Conviction: Haley Atwell Plays American Justice System (Review)

HAYLEY ATWELL

Hayley Atwell goes on to prove there is life after Agent Carter by starring in the new ABC crime drama Conviction. The show that delves into the American justice system to right wrongful convictions airs 3 October this year.

It is a curious series and as part of the fall schedule offers a different look at crime.  Atwell plays  Hayes Morrison, the daughter of a former first lady who is still in politics. (Hillary Clinton anyone?) She is a topnotch lawyer who spends too much time getting in the newspapers for all the wrong reasons.

The pilot episode starts with Morrison in jail for cocaine possession and the D.A. forces her to go after wrongful convictions to clean up his record. She is beyond reluctant and fights Wallace, and her mother, every step of the way.

The first case is a football player convicted of murdering his girlfriend. Initially it looks like the evidence is stacked up against him. However, as the new team begin to check the facts it looks like the young man was railroaded.

None of her assembled team particularly care for Morrison and the feeling is mutual. As the investigation delves into the crime and the evidence, however,  the group begin to bond.  Everyone brings something to the table and eventually the truth is uncovered.

Conviction has  brilliant cast. Atwell is always good value as a performer. Although her stock American accent falters here and there in its execution.  Emily Kinney proves that she can act in something other than The Walking Dead.

Eddie Cahill provides just enough gravitas to his role and Shawn Ashmore proves there is life after The Following.  Merrin Dungey is the “cop” on the team and she brings a certain amount of truth to her character.  Manny Montana gives good angst and determination as Cruz.

The new show is a combination of CSI and soap opera. Team members all seem to have either a subtext, hidden agenda or a dramatic backstory to be learned later.

Even Kinney’s character, who has yet to have a lot of relevant screen time, has a secret that Morrison knows about.

There is quite a bit of forensic testing going on from Cruz and Larson. Investigations in the woods, where the victim was found shot, work well and later the pig experiment mirrors real life forensic science.

A lazy cop, a mother who read her dead daughter’s diary and a newly determined Morrison are all part of this case.  It all comes together in the end with a snap, crackle and pop despite a few false starts and stops along the way.

It will be interesting to see if a crusading and privileged lawyer will catch on with audiences. Atwell is a more than capable actress and if anyone can pull off the silver spoon heroine act, she can.

The formula of Convicted may need to be tweaked here and there but overall it does entertain. At the end of the first episode Hayes Morrison’s cautious enthusiasm is catching.

Atwell and her costars bring a lot to this wrongly convicted table and overall, despite the leanings towards a soap opera subplot, Conviction looks pretty good.

The show airs Mondays on ABC starting 3 October.

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