'King & Maxwell' review: Not much to defend

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Jon Tenney and Rebecca Romijn in TNT's private

Jon Tenney and Rebecca Romijn in TNT's private eye drama "King and Maxwell." (June 10, 2013) Photo Credit: TNT

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THE SHOW "King & Maxwell"

WHEN | WHERE Premieres Monday night at 10 on TNT

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WHAT IT'S ABOUT Michelle Maxwell (Rebecca Romijn) has brains, beauty, brawn and enough smarts to find her way around Washington, D.C. She's also a former Secret Service agent who has a few other tricks and skills that make her an ideal private investigator -- except her partner, Sean King (Jon Tenney, "The Closer") has a style that doesn't quite gel with hers. He's neat. She's not so neat. She exercises. He doesn't. Also a former Secret Service agent, he had to leave the service after the presidential candidate he was protecting was assassinated. In the first installment, an old colleague, a defense lawyer, is murdered while investigating an accused serial killer. The series is based on characters created by David Baldacci.

MY SAY "King & Maxwell" is a cop show where everything has been thrown into a blender and -- after a few minutes on high -- is ready to be poured down the throat of the viewer. The dialogue's preposterous, the plot ludicrous, and the premise as fresh as a wrung-out old mop. But whether the viewer violently rejects this concoction or settles in for what could be a long and unchallenging run on TNT this summer will depend entirely on Tenney and Romijn's chemistry. It's not bad even if the show is. Tenney is flat-out likable, always has been, and here gives the impression of someone who isn't sure whether to laugh out loud or play it straight. It's about as broad a wink an actor can convey to an audience without actually winking. His performance manages to sand over Romijn's famously sharp edges, making her more likable. If only they had material that effectively exploited this.

BOTTOM LINE Preposterous dialogue, moldy premise, ludicrous plot are mitigated by the leads.


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