Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Memphis, Music, and Mystery

This week, my partner Amber West and I change things up and instead of talking about the same network, we switch over and review two police dramas currently airing on TNT and Lifetime.

First up: Memphis Beat on TNT starring Jason Lee ( from My Name is Earl, and Kevin Smith’s hit movies such as Mall Rats, Chasing Amy, and Cop Out in addition to the motion picture adaptation of Alvin and the Chipmunks) as detective Dwight Hendricks. 

Dwight loves Memphis, his mamma (played by Celia Weston), and music – specifically Elvis Presley.  He followed in his daddy’s footsteps by joining the Memphis Police Department, and strives to keep his city safe alongside his partner, Detective Charlie “Whitehead” White (played by Sam Hennings). 

Unlike Whitehead, Dwight has a cool demeanor and never raises his voice even when interrogating the worst criminal.  He also uses his peaceful tone to help his partner deal with his insecurities about aging, and Dwight assures Whitehead that he’s still a great cop – a better cop, actually.    

Dwight drives a classic blue 1964 Pontiac GTO instead of a patrol car, and he has a music den at his house where he tends to sleep on the couch night after night.  Does Dwight have a bedroom?

Once a case is solved, Dwight performs at the local bars in Memphis singing popular blues hits from Elvis and Waylon Jennings to just name a few, while his fellow squad members fill the audience with cold beers in hand. 

Spoiler alert – Jason Lee doesn’t sing, at least not in all of the scenes; he has a stand in vocalist for many of the bar performances.  Sorry ladies; I’ve seen him confirm it as truth on Regis and Kelly.

Dwight’s precinct was upended when the new department’s lieutenant took over (Tanya Rice played by Alfre Woodard), and Dwight stepped in to ease the tension between the new boss and his unit.  Knowing his fellow detectives look to him, Dwight does his best to oblige, but continues to maintain his unorthodox detective methods forcing Lt. Rice to slowly adjust her attitude toward the Memphis way of doing things.  Now, if only Lt. Rice would learn to like Dwight’s partner…

Continuing with his “good-guy” role, Dwight mentors his fellow co-workers including Officer Davey Sutton (played by DJ Qualls) and Detective Reginald Greenback (Leonard Earl Howze).  Although he’s a master marksman, Officer Sutton is looked at as a joke by others in the department and especially out in the field – he’s as skinny as a rail and he looks like a young school boy – yet Dwight works to make him feel like a part of the team.  Detective Greenback has problems of his own, like supporting a family on a cop’s salary – will this lead to trouble?  We’ve already seen some questionable actions from Det. Greenback. 

Watching Memphis Beat makes me want to plan a trip to Tennessee soon, especially for the music and cuisine.  Ironic really, when you consider most of the show is filmed in Los Angeles and New Orleans.

I give Memphis Beat a JFTV rating – Junk Food TV.  It’s not the best police drama on TV, but it’ll definitely keep me coming back for more….especially since it airs mostly during the summer months when there’s not much else on the tele. 

What are your thoughts about Memphis Beat?  Should I have given it a higher rating?  Do you prefer Jason Lee as Earl Hickey or Dwight Hendricks? Should Dwight get a love interest anytime soon? I’d love to hear from you!

Now – remember to visit Amber’s review of The Protector starring Ally Walker on Lifetime.  She created a new rating for this one…NIV.  You’ll have to click to see exactly what it stands for, but the acronym reminds me of an infectious disease.

Come back next week when Amber and I speed things up – each of us will host two USA hit shows for a total of four reviews!  I’ll review Burn Notice and Suits while Amber reviews Covert Affairs and Necessary Roughness.

19 Replies to “Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Memphis, Music, and Mystery”

  1. I love Memphis beat, and I love, love, love Jason Lee. But you’ve really burst my bubble…I thought he was really singing. That raspy voice sounds just like I would imagine his would. I’m really bummed about that. 😦

    I definitely prefer Jason Lee as Dwight. Earl is a little rough around the edges. Although my husband loved that show, it just got on my nerves. I think a love interest for Dwight would be great. Oh, and I think you’re rating is on the money. Because I love junk food, too. LOL

    1. Lauralynn, I am SO sorry for the spoiler. If it’s any consolation, I think the show did a great job finding a voice double. The raspy singing does sound like what you’d expect from Jason. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I watched the first season of this show and really enjoyed it. It’s not the best cop drama out there, but it’s fun and has good characters. I love Jason Lee as well – he’s so good at characterization. I knew he wasn’t singing, but it still surprises me.

    Junk food is great:)

  3. I don’t watch Memphis Beat, so I can’t really comment on the show, but I like your blogs and appreciate the information. You may have done this before I started reading them, but have you written about The Closer? It’s by far my favorite tv show in current production. Sadly, this summer will complete its run.

    1. Hey, David! I only touched on The Closer in my 2nd Tele-Tuesday post when I was covering my favorites on TV. I’m a huge Closer fan and I’m so sad this will be the last year; however, I am anticipating fireworks in this final season. Here’s a link to the post: https://tiffanyawhite.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/tiffanys-tele-tuesday-1-part-2/

      I will definitely dedicate more of a post to Brenda Lee and the gang before it’s all said and done. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Love these posts, so much fun. I get the inside scoop on all the new shows. Thanks for sharing this one. Looks like a different role for Jason Lee, I hope it is successful.

    I’m almost done with Vampire Diaries season 2. Things are heating up!

  5. Thanks for the scoop. I really enjoy both your post and Amber’s. It’s my favorite Wednesday morning read. Keep up the good work. I’ll be back next week.

  6. Ack! It’s in its second season! I’m really, really going to have to resubscribe to netflix. If Apple TV would get on the ball and offer a similar plan, I’d just use them.

    It does sound good. I always look forward to seeing what show I’m going to be checking out because of your blog.

  7. Hey, Catie – I think you could get by with picking up the new episodes and watching last season when you can. Some tidbits of the storyline carry over, but not much. Each week is an episode in itself. You should check it out. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Great review. I’ll definitely have to check it out. I was just in New Orleans and the shuttle driver mentioned that it was filmed there, along with a ton of other stuff. We passed three different film crews on the way to the airport!

    1. Hey, Robin! New Orleans is such a fun city, and beautiful. It’s no wonder the film crews choose NO for their location shoots! I’ve been one time and would love to go back. Maybe stalk the film crews…. 🙂 I hope you check out Memphis Beat – let me know what you think! Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Glad you cleared up the singing bit as I’ve been looking for Jason Lee’s music for about an hour. Do you know who the stand-in singer is?

    I love Memphis beat, and the soundtrack is wonderful. I would love to have the recording of “I Shall Not Stand Alone” from this week’s episode. Any ideas on how to get it and who sings it?? I’ve ruled out Ben Harper; the sound track version if far superior to his rendition, in my humble opinion.


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