Hello and welcome to episode 21 of Adventures in Netflix! Today I’ll be talking about the 2001-2003 television show The Guardian.
This week I actually managed to watch the first two episodes of the show I’d chosen, as opposed to the one I normally have time for. Still, that’s a fairly small sample size of a series with three full seasons, so this will only be a first impression style feature as apposed to a review.
The series centers around Nick Fallon (Simon Baker), a young corporate lawyer sentenced to 1500 hours of community service as a child advocate after a drug charge. The first two episodes of The Guardian see Nick adapting to his new life as he struggles to balance his community service and his responsibilities to his father’s firm, at which he is still a full time employee.
The Guardian, like countless legal dramas that have come before and after it, seeks to explore the morality of its characters and the legal system itself. While other courtroom dramas–and indeed dramas in general–can feel a bit heavy handed with their commentary, The Guardian takes a more measured approach. At least as far as the first two episodes were concerned, I never felt like the show was preaching to me, or even asking me a question necessarily, but simply telling a story in which the characters often have to deal with difficult situations.
Nick Fallon himself comes across as a charmingly genuine, if somewhat bleak man, often exhibiting great strength of character, though he becomes visibly cowed in his father’s mere presence. His father (Dabney Coleman), for his part, is archetypically gruff, but but aside from that does not at first appear particularly unpleasant, leading me to wonder if there might be something more to their history.
The actual cases covered in the first two episodes of The Guardian were good, but somewhat unengaging. In the first episode Nick begins representing a young boy named Hunter who had witnessed his father stab his mother to death in their home. This sounds shocking in summery, and it is in the episode, but I just didn’t feel as drawn in as I felt I should have given the quality of the acting and writing. In the second episode, while Nick continues to represent Hunter, James Mooney (Charles Malik Whitfield), his co-worker at Child Services, represents, or tries to, an eleven year old boy whose brother and mom are both in jail for drug related charges. Again, when described this it sounds like gritty, emotional stuff, but it played out in an almost boring way. Maybe I was just in the wrong mood, but the drama failed to resonate with me the way it should have.
All in all The Guardian seems like a decent, well acted, well written show. Maybe not the best of its kind, but worth a try if you’re in the mood for it.