Everyone is familiar with the term opposites attract. Heck, many of us even remember Paula Abdul’s hit song from the late ‘80s, early ‘90s. Usually, people think of romantic couples when hearing the phrase… but television has taken it to an entirely different level, especially when creating cohesive and lovable partnerships—detective pairings to be specific.
These duos usually have different backgrounds: familiar, economic, social, racial, educational, etcetera. But more often than not, these partners make for some of the best in the field. One of the first pairs that comes to mind is Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs (Miami Vice). Another is Christine Cagney and Mary Beth Lacey (Cagney & Lacey). And a more recent example would have to be Peter Burns and Neal Caffrey (White Collar).
There is nothing ground-breaking about these types of pairings on television, which is why when a new police procedural airs, the characters need another sort of twist to make it stand out among all the others.
Common Law does just that. The USA series follows two Los Angeles robbery/homicide detectives with an immense love for the job—a job they’re good at—great at, actually—they just don’t like each other very much. And when one partner draws his gun on the other, the police captain insists the two attend relationship counseling, or couples therapy to use a term we’re familiar with today.
Let’s start with Travis (Michael Ealy). Travis was raised in the foster care system and has many mothers and brothers around the L.A. area. He is a bit of a womanizer—he loves women and they love him—but he shies away from dating any one woman for more than, well, a night. Perhaps this has something to do with his unstable childhood, but for whatever reason, it works for him… for now.
Next, we have Wes (Warren Kole). The series hasn’t shared much about his childhood, but one can assume he hails from a wealthy enough family. Before joining the LAPD, Wes worked as a lawyer and was married to another lawyer. But when he quit to become a policeman, he lost more than his job—his wife left him too. He hasn’t really dipped his toes back into the dating waters, but he’s taking baby steps toward the pool.
Travis and Wes bring these differences to their partnership, but only one thing matters—they are the best at what they do. They bicker; they fight; and then they bicker and fight some more. But when on a case, they rock it.
This scenario isn’t very fresh, is it? No—but this is where the couples therapy comes in. Travis and Wes do NOT want to attend therapy, but they don’t have a choice. They’re joined by three heterosexual married couples and led by Dr. Ryan (Sonya Walger). The therapy sessions really are great, and each episode’s opening quote always ties into the detectives’ lessons for the week.
For example, “Responsibility is the price of greatness.” ~Winston Churchill
Of course, Travis and Wes feel the group’s conversations don’t apply to them because they aren’t in a romantic relationship with one another; yet every single session relates directly to what the duo is experiencing, including: discussions about respecting each other’s personal property, or more specifically, Wes’ stapler and Travis’ inability to return it; co-parenting, or more specifically, working out a shared-custody arrangement of another policeman’s dog; and dealing with the in-laws, or more specifically, managing time between former, divisional bosses joining the current investigation.
The freshman series was very enjoyable for the most part, but the series finale sealed the deal for me. After watching the last episode of the first season, I immediately hopped online to see if it had been picked up. I was saddened to see it had not… not yet anyway.
In the finale, viewers watched Travis and Wes share with Dr. Ryan the story as to how they met and how their partnership began. But more importantly, we learned why the two were assigned to couples therapy in the first place—why Wes drew his gun on Travis. And let me just say, FANTASTIC. I loved the finale so very much. Not just because it gave the entire season purpose, but because we saw honest-to-goodness character growth from both Travis and Wes.
And I applaud the writers. I noticed the tiny attention to detail inside the evidence warehouse; I saw the baby masks that the thieves wore in an earlier episode. Everything came full-circle, including what I now consider to be Travis’ and Wes’ signature take-down.
“I can see a storm front coming through… a cloudy, cloudy storm front.” ~Travis
Watch the video attached to this article for a better understanding of Storm Front.
This partnership has a future, but does Common law? I sure hope so…
C’mon USA! Just renew it already. Friday night is a tough spot, and even I’m guilty of not watching it live. But I do watch it. And I love it. Please bring it back.
Oh, and did I mention the eye candy?
Travis and his baby blues…
Wes and his killer dimples…
And one more thing that makes me swoon… Warren Kole’s voice—it’s very sexy, ladies!
What do you think? Did you watch Common Law? Have you ever been so-so on a series until one particular episode drew you in for-keeps? I’d love to hear from you!