tek's rating: ½

Trial & Error, NBC, Thursdays 9pm
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Season One
The show is done in a mockumentary style, with the various participants in a murder trial being followed around by cameras wherever they go. This includes a young lawyer from New York named Josh Segal, who goes to the fictitious small town of East Peck, South Carolina, to do prep work for the trial, at which his boss is supposed to be the defense attorney. However, it's not long before his boss (and the entire firm Josh works for) decides they want nothing to do with the case. So Josh decides to stay and handle the defense himself. He'll be representing a poetry professor named Larry Henderson (John Lithgow), who is accused of having murdered his wife, Margaret. Things are not going to be easy for Josh, because Larry, while a very nice guy, is also very eccentric, and often says or does things that make him seem guilty, though Larry himself seems oblivious to this. Meanwhile, Josh's team includes a local investigator (and former cop) named Dwayne Reed, and a research assistant named Anne Flatch (Sherri Shepherd). They both seem very enthusiastic, but they each have their own quirks. Dwayne isn't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, and he seems to think Larry is guilty (which doesn't stop him from trying to help Josh as much as he can). And Anne... has a plethora of rare, bizarre medical conditions, such as a complete inability to recognize faces. Oh, and their "office" is in a taxidermy shop.

The prosecuting attorney is Carol Anne Keane (Jayma Mays), who is certain Larry is guilty. But more importantly, she's highly motivated to win the case, in order to advance her political career. (She's running for District Attorney.) However, she has a strange relationship with Josh, which consists of sort of trash talking him, trying to psych him out, while also flirting with him. This, naturally, makes Josh uncomfortable (and confused), though it also seems like, under different circumstances, he'd be interested in her romantically (or at least sexually). On the other hand, when he first meets Larry's adopted daughter, Summer, it seemed, briefly, as if he might have a potential romantic interest in her. But that got nipped in the bud pretty quickly. Anyway, Summer does whatever she can to help Josh and his team prepare their defense of her father. Meanwhile, Larry's defense is initially paid for by Margaret's brother, the wealthy Jeremiah Davis, and his wife, Josie (Cristine Rose, familiar to me from Heroes). But before long, Jeremiah decides Larry is guilty of killing his sister, so he switches to funding the prosecution.

And... I'm not sure what else to tell you. The show has lots of surprising twists and turns, and I really don't want to spoil any of them. It's all very quirky and hilarious, and it just keeps getting weirder and weirder as the series progresses. I will say that I thought the finale was very satisfying, and perfectly in keeping with the absurd tone of the whole series. And it neatly sets up the possibility of a second season, without making one feel necessary. I also want to mention that there are numerous other characters in the show, some of them important recurring characters, and some of them one-shot roles. A few of the actors were familiar to me, including Julie Hagerty in a recurring role as a pet psychic (or something like that). Also French Stewart played a sort of trial consultant (or something) in one episode, and somehow I forgot to realize that he and Lithgow had previously starred together on 3rd Rock from the Sun, until it was mentioned in A.V. Club's review of the final two episodes. Also in the final episode, Andie MacDowell makes a brief but pivotal appearance, the nature of which I don't want to spoil. And... of course it's possible other viewers would recognize some actors I didn't (including some from the main cast). Anyway, I guess that's all I have to say. But it's just a really fun show.

Season Two
Coming July 19.

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