Gerry "Fitz" Fitzgerald is a troubled doctor of psychology. To be able to pay the bills, he gives lectures at colleges, has a small practice in a mini-mall, has his own radio show, and helps the Los Angeles police department solve difficult cases. But that's only true when he doesn't have to deal with his own inner demons, which include drinking, gambling, extramarital affairs, and a tense relationship with his wife Judith and son Michael. Written by
Objectively, Not Anywhere As Bad As So Many Have Claimed
True, this is not Robbie Coltrane. True, the series is darker and at the same time less complex than the magnificent British series. But just because a California vintage varietal is not Château Latour does not mean it isn't potable. Taken on its on merits, without making comparisons to the original British series (in which the American series really has no chance to shine) this is a well-made and far-from-clichéd series. Playing Fitz as Pastorelli did-- as less-than-lovable, curmudgeonly without the usual saving graces of humor or humility, was actually very brave, and much truer to everyday life, truth to tell, than Coltrane's wonderful portrayal. Coltrane's characterization is in a way bigger than life, a flawed yet dazzling (and also, endearing) genius: very much in the tradition of other flawed, brilliant, larger-than-life sleuths from Sherlock Holmes to Hercule Poirot. I find Pastorelli's interpretation more in the line of, say, John Thaw's Inspector Morse (they even have similar tastes in music). Pastorelli plays Fitz as depressive, grouchy, arrogant, flippant, self-absorbed, and sometimes downright rude. That is truly going out on a limb, and would be even for British television, but for American television it is valor of the first water. So it is unfair to compare his portrayal with Coltrane's: they approach the character quite differently. Taken on their own, I think the Pastorelli episodes are fine productions. Being an American myself I was raised on happy endings and characters designed to elicit one's emotional engagement. Yet as others have rightly noted, life isn't like that. I remember an episode of a British production, one of Roy Mardsen's wonderful Adam Dalgleish tales, which ended, yes, with the criminal's apprehension-- but NOT happily (his assistant's grandmother, being held hostage, having been killed at the end when SWAT teams stormed the hideout)... and I was appalled at first--- but then I realized, that that was as possible an outcome as the happy ending would have been, perhaps more likely even. And this series has a lot of that flavor to it. So: approaching this and expecting the same thing as one got in the British production is really counterproductive. But if you watch these shows without expectations, you'll likely find them quite satisfying on their own merits.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?