Monday, October 8, 2012

NEW SHOW: Made in Jersey

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

When I decided to try out this show, I mentioned that I was betting hard on the Jersey factor, and hoping that it wouldn't be too procedural (especially for the 9pm Friday slot!). After a couple of episodes, I've decided that the Jersey factor is not a reason to watch this show. Though the Martina character has won my attention, I am not a fan of her family and I think that the whole "street smarts win her cases" thing isn't coming to fruition. Now, I have no background in enjoying criminal television or procedurals. I never got into any of the CSI, NCIS, Law & Order shows - and I'm probably one of the few people who never desired to be a doctor OR a lawyer. So, my interest is already starting to wane on this one, but I'll give it a couple more episodes in case there's a big turnaround coming. Otherwise, it will bite the bullet pretty early... but maybe not for everyone. The pilot came in with 7.82M viewers, and the second round had 6.78M people tuning in, so it's not doing the worst this season!

Made in Jersey "Pilot" (S01E01): Martina starts off by showing no weakness, yelling at a bicyclist who nearly knocked her over in the street. When she arrives at the office, delivering coffee, she goes to the restroom to prepare for a big meeting. What should have been a simple handwash turned into a fashion faux pas when she squirts soap onto her blouse. She removes the blouse, trims her bra, and puts her red jacket back on before heading into the boardroom with a large number of neutral-colored-suit-wearing folks. [I can see how this was supposed to endear us to her, but it didn't do it for me.]

There's a murder trial in the works, with the weapon assumed to be a pair of pliers. Martina speaks up to say that the pliers are used to wriggle into tight pants, and the suspect's nails are perfect - she'd have broken a nail if she had just committed murder with some pliers. After four weeks on the job, Martina becomes third chair on a different murder. She reviews the case on a tablet and then goes to meet the suspect, a college student. Then she tries to trace the steps of the professor on the night he was killed. One of the waitresses doesn't corroborate the professor's alibi, and some investigation looks like he was having an affair with the Dean's wife.

When Martina questions the suspect about the victim, her mind begins to put together a few things, and she uncovers an ongoing ethics situation where the victim was accused of stealing others' work. Some further digging and she may have found out where the victim was earlier the night of the murder - out behind a brasserie. See, her sister notices a "mosquito tone" in the background of the subpoenaed voicemails Martina is listening to, so she takes her to the suspected location, and, sure enough, the sound is present. [can she listen to those on speakerphone with other people around??] Plus, what looked like the suspect's fingerprints in blood are really hers in cheap bleach from hair lightener. [hahaha.] And, the calls to the pharmacist that night make sense from that area if that was where the victim injured his head. Martina impresses the head counsel so much that he lets her question the new witness whom she suspects is the actual murderer during the trial. She is able to get the charges dismissed against their client.
The episode ends with Martina getting a tattoo on her hip of a star that was previous on her keychain. [well, that's one way to make use of the deposit her sister had put down!] 

Made in Jersey "Cacti" (S01E02): Martina has to read "jail mail," and brings one letter to the attention of Donovan, as it's from a former client, Hannah, who had plead insanity to a murder trial eleven years earlier. She now wants out, saying she knows that she wasn't the murderer. She gives way more detail about the night than she did originally, and they want to get her a competency hearing. Martina has some history with Tommy, the DA (a boyfriend from law school), and he later sends her a cactus plant after it looks like they'll be opposing one another. 

At the competency hearing, Martina's rival brings in a great witness who speaks about the drug Hannah is on, as she's only been on it for a year. So, looks like they'll have to go back to showing she's innocent. They have a led confession in a video in which Hannah couldn't reason, and Donovan wants to pursue the case, even though it could get Hannah a few extra years in prison instead. [yikes! what a gamble!] Hannah asks for the trial, the "confession" is thrown out, and Riv goes to several party attendees to ask them what they saw that night. [um, I have a pretty good memory but I'm not sure how much I'd remember about a party that was over a decade ago!] Hannah's mother comes to the law office, and Donovan asks her to bring the party photos. Martina realizes that Hannah doesn't have braids in any of the photos, and when Hannah looks at them, she recognizes a man (Jake) whom Martina and Riv had not identified - he abused her as a young girl. [awww.] The new theory is that the guy showing up unexpectedly threw off Hannah, who told Carl (the victim) about the memories, and he confronted him and was killed. Hannah was then so surprised that she merges the memories together, which is why she remembers herself with braids. [I guess that makes sense?] Martina and Riv talk to the creep's ex-wife, who knew that he was a child abuser and later divorced him because of it. [dang!] She also knew he was the killer. The charges against Hannah are dismissed, and Jake is arrested upon entering the jurisdiction.

Martina goes to a bar to help out one of her sisters, and convinces her to invite him to a family dinner. [they've only been on four dates and he's meeting the family?? is Martina bringing a laundry basket to the city?] Martina's mother asks her to get a background check on her sister's new guy, but the problem with him ends up being that he's just "too cultured" to be compatible with Bonnie. [#firstworldproblems, much?] 
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