The Good Cop Episode 1
The Good Cop is a new series on Netflix, from creator Andy Breckman (Monk). It stars Tony Danza as Tony Sr. and Josh Groban as Tony Jr (TJ) as a father and son in an odd couple type comedy. All episodes were released on September 21st and this review is for the first episode “Who Framed the Good Cop?” Spoilers ahead!
The show opens with TJ at a firing range, hitting his targets with precise accuracy. Sgt. Chet Finch tells him that he scored a range record and it was much higher than his father ever scored. TJ suggests that his father probably cheated. TJ is then sitting in a car with his father at a red light. His father tries to convince him that the light is broken and they should go, but TJ does not move. “What do think? Running this red light will turn you into me?” Opening Credits (sung by Tony Danza).
Immediately from the opening scene, we get a glimpse of the father/son dynamic between TJ and Tony. These trust issues and the theme of not wanting to be like his father are prevalent throughout the first episode. We also see that Tony knows he wasn’t the best father, but it seems like he wants to make an attempt to fix that.
The Apple Fell Very Far From The Tree
TJ gets ready for work and his father is cooking him breakfast. When he notices the sugar packets on the table are from IHOP, he refuses to use them. His father protests that it’s just a sugar packet, but TJ still refuses. (Come on, TJ! It’s a simple sugar packet!) He just refuses to do anything close to breaking the law. “You break one rule, they all break.” This is a quote from his mother, and seems to be TJs mantra. Because he wears the uniform, he feels it is his duty to be the role model, especially since his father was not.
When TJ arrives on scene, he meets up with Detective Burl Loomis (Isiah Whitlock Jr), who is sleeping in his car. Almost childlike, TJ asks, “What if someone catches you?” Close to retirement, Loomis doesn’t seem to care. They go to examine the body, careful to avoid a poison sumac bush, and realize they know who he was. Jack Livingston. He agreed to testify against Tony Sr. and the other officers, which helped put Tony behind bars. Now, two months after Tony’s release, Jack is found dead.
Cora (Monica Barbaro), Tony’s parole officer, visits him at his house where a brand new flat screen TV is being delivered. When she asks for a receipt and he can’t provide one, she tells Tony’s friend to take it away. She hits him with a dish towel (like mom would do). This behavior struck me as odd. We haven’t seen enough of their relationship to see that it is normal conduct for these characters. Granted, they have known each other for two months – maybe longer, if they worked together – but this is the audience’s introduction to her. We don’t have that “family” type feeling yet. Right now, all we know is that she is helping him get back on the right track and he isn’t giving up his old habits.
Later that night, TJ tells his father that it was Jack’s body that they found and that Tony Sr. is on the list of suspects. Since Jack was abducted, suffocated, drugged and then shot, Tony suggests looking at the wife since it sounds personal.
Back at the precinct, we meet more of the homicide team. For a show that is based heavily on a theme of family, the homicide “team” that TJ is part of feels like it is missing that family element. These are your partners, your brothers, and that whole sense of comradery between officers is missing. This motley crew will certainly bring in the laughs, but that family sense is not there yet.
The team looks at the autopsy and realize that Jack was shot post mortem. Loomis asks what TJ’s father thinks. When he says to look at the wife, Loomis agrees. Even though Tony has spent time in jail, we see that he is still respected on the force. I enjoyed this moment, when we got to see both TJ and Loomis ask what Tony thought.
The captain walks in with ballistic reports that show the bullets came from TJ’s gun. Now the list of suspects was reduced to TJ and Tony still remains on the list, since TJs gun is left unattended when he sleeps.
When TJ returns home for the night, Tony inconspicuously begins to search him for a wire. TJ realizes what he is doing and shows him that he is not wearing one. Again, we see the trust issues between our two main characters. It seems like these two put being a cop first and family second. This doesn’t mean that they don’t love each other though. We see throughout the episode how much Tony loves his son. Will this trust start to build as the series progresses?
The next morning, TJ goes to the funeral for Jack. He notices Chet Finch scratching his leg and that Chet has become really close to Donna Livingston, Jack’s widow.
Meanwhile, Tony decides to confess to the murder, so that TJ isn’t sent to jail. When TJ visits him, he tells his father that he believes Chet Finch is the murderer. Since Chet has a poison sumac rash which places him at the scene, and a motive, he is a likely fit. One thing didn’t make sense though, how he got hold of TJ’s gun.
Later that night, TJ realizes the pattern of the bullet holes on Jack’s chest, match the pattern of bullet holes he fired at the range. Chet hid Jack’s body behind the target at the range. Now the mystery is solved. He runs the scenario by Cora and they go to the firing range to check the pattern; it matches. Chet follows them there and begins firing at them. A chase ensues and Chet is finally captured.
Since the killer was caught, Tony was released from jail and TJ picks him up. They sit at the same broken light as they were in the beginning and Tony tells him that it’s still broken. TJ still doesn’t go through it. Old habits…. End Credits.
Overall, this was an enjoyable introduction to the series. There is always an abundance of information in the first episode for audiences to process and they handled it smoothly. They showed us the complicated (and quite comical) relationship between father and son and what it means to be family. I just wished they showed the “family” aspect of the squad better and built up a relationship between Cora and Tony before we see her snapping towels at him. Let us know your thoughts!
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