Harriet’s Law & Fine Shoes. It’s an ecclectic mix of services on offer, and defines Harry’s Law nicely. Harriet Korn (Kathy Bates) is fired from her $600,000 a year job as a patent attorney after having a minor breakdown. She’s over her life, and certainly lost all passion for her job. Then she is fallen on by a guy attempting suicide. Then she’s hit by a car driven by a former opposing lawyer. Then she see’s her opportunity in one of the hardest neighbourhoods in Cincinnatti to go it on her own… with a few hangers on.
From the word processor of David E Kelley (Chicago Hope, Ally McBeal, The Practice, Boston Legal), it’s not a show to take entirely seriously. For a rough neighbourhood, it’s pretty clean. Everyone is dressed pretty nice. However the hallmarks of a DEK drama are the courtroom battles, and Harry’s Law does not disappoint. Both Harry & Adam Branch (Nathan Corddry – The Pacific, United States of Tara) deliver some fine performances in trial arguments, cross-examinations and closings. Bates and Corrdry play well off each other also: the former a gruff, season lawyer to the latter’s enthusiastically aggressive junior partner.
The first episode flys by without much of a speed bump in establishing the central cast. “Don’t you just love how life can take unexpected turns?” proffers Harriet, when being challenged as to why she’s set up as a criminal lawyer after a career in patent law. But it’s Bates that delivers Korn as a warm and engaging character, deeply connected to a flawed humanity. She collects and draws in the disenfranchised and forgotten and gives them a voice and a hope. And nice shoes.
Of course, every lawyer needs a foil – enter Thomas Jefferson (Christopher McDonald – Happy Gilmore). Completely self-absorbed, entirely narcissistic, with a hint of self-deprication. Sometimes. For example: Ego-maniac Jefferson: “I talk with Presidents. I play golf with Pete Rose. My child… was baptised by the Pope.” He’s not kidding – the set dressing of his office is brilliant, and his character is no lay-down mozaire loser. He’s a challenge and he knows it.
It’s entirely likeable, thoroughly enjoyable, and totally in the wrong timeslot. But fans of David E Kelley’s work should lock Harry’s Law into their weekly schedule. The pathos alone is worth the hour’s investment.
Harry’s Law – Sun 9:30pm, Ch9
Image/Video sources – Ch9.