Jon Tenney and Rebecca Romijn are stuck in bad-plot jail on TNT's "King… (Jan Thijs / TNT )
The ampersand strikes again in TNT's latest crime procedural, "King & Maxwell," but two names in the title doesn't always mean double the quality.
Like the network's "Rizzoli & Isles" & "Franklin & Bash," the new series (9 p.m. CT June 10, TNT; 1.5 stars out of 4) will live and die on the casting—because everything else about it feels as stale and standard as week-old white bread.
Thankfully, this one stars the always-likable Jon Tenney, most recently Fitz on "The Closer" and "Major Crimes," and the always-game Rebecca Romijn from "Ugly Betty." They play Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, two failed Secret Service agents now working as private detectives in Washington, D.C. (The characters are based on those in a series of bestselling crime novels by David Baldacci.)
Tenney and Romijn make an appealing pair, even if their playful banter sounds like it came from rejected "Moonlighting" scripts. Speaking of that 1980s chestnut, it also might have inspired the will-they-or-won't-they romantic tension between the two leads. When she hops into the shower after rowing a boat to his office (they're so eccentric!), she leaves the door ajar because, well, there's supposed to be romantic tension.
In the premiere, King and Maxwell first chase down a man in a beaver suit driving a stolen bus before trying to solve the murder of one of his old friends, a lawyer representing an accused serial killer. The convoluted episode involves a far-fetched conspiracy, defense contracts and a predictable twist at the end.
As is almost obligatory in these situations, they butt heads with law enforcement, in this case an FBI agent (scowling Michael O'Keefe) who considers them "a couple of washed-up bullet-catchers who got retired because you screwed up."
The show has a decent balance of action and humor, as well as Ryan Hurst (Opie from "Sons of Anarchy") as a sort of savant who might be a series regular.
With all that going for it and the chemistry of its leads, "King & Maxwell" might grow into something fresher, but right now it just feels all too familiar.
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