This review contains spoilers!
So I thought that among the old shows I should review one that is brand new and just debuted its first episode. And the show, as you might have guessed, is “Conviction” starring Hayley Atwell, Eddie Cahill, Shawn Ashmore, Emily Kinney, Merrin Dungey, Manny Montana and Daniel Franzese among others. My initial thoughts? It’s exciting, intriguing, fun, unapologetically controversial and playing the long game when it comes to all the plotlines that will be featured on it.
The show is called “Conviction” and its title is pretty spot on, if you ask me. Not only it is short and to the point, but it also reflects the essence of the show – that the team is working on proving that certain people are wrongly convicted and that the title character Hayes Morrison now has her conviction in finally doing something right.
Speaking of Hayes, I was very pleasantly surprised how she was written and portrayed by Hayley Atwell. I love Hayley as an actress, ever since “Captain America: The First Avenger” and the “Agent Carter” series, because she plays brilliantly smart, strong, independent, witty female characters so well. And Hayes is all that wrapped in an over confident don’t care attitude. I am all for more of these types of characters being on TV and showing that you don’t have to always be the quiet or shy girl, rather you can be bold, confident and speak your mind. Yes, I know there are multiple characters like that on TV right now or have been in the past, and that’s great, but Hayes stands out to me because of two reasons. First, she knows how to speak, how to act and how to look, and she isn’t afraid to use it. It was established on the show very early on that she is the daughter of former POTUS and that she grew up in the spotlight which means that she probably was trained in all of these things, but the way she goes from Hayes to the perfect former first daughter in just a matter of seconds when a camera or people’s attention is on her or she wants to be perceived in some specific way is something very exciting to see and makes me wonder what other layers there are to Hayes. Second, she doesn’t take lightly to blackmail and better goes out and says the things that she is being blackmailed for out loud for everyone to hear, even if that means that she will be judged, then to give somebody the ability to control her by holding something over her. Blackmail has long been a tool for TV show and movie makers to make their characters do things they wouldn’t usually do, but in Hayes’s case she fights that with brutal honesty, because it is better to be judged and perceived one way, which you can control, than to be blackmailed which you cannot.
And pair all that Hayes is with the confident attitude of Conner Wallace (played by CSI: New York’s detective Don Flack himself Eddie Cahill) and you get an explosive chemistry and the ultimate will-they-won’t-they situation. On top of the crazy good chemistry that they have, the way they know how to play each other and manipulate each other into getting the other to do something they want is exciting. From the very first scene in the holding cell to the end scene where she tells him that she is coming after his cases, too, you just feel the tension and the power match that they are having. And I feel like that, besides the character of Hayes itself, will be one of the most entertaining parts of the show.
But “Conviction” isn’t the legal drama that it is from only two characters, no, there are five additional integral characters, without whom it would be very hard to build the story for this show. Four of them make up Hayes’s team and the fifth is Hayes brother. The mix of different characters and their different backgrounds in the Conviction Integrity Unit makes it fun and exciting, because you as a viewer know that the characters will have different opinions, which are about to clash. As of right now no one of the CIU’s team really stood out to me, because they all seemed equally layered and interesting, each in a different way, but I guess we will just have to watch and see if that changes. And then there is Daniel Franzese who plays Hayes’s brother Jackson. I know, I might be a little biased towards him since I loved him in both “Mean Girls” and “Recovery Road”, but it was so nice to see him on the screen again and to also see that Hayes does have a real support system that she can turn to and that will not only hear her out but will also make her see reason.
And lastly I wanted to also touch a little bit on the way the premiere episode of the show was shot. I absolutely love the visual style of the show. Starting at the very beginning with the cut scenes between the holding cell and the press conference, to the dark scene in Conner’s office where Hayes pretends to snort cocaine, to the glamourous feeling of the fundraiser, the shots were very well done, clean, yet somehow visually interesting and noticeable. And I truly hope that the visual style of the show lasts, as does the show itself.
Highlights of the episode:
• Hayes character and Hayley Atwell playing her
• Hayes and Conner
• The shows visual style
• Hayes’s conversation with her mother
Let-downs of the episode:
• A bit unnecessary victim chase scene in the woods
• Hayes’s comment about her boobs when she and Maxine were talking to Detective McNally
Quote of the episode:
Maxine: I did not vote for your father.
Hayes: Me neither.