Conviction: The Complete Series (2006)

Genre(s): Crime / Drama / Mystery
Universal || NR - 568 minutes - $59.98 || August 22, 2006
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2006-08-26


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Dick Wolf (created by)
Cast: Eric Balfour, Jordan Bridges, Milena Govich, Stephanie March, Anson Mount, Julianne Nicholson, J. August Richards


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 7 Character Profiles


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Synopsis (from DVD back cover): When five young assistant district attorneys enter the world of public justice, they struggle to make sense of their challenging caseloads and equally provocative personal lives. Under the leadership of bureau chief Alex Cabot (Stephanie March), these rookie prosecutors are about to get a crash course in love, life and the law.

Recently I reviewed another cancelled NBC series, ”Surface”, a show with some potential but also one that felt more appropriate as a mini-series. Well, along with “Surface”, NBC also cancelled the latest spin-off from creator Dick Wolf’s popular “Law & Order” franchise. Technically speaking, “Conviction” wasn’t a spin-off in the sense of “Special Victims Unit”, “Criminal Intent” or the short lived “Trial by Jury” as it had its own theme and the focus was more on the D.A.’s office and the personal lives of the prosecutors rather than the actual cases (although those too get some play).

The casting of these young lawyers might one day make people wonder how a show like this didn’t last. I’m not about to say actors like Eric Balfour or Anson Mount will be big stars, but I did find about them because a show in its first season that can show any kind of chemistry, is pretty special. The characters they play are not perfect. For example, Balfour plays Brian Peluso, a hot shot attorney on the rise, but he's also one with a gambling problem. Anson Mount's character, thematically named Jim Steele, gets the job done no matter what lines he might bend to do it.

I was intrigued by “Conviction” not because I’m a fan of “Law & Order” (I only watch “CI” regularly), but because unlike the spin-offs, this one actually tries something different from those. Taking the “Law” out -- there are no regular cops -- leaves time to delve into their lives, office politics and romances and their own personal ethics of the power they yield. Look at this as the “ER” for lawyers...

Not a strong series even compared to others in their rookie years, but I did find the show to be suspenseful, intriguing and most of all, entertaining. Some of the inter-office romances weren’t fully developed but given they probably didn’t see them getting cancelled so soon, I guess I can forgive those things. And therein lies the problem I had and it’s not even the show’s fault.

“Surface” ended (spoiler warning) with the main characters trapped on top of a church staple with no resolution to what happened to the others. The eventual series finale for “Conviction” ends in a 2-part finale that does take a strong lead from the famous “Law & Order” “ripped from the headlines” mold. First part begins with the murder of a college student and the suspect is an ex-con bouncer. Second episode is a hostage negotiation when someone possibly connected to the murder, grabs a guard’s gun... While these episodes were good, they didn’t hold much power with me despite the connection built between the audience and characters.

My biggest complaint, however, comes from the failure to address A.D.A. Alex Cabot’s return. When last we saw her, she had to be placed into the witness protection after her life was threatened by the mob. Well, she’s back and yet there was no storyline (unless I really missed it) that answered what happened. That said, much of the flaws are because of NBC. In terms of the show itself, I did enjoy it and think it had the potential to be a good addition. Unfortunately, NBC placed it on the dreaded Friday night (presumably thinking it could flourish like “SVU” did) and letting it die a quick death before it had a chance to find an audience.

Episode Listing:
Episode 1: Pilot (March 3, 2006)
Episode 2: Denial (March 10, 2006)
Episode 3: Breakup (March 17, 2006)
Episode 4: Indebted (March 24, 2006)
Episode 5: Savasana (March 31, 2006)
Episode 6: Madness (April 7, 2006)
Episode 7: True Love (April 11, 2006)
Episode 8: Downhill (April 14, 2006)
Episode 9: The Wall (April 28, 2006)
Episode 10: Deliverance (May 5, 2006)
Episode 11: Indiscretion (May 12, 2006)
Episode 12: 180.80 (May 19, 2006)
Episode 13: Hostage (May 19, 2006)



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

As per with most of the “Law & Order” sets, “Conviction” has no deleted scenes or anything meaningful.

Character Profiles - Each of the main actors sits in front of the camera to explain their character and how the show is different from the other “Law & Order”s. I won’t go into much detail as each of them are the same, so I’ll leave it at that all of these are skip able and fairly worthless. I don’t know when teach were taped but from how they talk, each sounded like they were trying to sell the audience on the show...



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Unlike the series release of “Trial by Jury”, “Conviction” at least is presented in anamorphic widescreen, 1.78 aspect ratio (of course). The tone of this series seems to be slightly different from the rest. It’s not as dark as “SVU” but not as light as “Criminal Intent”. The visuals are crisp, clean and look rich in many places. From what I could tell, the skin tones and other backgrounds look right on.

The show’s sole track is the standard Dolby Digital 5.1 which brings out vocals and the solid score/music well. This show utilizes source material more so than the score and gives it a certain weight (though at times it reminded me of “Dawson’s Creek”).



.::OVERALL::.

“Conviction” will go down as one of those one-season wonders that those who have seen it wished they’d been given another shot and those who haven’t don’t care either way. I thought it was good enough and actually better than some shows that stay on the air so I do wish NBC had green lit a second season to at least answer some questions.