual client or because of his father’s death?

Much of this episode feels like a lecture. In addition to the usual Cyrusisms like “The only thing I’ve turned on is a justice system that doesn’t always do justice” (probably a minority opinion, but I think the Larry King opening is painfully trite), we have the team up in arms over their client’s desire to take a secret settlement. I applaud the sentiment because the secret part absolutely is problematic, but A. They work for the client and B. Little is clumsier on a show than characters telling us how we should feel about something.

I understand that Cyrus has no respect for the legal system he believes is flawed beyond hope and that he has his eye on his own big picture, but torpedoing a settlement agreement that a client requested is unconscionable. There are other, more ethical ways to achieve his objective. I am not an ends justify the means kind of girl, so this really is horrifying to me even though there was certainly never any doubt that Cyrus would win and the client would in fact make out better. That’s how it always works in Cyrus-land, after all. I think having Cyrus win all of his cases so far is a missed opportunity because we need that doubt and suspense.

The case itself is straightforward with the usual Cyrus grandstanding in court and one red herring in the form of Curtis Farwell’s diabetic ketoacidosis at the time of his death. We see Cyrus flash back to his father’s death just before he decides to take the Farwell case, but that is barely followed up on. Oh, and Cyrus can tell Al they’re partners a million times, but it doesn’t make it true. Cyrus calls the shots, plain and simple.

Senator Vidalin is back, this time threatening to vote against the interests of Claire’s big clients if she doesn’t stop bankrolling Cyrus, so Cyrus has to help raise money for Vidalin. The creepy stalker is still hanging around and actually confronts Mereta and Cyrus’s house is broken into. but I’m just not feeling the tension.

This episode tries to flesh out the supporting characters. A terrified Mereta has to argue a motion in court, and we see her pace and practice just as Eddie is pacing and practicing while he waits to be interviewed at his girlfriend’s firm. Where we had gotten a few hints at a potential Lucinda-Eddie romance, now the show seems to want us to see some Mereta-Eddie sparks. New Jupiter computer tech Lucinda doesn’t have much to do besides spout her one-liners. Iloveplatypuses. com–hee.

My two favorite parts of the episode: “My vote is angry tea-partier” and Cyrus calling his dog Rehnquist. My nit-pick of the week: Mackinac is pronounced Makinaw.

With Outlaw now on production hiatus, its cancellation is all but certain. As charismatic as Jimmy Smits is, he can’t carry a show alone: he can’t overcome bland supporting characters and points relentlessly and clumsily hammered home. Despite the fanciful premise, I still think there was the potential for a good show here, but it hasn’t found its footing and now it looks like it won’t have the chance.

What did you think of the episode? Do you plan to keep watching Outlaw even though NBC has halted production on the show?

Follow me on Twitter @michstjame