I just watched the pilot of The Defenders, starring Jim Belushi. Although it’s the same title, I don’t think it’s a remake of the 1961 series The Defenders. The new attorneys aren’t father/son, and I didn’t get the impression from the pilot that the new series intends to focus on exploring important legal complexities.
The pilot was enjoyable. I can’t not love Jim Belushi and he’s great in this character. What surprised me about the episode was that I found myself holding my breath as the bailiff read the verdict. Somehow the show subtly sucked me in and made me care what the jury decided.
The point the show made about the charges was interesting. Presented with charges of murder in the first degree, murder in the second, and voluntary manslaughter, the jury asked the judge if there was a possible fourth charge that would encompass doing something wrong unintentionally. Belushi manipulated the judge into refusing to offer that fourth charge. Belushi’s thinking was that the jury asked for the fourth charge because they didn’t feel they could convict on any of the three offered. By preventing the fourth charge as an option, he was gambling that they would refuse to convict — but the risk was that they might instead settle for convicting on one of the three available charges. I really felt like it could go either way at the end.
I’ll admit I was completely shocked at the end. Frank Sinatra Jr. sounded great, but I never would have recognized him!