Netflix has a new show called The Good Cop starring Tony Danza and Josh Groban. Danza is hit or miss, but Groban has a following for his singing and, well, being himself, even if he doesn’t have huge acting chops in his background. Plus it’s Netflix, not a broadcast show, and the economics are completely different. So I predicted RENEWAL, sight unseen.
Now that I’ve seen the first episode, I’m retracting that prediction. The show’s premise is that Danza plays the dad who went to jail for 7 years for being a corrupt cop. Which he was. Unapologetic about it too. His son, Groban, went the other way — the Boy Scout who never breaks a rule, never takes a gift, won’t use a sugar packet from a restaurant, won’t go through a broken red light and instead prefers to “give it a minute”. In other words, “The Good Cop”.
So here’s where it gets weird. The son is a detective, and it will be the “case of the week” for plots, no problem there. Apparently back in the day, his father was a pretty ace detective himself, so the son will consult Dad on the approach to the cases. Which is easy because they’re living together. Fine, no real problem yet.
In the first episode, spoiler alert, an asshat cop gets whacked, and Dad is the obvious suspect. Until ballistics come back and they show that the bullets were fired from the son’s gun, which never leaves his person, even in the shower (it’s on the sink). So here are the two apparent options…either Dad, who hated the cop, borrowed the son’s gun and whacked the guy in the stupidest way possible (since the bullets are tagged), or the son, on behalf of Dad perhaps, killed the cop. Okay, now we have a problem.
But the real problem is that the detective is such a boy scout that it’s like watching paint dry. The show has comic elements, but it is more PG-related Murdoch Mysteries-lite / Scoopy Doo-esque. Heck, my 9 year old son could have watched it and been equally bored. The comedy was bland, the romance with a parole officer was bland, even the rough and tumble Dad was bland. I kept asking myself, “Is THIS really a Netflix show?”. It could air after school based on what I saw.
And while the comic elements are a bit amusing, it is not funny enough to register as a comedy. Plus, one more nitpicky thing. The opening credits/theme is that of a series of newspaper headlines to tell you what the episode is about, and give a bit of back-story. So you see the headline for Dad cracking a big case, Dad getting busted, etc. and then, a snippet to ask, “Who framed the good cop?”. It’s actually the title of the episode, but I didn’t think much about it as the show opened, no biggie, just credits, until about 15 minutes into the episode, when you realize that it was accurate — the show is about who framed him. Which makes me wonder if every week will have the basic plot outlined for you in a headline. I was watching it cold, so what should have been a big surprise was instead just a confirmation of something I already knew. I took a quick peek at the other 10 episode titles and they are pretty descriptive.
Danza was fine but mostly because he was fairly muted. Groban was fine too, but no real spark of, well, anything. I didn’t care what he was doing, there was no spark with the parole officer, and I didn’t really care how the case would resolve itself. In the end, it was a bit amusing, and in fact was the maximum of light fare. Just not worth watching in my view. I’ll change to CANCELLED, even though it is on Netflix with a better than average chance of renewal.
Shame. Danza does better than I expected, Groban is watchable if only he had something resembling emotion, Monica Barbaro is cute for the sidekick, Isiah Whitlock is funny as Groban’s partner, and Molly Price as Groban’s boss does a near-cameo job, at least in the pilot. All of them deserve an upgrade. Just not here.