Memphis Beat, TNT's resident cop show, had its second season premiere last night. But unlike many season openers, the episode didn't feel like a big "We're Back!" announcement -- because Memphis Beat doesn't really announce anything.
Most shows have a driving force -- a certain pace that helps to create drama. Even shows like White Collar, Covert Affairs and Royal Pains have an urgency to them. That's how TV goes! But that's not how the Memphis Beat goes on. It's completely unconcerned with pacing.
I have a thing for quirky cop shows. The Unusuals, Raines, Justified, The Closer, the D'Onofrio-era Criminal Intent... If there's an unusual cop tracking down a criminal, I'm on the case. So when I heard that My Name is Earl star Jason Lee was going to be playing a Memphis police detective who sang in nightclubs at night, I knew I had to see it. I wasn't sure that Lee had the gravitas to pull off a cop role, since Earl was a light-hearted fairy tale and most of his most famous film roles have been of the "talkative man-child" variety, but I was certainly rooting for him to prove himself. And while I'm not entirely sure that he did (yet), the show itself is a entertaining Southern cop drama with moments of levity, which puts it somewhere between Justified and... well, My Name is Earl. And since I liked Earl, that's good news in my book.
Fans of Jason Lee, the city of Memphis and old-school cop shows rejoice -- Memphis Beat is nearly here. The My Name is Earl star has taken on the new role of Detective Dwight Hendricks, a Memphis cop with a deep appreciation for the city and its musical heritage. How deep? He also performs on stage at night, crooning Elvis tunes. But this isn't Cop Rock -- this is a new crime drama on TNT, with a light-and-dark mix of gritty real crime and quirky character exploration. To find out more about the show's origins and destination, we talked to the creators and head writers, Liz Garcia and Joshua Harto, who also happen to be married.
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Ryan Phillippe is the new Julian Assange.
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