Pilot Perception: Ironside

Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.

The Show: Ironside, NBC in the U.S. and Global TV in Canada, Wednesdays at 10/9c

The Pedigree: This is an update of the 1960s-70s show Ironside, created by Collier Young. This version was written by Michael Caleo (The Sopranos), who executive produces with Teri Weinberg (The Tudors), John Davis (Chronicle), Ron West (Man Up!), David Semel (No Ordinary Family), and John Fox. The pilot was directed by Peter Horton (Grey’s Anatomy).

The Cast & How You Know Them: Ironside stars Blair Underwood (L.A. Law), Brent Sexton (The Killing), Pablo Schreiber (Orange Is the New Black), Spencer Grammer (Greek), Neal Bledsoe (Smash), and Kenneth Choi (Sons of Anarchy).

The Premise: Detective Robert Ironside is one of the toughest cops in the NYPD, even though he’s now in a wheelchair after being shot on the job. He and his hand-picked team of detectives solve the city’s most difficult crimes.

A Taste:

What Works: Blair Underwood does a really impressive job in the lead role here, showing Ironside’s underlying anger and frustration along with his brilliance and competence. They did a good job of making it clear that Ironside’s injury caused huge changes in his life without making it seem like the only important thing about his character. The rest of the cast is solid as well, and enough hints were given about their characters’ backstories that I’m eager to learn more. I like that the “special team” concept means the characters have an excuse to take their pick of cases rather than being tied to one precinct.

What Doesn’t: The actual investigation in the pilot was good, but not particularly fascinating or unusual, so the show will have to work to distinguish itself from any number of other case of the week procedurals. And I found the subplot about Ironside’s former partner to be less compelling than the rest of the show.

Our Favorite Line: “What happened to you? Are you really gonna let one bullet take us both out?”

You Might Like This if you like procedurals that tend toward the more serious side, with complicated characters. It reminded me a bit of Luther.

If You’re Interested: Ironside premieres tonight (Wednesday, October 2nd) on NBC and Global TV at 10/9c.

(Photo courtesy of NBC.)

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