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When character development goes bad

I’ve been looking forward to the return of Fairly Legal on the USA Network.  It premiered last night, and I was a bit late turning it on because I was on a writing roll.  (As a side note, I can’t believe it’s on in the same time slot as Grimm and A Gifted Man.  Why are these three shows relegated to Friday night TV?  But I digress…)

I tuned in right about the time Kate was tangling with a smarmy lawyer.  Apparently this guy is a new full-time character.  Honestly, I was dismayed.  I don’t understand what the writers were thinking.  They had a good mesh of character types, all with their quirky flaws.  I tried to ignore this guy, hoping he would eventually fit in but he never did.  He didn’t fit into the cast of characters, and he didn’t fit in with the setting.  He didn’t even fit in with the story line, because I didn’t once believe this guy was a high-priced, savvy lawyer.  An ambulance chaser?  Maybe…  But I still wouldn’t want to watch him.

Characters need to be fully fleshed out, and even villains and bad guys need to have some redeeming features.   Kate’s adversary, Lauren, has these in spades.  You understand the predicament she’s in, trying to save her dead husband’s law firm and why she’s wrapped up so tightly.  This new guy — honestly, I didn’t even bother to remember the character’s name — was just obnoxious.  Nobody likes a smart mouth, and that seems to be his reason for being.

Maybe the show developers thought he could be eye candy, that they could develop a love triangle between Kate, Justin, and Mr. Unctuous.   I don’t know, maybe I missed a “cute meet”.  It wouldn’t have mattered.  I’m sorry, I’m sure the actor is a fine guy, but putting him up against Anders from Battlestar Galactica?  Forget about it.

One character (just like any bad apple) can spoil the show, the book, the play, or whatever else you’re developing.  Perhaps the writers thought viewers would watch to see this guy get his comeuppance.  Sorry, I turned it off before the first episode was even over.  What can I say?  It’s like when a book series you love goes sour.  I’m sorely disappointed, but I guess it will make my Friday night viewing choices easier.  Sigh.

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