Bad Judge centres on Rebecca Wright (Kate Walsh) balancing her tough professional life as a judge and her wild personal life.
In my promo review for Bad Judge I stated that I thought it would be a guilty pleasure. Turned out I was right. Whilst it isn’t the best pilot I’ve seen this fall, it’s fun, witty and entertaining. I love a show that can really make you think but sometimes it’s nice just to sit back, relax and laugh. I think this is a show you can do that to.
Kate Walsh plays Rebecca, the bad judge in question and you get the feeling she truly relishes the role. For me, her character’s personality and interactions with others are the best things about this pilot, a credit to both Walsh and the writers. I recently wrote an article on how people love flawed characters on televisions and she is a prime example of that. She is reckless, irresponsible and very childish, and yet she is instantly loveable. All I could think throughout the pilot was “I want to be friends with this woman”. To make a lead character so likeable in the pilot is no easy feat so I have to applaud the show for this. Often it’s the secondary characters that have the funniest lines but Walsh scoops them all up in the pilot with classics like “Excuse me, I had wine and cake for breakfast” and “You think I’m a grown up?” Walsh, known for her more serious roles on Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, really seems to be in her element in a comedic role and it shows in her performance.
As for supporting characters we have Miguel Sandoval and John Ducey playing Judge Hernandez and Tom respectively, the thorns in Rebecca’s side. The exchanges between Rebecca and Tom make for entertaining viewing and I’m sure their antagonistic relationship will continue. The hilarious Ryan Hansen, who I’m a huge fan of and so slightly bias towards, plays romantic interest Gary Boyd. If you’ve seen Hansen in anything you’ll know he’s more than capable of doing comedy, this role should be just right for him. However I do feel in the pilot that he wasn’t given as much of a comedy role as the others, focusing more on the sexual relationship between him and Rebecca. Hopefully he’ll get a chance to show more of what he can do in future episodes, it’d be a waste not to use such a talented actor. The person that nearly beats Walsh for standout performance of the pilot is Tone Bell who plays her colleague Tedward. His constant observations on Rebecca’s life are hilarious and the interactions between the two even more so. He was just so effortlessly funny, definitely the one to watch in future episodes.
The only negative thing I would have to say is that at times the episode felt a little disjointed. Sometimes I just felt like they were flitting from scene to scene without much flow. Luckily the show was funny enough that it didn’t affect my enjoyment of it. Also the disjointed problem may be due to the recent cast and showrunner changes so the series may still be finding its feet. As long as it can fix this in the forthcoming episodes it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
What I really love about the show is that for all Rebecca’s hilarious one liners and wild antics she is actually really caring and protective to those who need it and will go above and beyond to help people. I think it’s very important that the character have that layer to her. The writers have really written these characters well and each actor gives a strong performance in their roles. Combine that with the pure comedy gold this show delivers and NBC might have a winner on its hands.