Back in February, I reviewed NBC’s continuation of John Grisham’s The Firm. Even then, I could tell the new television drama was in danger of cancellation. The series premiered on a Sunday night in January before moving to its supposed permanent home on Thursday nights. But that didn’t last long. After just a few episodes, the network moved the show once again to a time slot that I couldn’t help but think would kill the show—Saturday nights.
I was right. In May, NBC announced the official cancellation of The Firm. But, in an unorthodox move, the network agreed to air the remaining episodes—all twenty-two of them.
Knowing the show had been axed, I did not rush through the recordings on my DVR. Anyone that knows me knows that my DVR is almost always at capacity, and I chose to first watch the programs that still breathed network life. However, in-between watching the Olympics this weekend, I finally finished The Firm.
I disagree with cancellations all of the time. Perhaps that’s because I like too much television. When one likes five-hundred thousand television shows (okay, that’s a bit high… but everyone catches my drift), frustrations with cancellations are expected. But all of that aside, I am fully disappointed with the network’s decision to kill this particular program.
The Firm television series picks up ten years after Mitch McDeere (Josh Lucas) turns in his law firm’s documents proving they were overbilling clients to the FBI (from the Grisham novel and the movie). The story continues that these said documents led the FBI to take over the law firm and uncover piles of other files incriminating the mob, who has in turn set their sights on Mitch and his family as retribution.
The U.S. Marshalls placed the McDeere family into witness protection for a short period of time, but the TV drama begins after the family leaves witsec and returns to a so-called “normal life” with Mitch running his very own private practice. But when Mitch is faced with a major legal battle versus a top medical company, he strikes a deal with a large D.C. firm—their resources for a percentage of his earnings. He officially works for the firm, but he gets to keep his staff and his off-site office location.
Or so he thought…
Each episode, or chapter as each week is appropriately titled (Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc), starts in the present day, then rewinds back in time to tell the story, uncover more clues, and follow Mitch through the mystery, before sending it back to the present day. Every chapter features bits and pieces of three different plots: a minor storyline, a major storyline, and the ongoing storyline.
The minor: Mitch will represent a new individual case each week, like when he takes on a dirty judge.
The major: Mitch will continue to research the Sarah Holt case—a client on trial for murdering an older woman while in her care. This story qualifies as the major plot line because unbeknownst to Mitch, his new firm is interested in this case. The firm isn’t interested in Miss Holt, the woman Mitch represents; they are interested in protecting their client—Noble Insurance.
The ongoing: The mafia will follow and chase after Mitch and his family for his actions in Memphis (the storyline from the book/movie).
Without a doubt, The Firm‘s intricate plot made viewers pay attention. Maybe this was too much for TV audiences today. But for those that enjoy a good novel, particularly a good mystery, the plot was genius.
I don’t want to give too much of the story away for those who didn’t have the privilege of enjoying chapter after chapter with me, but we do see a glimpse of truth behind the mystery in each episode. The Firm doesn’t keep us guessing, not completely anyway, week after week like other programs. And it’s a darn-shame we won’t get to watch the rest of the story unfold… because like most other series granted a twenty-two episode season, The Firm wrapped with a cliff-hanger. Who wouldn’t? Twenty-two episodes is a lot. I can understand a series tasked with recording a short-season, like six episodes, or maybe even twelve, would feel uncertain with its future. But twenty-two? I’d feel pretty safe with a pick-up, especially when the story is top-notch. Yet, here we are… no more Firm.
As a Grisham fan, I hope the author continues his story—maybe a new novel—maybe a new movie—but I personally feel, without a doubt, that The Firm deserves more. One way or another…
And if he does, please keep the cast. Josh Lucas as Mitch, Juliette Lewis as Tammy (the chain-smoking legal secretary), and Callum Keith Rennie as Ray (a private investigator/Mitch’s ex-con older brother) were perfect in their roles.
What do you think? Did you watch The Firm? Has there been a series cancelled that you’re still wondering how it would have or how it should have ended? I’d love to hear from you!
P.S. If you enjoy a good mystery with a complex story, I highly recommend making a marathon of The Firm once its available on DVD or Netflix…