Rosewood: Morris Chestnut Killing It Again (Review)

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Coming late to the Rosewood party, it has to be said up front that Morris Chestnut is killing it…again. The first time Chestnut worked his magic was as the uber annoying Tony Rice in the Sean Bean vehicle Legends.  That Morris has chops to spare has been proven on TNT with his character being the only one, apart from Bean’s, to return to the second season of the series. Now, on Fox, Chestnut has the title role in a mystery/crime drama  which has a huge dose of humor.

The show is listed as being a drama, mystery, crime mix but the humor apparent in the show is not mentioned. Granted this is not laugh out loud moments of mirth, but it is funny, because Dr. Rosewood Jr. (Chestnut) is a witty and amusing man. It says a lot for the show’s writers that one can step into the season at episode 106 and “get it.”

Rosewood’s incessant assault on Villa (Jaina Lee Ortiz, which includes a brilliant Dr. Seuss reference, after they have a falling out over his “relationship” with her therapist Kat (Nicole Ari Parker) is funny and clever and witty.

It is also touching.

The plot of Rosewood: Policies and Ponies has Villa’s boss, and Rosewood’s friend, Captain Ira Hornstock (Domenick Lombardozzi) being framed for the murder of one of his ex-wives.  Despite the fact that Ira feels like he should be played by Dean Norris, Lombardozzi has a sort of grizzled charm that makes the role just as quirky as the rest of the characters in the show.

If there is one complaint about Rosewood,  it would be its seeming attempt  to be all things to all people. Rosewood’s sister is gay and her fiancé works with her at the family business.  His mother and father are going to get divorced and Hornstock has been married multiple times with a slew of kids.

Regardless of the show’s creator appearing to cater to a large and very diverse  demographic, it is Chestnut’s Rosewood Jr.  pathologist extraordinaire that sells this show. His professional man is glib, witty, and articulate.  He is also sincere.  Morris Chestnut sells his character with scary ease and the rest of the cast do have to struggle to match his adept performance.

The plot twist in this episode was clever and, like the rest of the show, funny.  Captain Hornstock’s murdered ex-wife, who came to borrow money from him just before she was killed, wanted the money to pay for a hit she had put out on him.  Hornstock’s former wife expected her ex to pay for his own murder.

An added twist was that when she could not come up with the money for her hitman, she is murdered by the man she hired.

Gabrielle Dennis, as Rosewood’s sister Pippy, she also works with him in the pathology lab, is a great performer who exudes a natural believability and she is impressive in her role. The chemistry between her and the other actors is spot on.

The lines for this show are just brilliant as is the chemistry between Chestnut and Ortiz. For example, after dissing Rosewood and Hornstock by referring to them as “playing Cagney and Lacey,” Dr. Rosewood responds:

“Really? Really? “Cagney & Lacey”? Really?

Villa: “Relax. You’re Cagney.

Rosewood: “I want to be Lacey.”

Rosewood is an excellent mix of humor and story. Amusing, intelligent and perhaps trying that little bit too hard, the show works nonetheless.  Morris Chestnut proves that he has got some impressive chops and he is not afraid to use them.

The series airs Wednesdays  on FOX, tune in and enjoy the hell out of this cleverly written and presented crime show.