Creator – Peter Moffat
Throw – Bryan Cranston, Michael Stuhlbarg, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Hope Davis, Hunter Doohan, Carmen Ejogo
Your Honor tops in its first episode. More precisely, it tops within the first act of the first section. It’s worrying, because the 10-hour Showtime miniseries – spied on like the great Bryan Cranston’s return to television – spend the rest of the time reaching the initial height.
It’s a little strange that Cranston chose this as his TV comeback vehicle after Breaking Bad ended its historic run seven years ago. They are very similar – not only thematically but also stylistically. It gives the impression that Cranston does not return much to his roots because he agrees with what the audience expects of him. His time as a movie star earned him great acclaim (and an Oscar nomination), but crucial, small box office success as a leading man.
Watch the trailer Your Honor here
In your honor, he plays a popular New Orleans judge named Michael Desiato, who is still recovering from his wife’s recent death and learning to be the single parent of his teenage son, Adam. Michael is a drama queen in court – in an early scene we see him release a black woman accused of drug dealing by first commenting on the effect her prison will have on her young children and then by punching holes in the arresting testimony. The point has been made: Michael Desiato is a good man, willing to do the right thing.
But his morale is cruelly compromised when Adam, when driving in anxiety, is involved in a hit-and-run. When he comes clean to his father, Michael’s first reaction is to take him to the police and tell the truth. But he backs out of this plane at the last minute when he finds out that the young man who died in the accident was none other than the son of a local criminal.
This is when the show starts to go off the rails a bit and comes dangerously close to resembling a Hollywood version of Drishyam, or maybe the abysmal Breath: Into the Shadows. How far would you go to protect your child? That is the question that these stories ask.
After the crash sequence – filmed with patience and tremendous skill by director Edward Berger – the show becomes too tangled in plot adaptations of its own production, thus committing the most serious crime it can have: putting the ethical dilemmas in favor of shock and reverence.
The reason Breaking Bad was successful – or at least one of the reasons it was successful – and things like Your Honor and Drishyam and Breathe are not that Breaking Bad fully embraced Walter White’s descent into madness. This did not raise any concerns about the fact that he was probably a psychopath. But your honor – and Drishyam and breathe – insists that their protagonists are good men, willing to do the right thing.
Cranston’s performance is perfect – he plays Michael more as a man climbing through the situation than the more clinical characters that Ajay Devgn, Mohanlal and Abhishek Bachchan played in the other stories. He is surrounded by a strong role, including Isiah Witlock Jr., who plays Michael’s childhood friend Charlie, who runs for the Senate; Amy Landecker as an exaggerated detective, who may or may not suspect anything; and the outstanding Michael Stuhlbarg, who plays the left-behind gangster Jimmy Baxter with the appropriate threat.
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But these characters are just farmers – poorly defined and thinly written by creator Peter Moffat. Often they do not make the decisions that are absolutely incredible, just to promote the action or to deliver a quick twist. Perhaps the show will find its footing as it goes on and expand the socio-cultural commentary it seeks to inject into the story – only the first four episodes were provided for this review – but the foundation that has been laid is shaky. , in the best case.
The show will be streaming on Voot Select in India, and will also air on Zee Café, but in the meantime you may want to check out Defending Jacob, the underrated and underrated Apple TV + series starring Chris Evans, which is about similar ideas in a more credible way.