'The Firm': Let's hope it will improve

In the new NBC series, "The Firm," Josh In the new NBC series, "The Firm," Josh Lucas is seen as Mitch McDeere. Photo Credit: NBC/

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REVIEW

DRAMA PREMIERE "The Firm"

WHEN | WHERE Previews Sunday at 9-11 p.m. on NBC/4. Moves into its regular Thursday-at-10 p.m. time slot next week.

REASON TO WATCH Based on the 1991 page-turner (and 1993 movie starring Tom Cruise) that launched the Grisham express.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Having taken down his mobbed-up employer, Bendini, Lambert & Locke, attorney Mitchell McDeere (Josh Lucas, "The Lincoln Lawyer") went into a witness protection-based life-on-the-run with wife Abby (Molly Parker) and young daughter in tow. Now 10 years later, they've left the program, settling in Washington, D.C., where he's got his own small firm. His ex-con older brother, Ray (Callum Keith Rennie), is his investigator, and Tammy (Juliette Lewis) is his sassy assistant.

As always, Mitch is principled -- and hungry. He needs dough, badly, so is somewhat interested when an old pal makes him an offer to join his big, prestigious firm. Meanwhile, Mitch gets a bad blast from the past. The mob boss he helped put away so long ago has a 25-year-old punk son with a taste for vengeance.

MY SAY Are you just a little bit like me? Awaiting that glorious day when NBC reclaims its birthright as home for great dramas, or at the very least reclaims a scrap of dignity after its abysmal fall? Over two hours Sunday, a convincing case is made that we may be forced to wait, alas, a little bit longer. "The Firm" is not so much a two-hour pilot as a prison sentence. It's tedium, all gummed up by implausible plot twists, diabolically dopey dialogue, and other assorted bits of hooey.

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But there is hope! "The Firm" will head to Thursdays starting Jan. 12, where it will be forced to shed the blobs of fat. Plus, with Lucas' baby blues, and Rennie's (and Parker's) talent, we may actually learn to care about Mitch again.

BOTTOM LINE Silly, but let's take the glass half-full approach. There's nowhere to go but up.

GRADE C-

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