Monday, March 19, 2012

Classic David E. Kelley character stuff.

The latest episode of Harry's Law reminded why I used to love watching David Kelley's shows back in the day.

Well, to be completely honest, this episode wasn't necessarily that great but it nevertheless had certain elements that other writers and showrunners aren't able to incorporate into their own shows. For one reason or another anyway.

What I mean by this is that Kelley has the ability to come up with ideas that are simple and yet at the same time remarkably effective. His ideas are psychologically axiomatic, whereas others tend to come up with ideas that are convoluted and derivative ..and perhaps even non-existent.

For example, the episode that aired on Sunday had a character who suffered from delusions and was institutionalized. So Harry meets this person, doesn't really want to believe what the guy is saying and even asks whether he has taken his meds as he's supposed to.

Of course this doesn't seem that interesting. That is until the guy tells us that he's aware of being delusional and that, yes, he has to take his medication. But even though he might he delusional about everything else, he's not delusional about this case, he says. So Harry needs to help him, otherwise justice won't be served.

Now, I don't know about you but at least to me this was exactly what writing is supposed to be about. We're supposed to create these underdog characters and 'one time' situations that give the audience a reason to give a damn about the story. There was a rooting interest here and it paid off nicely.

Kelley's Emmy winning series 'The Practice' probably did it better than any other show. I mean, I can still remember the lawyer who could never win a case, the cancer researcher who became an alcoholic after losing his most important trial and the old lawyer who wanted to win one more time before becoming incapacitated.

Those were awesome episodes that I can watch again and again. The premise was almost too simple in these cases. Well, almost. Because in the end there was nothing wrong about making it that way.

The truth is that just because your storyline isn't complex doesn't necessarily mean that it's bad and that it's going to suck. In fact, most of the time it's the other way around. Usually simple turns out to be good, honest, beautiful and real.

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