The "deep end" of the title refers to the shark-infested law firm into which four young lawyers are thrown without so much as a pair of water wings to support them. The newbies include a cutie-pie idealist named Dylan, the mousy little Addy, an ambitious knockout named Beth, and an Aussie horndog named Liam. (There's a fifth, but he just shows up for a few seconds, so we'll deal with him later.) They're all given cases that push them to the edge in one way or another. Dylan is given a pro-bono case that ends up conflicting with the firm's money-grubbing interests. He wants to do the right thing but nearly compromises his morals by giving a seemingly nasty but wealthy surrogate mother custody of a boy who is actually her grandson, until the lawyer who recruited him gives him the courage to do the right thing. Beth swallows her morals and lets an old man with Alzheimer's sign away his company because it's what the firm wants. Liam lets a prospective client think he's Jewish in order to connect with her, but his uncircumcised penis cannot tell a lie. Mousy Addy, for her part, is nearly fired until she stands up for herself and gets put on some asbestos case that she's been itching to join.
Then there are the grownups, who are possibly even more of a mess than the kiddies. There's Cliff, who's a philandering shark with an eye toward taking over the firm. Susan, his wife and another lawyer with the firm, has figured out he's cheating on her, but seems rather pragmatic about it. Beth's dad is a lawyer with a competing firm and seems to enjoy verbally destroying his daughter because she dared to have moral qualms. Hart Sterling, the firm's founder, has been absent for some reason, but is determined to take back his baby from sharky Cliff, no matter how many pissing matches it takes. Then there's Rowdy, the recruiter who brought in all the newbies, and who seems like a douche but will probably end up being one of the more interesting characters as his loyalties are torn between Cliff and Hart.
Somewhere in there is a mini-plot about Dylan starting up something with a paralegal who's just broken up with her boyfriend. The boyfriend, naturally, turns out to be Cliff, who shows up to ring the doorbell just as the paralegal and Dylan are basking in the afterglow.
Long story short: There are a lot of damn people and plots on this show and I can't keep them straight yet.
Welcome to the show everyone is calling Grey's Anatomy With Lawyers. Is this unfair to The Deep End? Unfair to Grey's? Perhaps it's an even draw. Let's find out, shall we?
Several lawyer babies are being interviewed for first-year positions at the swanky Los Angeles firm of Sterling, Huddle, Oppenheim & Craft. The young hopefuls' names are helpfully displayed beneath their dewy faces, along with what law school they graduated from. There's Dylan Hewitt from Columbia, Addy Fisher from Case Western Reserve, Beth Branford from Stanford, and Liam Priory from Cambridge. Dylan and Addy are super gung-ho about truth and justice and helping people. Beth and Liam are also idealistic but more practical and personally ambitious, with Beth touting her family's legal pedigree and Liam admitting he wants to meet women. They're all in major debt for their educations, except Beth, whose family practically owns Stanford. Dylan, having apparently been offered a position, says he has to think about it. Finally we see who's been on the other end of interviewing process, and it's a slick little guy of 40 or so with hair that looks like it was carefully grown in a lab. He has a Southern accent that comes and go and I'll just get this one absurdity out of the way right now and tell you his name is Rowdy. He sells the opportunity to the newbies as a position of prestige, since they only accept four first-year associates to nurture and groom and call their very own. He looks immensely pleased with himself, so either the spray tan he's been sniffing has hit the pleasure center of his brain or the quartet have accepted their offers.
It's three months later, as the title card tells us. Dylan is just arriving at the firm and Clancy Brown's name comes up on the screen, making me clap dorkily for a moment. Rowdy intercepts him at the reception desk, annoyed that Dylan is ten days late. This is a shock to Dylan, who tries to show Rowdy a letter telling him to show up on the tenth, rather than the first of the month. Rowdy tears up the letter and warns the little guppy that he'll have to deal with the Prince of Darkness now. As Rowdy's little legs carry him off-screen, Dylan runs into Beth, who gives him a dose of Wake Up And Get Real. He shouldn't expect the nurturing he was promised; instead, the first-years are expected to "perform flawlessly." Speaking of performing flawlessly, Liam is in the office into which Beth and Dylan have just walked, where he's just about to get it on with Beth's secretary. His pants are down around his ankles, exposing him as a boxers man. Liam and his Australian accent shake hands with Dylan and only then does he pull his pants up. Hope you brought hand sanitizer with you, Dylan. Addy bursts into the office at this point, looking for help from Liam for something. She's introduced to Dylan. She worries about making a mistake on her brief and they all worry about the wrath of the Prince of Darkness.