Reviews > Television

In Justice

Television | Convicting innocent people is a terrible injustice, but so is slandering police officers and casting doubt on the whole criminal justice system

Issue: "Five-man legacy," Jan. 28, 2006

We already have TV shows about detectives putting people into prison. Now we have a show about detectives getting people out of prison. In Justice (ABC, Fridays, 9:00 p.m. ET) is about a fictional group called the National Justice Project, which fights for innocent people sent to prison.

The show opens with a flashback of the crime showing "what the jury believed." Then the team investigates, uncovers what really happened, and identifies the true perpetrator. The episode ends with the innocent convict leaving prison for a tearful reunion with his family.

In Justice has the same structure as Law and Order-with the first half of the plot showing the investigation and the second half showing the legal proceedings-and the realistic police work and legal maneuvers are as absorbing here as in L&O.

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As we know, flamboyant defense attorneys wear expensive suits and have manes of long hair. So does this show's David Swayne, played by Kyle MacLachlan as an egotistical, politically ambitious player who nevertheless fights for the little guy. Investigator Charles Conti (Jason O'Mara) is an ex-cop who feels guilty about how he used to extort false confessions.

And this is the injustice of In Justice. The false convictions are not results of mistakes, but police malfeasance. In the series, cops are the bad guys-manipulating witnesses, filing false reports, getting rid of evidence.

Convicting innocent people is a terrible injustice, but so is slandering police officers and casting doubt on the whole criminal justice system. What about a flamboyant defense attorney who keeps guilty people from going to prison? That'd be a show.

Gene Edward Veith
Gene Edward Veith

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