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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Goliath on Amazon: Law Drama as it's Meant to be Seen

David Kelley - who created L. A.  Law, The Practice, and so many excellent law shows over the years - has checked in with a powerhouse on Amazon, eight episodes of bruising, exquisite law stripped to the bone or the soul or whatever your deepest buttons in a streaming series that pulls out stops you've never quite seen on any kind of law show on television.

Goliath flatly could not have been done on network television.  It might have been done on a cable, but watching it all at once or at least three or four episodes at a time added to the effect, and likely was even essential to this story.   Indeed, the closest cinematic narrative to Goliath was literally in cinema, The Verdict in 1982, staring Paul Newman as a down-and-out attorney who takes on a huge corporation represented by a mega law firm.   I saw that movie in one sitting, too, and loved it.

Indeed, The Verdict and Goliath also have the similarity of high-wattage star power.  Billy Bob Thornton as the David-like attorney in Goliath is not Paul Newman - who is? - but Thornton is one superb actor, having last distinguished himself on television in Fargo.  And the bad Goliath attorney is played by William Hurt, in of the best performances of his life, even more memorable than James Mason as the big corporate attorney in The Verdict.

But enough with comparisons.   Goliath has a pressingly relevant story about a big U.S. arms manufacturer, and outstanding characters including the judge and supporting lawyers all over the place.

If you like law drama realistically portrayed - and given that my father was a lawyer, I especially do - give yourself a treat and see Goliath.   But don't drink too much coffee or tea beforehand, you'll get all the stimulation you'll need on the screen.

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