Notorious: True Life as Fiction (Review)


ABC has included Notorious to is fall schedule. Starring Piper Perabo and Daniel Sunjata the show is inspired by the real life relationship between criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos and the award-winning cable newsproducer Wendy Walker. Incidentally, Walker is acting as executive producer for this new series.

Walker, who was Larry King’s producer for years,  worked with Geragos to not only break news but to craft it.  These  two influenced  some of the world’s most infamous news stories.

In Notorious, King has been replaced with a woman; Louise Herrick (Kate Jennings Grant). Walker has become Julia George (Perabo) and Geragos is Jake Gregorian (Sunjata). The first episode also features Jake’s brother Bradley (played by J. August Richards).

The first episode features a hit and run, allegedly committed by a “dot com”  businessman.  Oscar Keaton (Kevin Zegers) is a success in the social media world and he is in a stand off with the police at the beginning of the episode. 

Through the course of the show, his wife is murdered and now the case has taken on a new significance.

Julia and Jake work together behind the scenes to “make” the news go in the direction of their choosing.  Presumably these fictional representations of Walker and Geragos are merely aping what happened in the real world.

George is the power behind “Louise Herrick Live” (LHL),  hers is the voice on the other end of that earpiece and it is Julia who manipulates facts to fit their story.  Although Louise can and does run with a story when she senses the time is right. Gregorian is the willing partner in this creation of news to order.  He represents Keaton and is juggling facts as furiously as George.

Other series regulars include Aimee Teagarden as Ella Benjamin, Ryan Guzman as Ryan Mills and  Sepideh Moafi as Megan Byrd.  Marc Blucas plays  Julia’s boyfriend/fiancé who is a newly appointed judge and a bit of a player. 

The chemistry between Perabo and Sunjata is good, it is easy to believe that these two have a working friendship that is built on necessity and mutual attraction of talents.  Just as Walker and Geragos must have seemed in the real world.

The story in the opening episode may  not be based on hard  fact or, if it is, has been altered “to protect the innocent.”  Perabo’s character, the fictionalized Walker, gives the impression that this job is an addiction for her.  Julia George loves the thrill of the chase and beating every other network to the punch.

Sunjata plays Geragos as George’s ethereal twin. He too loves the rush of battle but savors the win and using the news to shape the headlines and his client’s outcome. It is a perfect pairing and each actor plays their role impeccably.

On a sidenote: It was brilliant to see the excellent Marc Blucas again.

While the pilot episode is entertaining, it has one heck of an open ending,  it will be interesting to see how long this new series runs. It may prove difficult to keep coming up with clients that do not come near any real life personalities that Walker and Geragos “managed.”

Notorious looks polished and snappy. The pace is quick, as it should be, and offers the viewer some entertaining characters.  It may be influenced by  real people but being  based in fiction may have a hard time delivering each week.

The series premieres 22  September  on ABC.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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