Tuesday, September 18, 2018
TV Tuesday: Goliath
Thornton plays Billy McBride, a talented but disgraced lawyer living in L.A. He drives an old convertible, drinks way too much, and takes on small cases, nothing like what he used to do in the huge law firm that he helped start. Little by little, we find out about the case that sent Billy into a tailspin. Meanwhile, Patty, a real estate agent and part-time lawyer played by Nina Arianda, approaches him to ask his help on a case: a woman whose husband was killed in an explosion on a boat. The man's employer, a large and powerful corporation and the Goliath of the title, claims it was an accident, but his wife suspects something far more sinister. Patty convinces McBride to take the case, and against his better judgement, Billy finds himself drawn into it. Tania Raymonde plays Brittany, a prostitute who Billy has helped in the past and who sometimes serves as his legal secretary. The large corporation they are suing is represented by Billy's old firm (another Goliath), now run by Donald Cooperman, Billy's old partner played by William Hurt, who is a creepy recluse who spies on his employees and holds a grudge against Billy. Maria Bello plays Michelle McBride, Billy's ex-wife who still works for his old firm.
The plot is intricate and engaging, as each episode goes deeper and deeper into the legal case and the circumstances surrounding the man's death, providing plenty of suspense. The cast is outstanding and really pulls this show up to a higher quality than most TV shows. Billy is a screw-up in many ways, but you can't help but like him, with his crooked smile and fervent belief in justice. The rest of his team is just as likable, while William Hurt's performance as Cooperman is the perfect bad guy you love to hate (he's super creepy). Season 1 of the show follows this case through to its conclusion.
In season 2, Billy and his team are back, though I won't say much more about their circumstances to avoid spoilers of the first season. This time, Billy is drinking more than ever but is asked by his friend Oscar, played by Lou Diamond Phillips, to represent his 16-year old son, who is being held as a murder suspect. Oscar is certain his son is innocent, and Billy has known the boy for years, so he reluctantly gets pulled into the case. This time, the Goliaths and conspiracies are even bigger, involving the police, a drug cartel, and politics. This second season was far more gruesome and violent, with a couple of really warped people at the center of things. My husband and I were joking about needing to watch something more uplifting after watching Goliath this season, like an episode of Breaking Bad! It's pretty dark. I definitely preferred season 1, though season 2 still had a compelling plotline. It's really worth watching just for Billy Bob Thornton. Interestingly, though season 1 was enjoyed equally by critics and viewers, Rotten Tomatoes shows that for season 2, critics rated it an average of 86%, while regular viewers gave it only 53%.
Season 1 and Season 2 each feature 8 episodes and are available exclusively through Amazon Prime (at the links provided).
Here is the trailer for season 1, to avoid any spoilers: