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TV Review: Shark – Season Premiere

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Not surprisingly, Shark is back for a second season, premiering tonight on CBS, 10 PM, ET/PT. While it wasn’t a runaway hit in its first season, the James Woods vehicle consistently garnered good numbers in its Thursday night slot, good enough that CBS feels confident enough to move it to a more competitive Sunday night front.

If tonight’s episode is any indication, the sophomore season of Shark is going to take a darker turn. The witty courtroom shenanigans of Sebastian Stark (Woods) and his prosecutorial team take a backseat to gritty investigative work. In “Gangster Movies,” new characters are introduced, characters from last season are reinvented and the series as a whole dives more deeply into crime at its root.

Of course, this requires a revamping of the series. At the end of last season, DA Jessica Devlin (Jeri Ryan) was defeated in her reelection bid by Leo Cutler (Kevin Pollack). This season finds her joining Sebastian’s team, creating a new dynamic between the two characters. Pollack, who’s no stranger to playing smarmy characters, looks to be the foil to Sebastian and Jessica in his role as the newly elected bureaucratic DA.

Another character, Danny Reyes (Kevin Alejandro) is introduced in this episode. His is a personality shrouded in a mysterious past, a veteran of the DA office’s organized crime unit, who tentatively joins Sebastian’s team in hopes of bringing down a Russian mob kingpin.

As convoluted as all this might sound, the premiere episode ties it all together seamlessly. After the prosecution’s sole witness in a double homicide is killed by a bus bomb, evidence points to a more insidious threat. To their credit, the producers veered away from terrorist plots, and went with an organized crime angle. Art dealer Andre Zitofsky (Arnold Vosllo, The Mummy) spends his hours as a new breed of Russian mob boss. Proving he’s behind the killings proves to be a daunting task, however.

With “Gangster Movies,” Shark moves away from procedural courtroom drama into the uncharted territory of action crime fiction. It’s a good way to start a new season. If the series can maintain the wit of its first season while infusing it with a more action-oriented sub-plot, Shark may well be a force to be reckoned with on Sundays.

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About Ray Ellis

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    This is all fine and good, just so long as Shark didn’t take the timeslot of Cold Case. I loves me that show.

    -Glen

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    Not to worry, Glen. Cold Case is the lead-in for Shark. I’d say it’s a winning combo.

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    It’s an all Nirvana episode tonight too!

    -Glen

  • Ty

    “With “Gangster Movies,” Shark moves away from procedural courtroom drama into the uncharted territory of action crime fiction. It’s a good way to start a new season.”

    I think this is an exception. Shark is still a 99% legal courtroom drama show and if Shark as a whole delves away from that, it’s not a good thing.

  • Jim

    The season premiere of Shark was unwatchable. It’s like someone sat down with the producers and said, “Let’s throw in some explosions and a car chase – that’s the ticket.” Much of the hour was spent with the cast quickly reciting expository dialog to explain a tired unoriginal storyline. Woods shows up almost as a cameo character for some even worse dialog. Stylistically they’re trying to amp up the show. But in the end, bad story, worse dialog. Hope they recover.

  • Marius

    Does anyone know what the opening song in the “Gangster Movies” episode is ? Where you see inside the house…sounds like a violin or something…

    -Marius-