Conviction - This US drama comes across as New Tricks in killer heels
We open on a woman stalking around what appears to be a prison cell.
A pair of killer heels, skinny jeans, a leather jacket, tousled hair – this woman must be a prostitute, picked up by the cops.Ah, here comes the detective, a pair of sensible leather brogues, a well-cut suit, come to give the broad in the cell her Miranda rights.Hang on. Now they’re both on the steps of some public building in a bustling US city, giving some sort of press conference – press conferences in US TV dramas are always on steps outside a big building, never in some crummy conference room with peeling lino and stained ceiling tiles.And the detective is giving the prostitute a top level new job, head of the new Conviction Integrity Unit. Turns outshe isn’t a lady of the night, after all, she’s the daughter of the former president, and a brilliant lawyer, and a university lecturer, and a coke fiend.Welcome to the new US drama Conviction (Sky Living, Wednesdays, 9pm) in which all kinds of unlikely scenarios are played with the kind of seriousness reserved for a Shakespeare tragedy.Pretty much the only convincing thing about it was Brit actress Hayley Atwell’s spotless American accent as the troubled, yet brilliant, former first daughter Hayes Morrison – the woman we first encountered stalking the prison cell.Tough-talking, yet brittle, Hayes is effectively blackmailed by the DA into this new job looking into possible miscarriages of justice – he’ll hide news of her coke bust in return.She gets an implausibly good-looking team of cops, lawyers and scientists to help her and an office with so many glass partitions the Windolene budget would exceed the GDP of Belgium. Hayes, outwardly uncaring, but inwardly sensitive, is poorly drawn, with all sorts of ‘issues’ to work out, and it’s clear from this first episode that she’ll learn ‘valuable lessons’ from each case.It’s formulaic, glossy, unconvincing – basically New Tricks in Christian Louboutin heels and salon sparkling hair. Talking of sparkling, the funniest thing on TV this week was Ed Balls dressed as a mad scientist attempting a cha-cha-cha on Strictly Come Dancing (Saturdays, BBC1). It should be played after the news every night, to remind us that there is a lighter side to the world, after all.