Michael Ealy (left) and Warren Kole plays bickering detective partners… (USA )
Not a whole lot separates "Common Law," USA's new cop show with two bantering leads, from all the cable network's other hourlong dramadies.
Let's face it, USA knows its "Characters Welcome" shtick and sticks to it, time and time again. Whether the odd couples are lawyers ("Suits," "Fairly Legal"), crime fighters ("White Collar"), brothers ("Royal Pains") or fake psychics ("Psych"), they're always good-looking, funny and able to hold their own in verbal duels.
It's a formula that works for the network. It's just not very daring or surprising, which brings us to "Common Law" (9 p.m. May 11, USA; 2 stars out of 4) the story of two ace detective partners who just can't get along--because they are so different!
Warren Kole plays ex-lawyer Wes and Michael Ealy is his partner, former foster child Travis. When we first meet them, they're bickering during group couples therapy demanded by their boss (Jack McGee). The therapist (Sonya Walger) wants them to communicate better, and the comedy strains as we watch the other couples in the session mistake Travis and Wes for gay lovers.
If only. A show about a hot gay couple who are both cops would have been a lot more interesting than the umpteenth light police procedural USA has delivered. As it is, Ealy and Kole are perfectly charming in cookie-cutter roles. They trade witty put-downs that don't quite reach the sassy repartee of some of the other USA shows. They roll their eyes at the other's foibles. (Travis sleeps around! Wes is "anal-explosive!")
Occasionally they throw down physically, but it seems like they will always make up long enough to catch the bad guys. Oh yes, they do actual police investigations between the bickering, the womanizing, the cleaning and the fighting.
We've seen it all before, yet I have no doubt USA has another popular show on its hands.