Are we done yet with fake documentaries?
Maybe, but that didn’t stop NBC from giving us Trial & Error.
Larry Henderson appears to have murdered his wife Margaret. He says he didn’t do it, but he has a habit of saying or doing things that sure do suggest the opposite. His brother-in-law, the richest man in East Peck, South Carolina where the show takes place, opts to hire a lawyer from the Northeast (wink wink) to represent Larry in court, which brings in idealistic Josh, a recent law school grad from New York City. Josh is laying the ground work for his boss, a big time lawyer, that soon becomes Josh’s own case when Larry’s brother-in-law changes his mind about paying for the defense. Why? I’m not sayin’.
Josh, meanwhile, has decided to stay in town and prove Larry is innocent. Since the entire town is arrayed against him, Josh’s only support comes from his investigator Dwayne, a one-time East Peck cop and stereotypical dumb redneck; Larry’s daughter Summer, who may or may not be adopted; and researcher Anne, a sweet-tempered woman with a wide variety of odd medical conditions ranging from dyslexia to an inability to recognize faces. Josh may be in over his head as he neither understands East Peck, a town where cannons are fired off twice a day to recognize a Civil War moment when no one knows if the event occurred in AM or PM, nor may he be able to handle ambitious prosecutor Carol Anne and her habits of courthouse ruthlessness and dropping double entendres.
And through it all, Larry, played by the great John Lithgow, seems to be a sweet man oblivious to his own fate.
The series acts as both a murder mystery with plenty of suspects and a fantastic fish-out-of-water comedy as Josh tries to figure out this weird town he’s suddenly working out of. Both he and Carol Anne have high stakes in the case. Josh may lose his job in New York if Larry is found guilty. Carol Anne needs the victory in court and the resulting execution (possibly by feeding Larry to a bear) to sew up her chances of winning a local elected office. And there’s even a chance Larry did it.
Actually, the final episode of this thirteen episode run did reveal the killer. I was pleasantly surprised and amused, especially as it was the first time Margaret’s face was shown and revealed a surprise guest star.
Try this one out. If you dug Parks and Recreation, you’ll probably dig Trial & Error. Nine out of ten law offices connected to a taxidermist’s shop.