It’s hard to imagine the world has been waiting for yet another cops-and-lawyers procedural/soap from CBS. But here is “Reckless,” premiering Sunday at 9 p.m., offering up another assembly-line drama whose lone customizing detail is sending the whole enterprise south of the Mason-Dixon Line and slapping a drawl on the arrests and court proceedings.
But the beautiful and steamy Charleston, S.C., setting aside, “Reckless” is very much of a piece with its predecessors.
Honorable, and hot, defense attorney Jamie Sawyer (Anna Wood) regularly squares off against noble, and hot, assistant district attorney Roy Rayder (Cam Gigandet). She’s a relative newcomer from Chicago — or “Chi-cargo,” as one of the actors is oddly directed to pronounce it here — and a real firecracker. He’s a Southern gentleman with a twinkle in his eye and pain in his heart.
“Reckless” tips its hand early and often: The friendly legal sparring between Roy and Jamie will eventually — and recklessly no doubt — turn into something more intimate once they dispense with their artificial obstacles, her (likely untrustworthy) boyfriend and the wounds of his divorce.
But first they need to tackle a case of corruption in the Charleston P.D. involving several cops and a sex scandal, touched off by the hotheaded, hissable, and of course, hot, homicide detective Terry McCandless (Shawn Hatosy).
Throw in “is-he-good-or-evil?” deputy police chief Holland Knox (Michael Gladis) to support Roy, and sassy black investigator Vi Briggs (Kim Wayans) to play sidekick to Jamie, and you’ve got all the usual pieces in places.
Created by Dana Stevens (“What About Brian”), “Reckless” offers some well-worn comforts in that the rhythms are familiar, the plot twists few, and the lifting exceedingly light, even though the main story line involves an alleged gang rape perpetrated by police on a fellow officer. But that just allows the show to have things the way so many of its kind have — by allowing for both titillation and outrage.
“Reckless” is executed competently enough, with everyone holding up his or her end of the bargain by being hot and trying to enliven the routine premises. But just about everyone in the cast has done better work elsewhere, and it’s particularly tough watching Hatosy, late of “Southland,” and Gladis, so memorable on “Mad Men,” toiling away in something so bland.
In her first lead role after much episodic supporting work, Wood is fine as Jamie, if not perhaps completely believable as a product of the mean streets of the south side of Chicago. Gigandet (“Easy A,” the “Twilight” franchise) feels a little more natural in what would be the McConaughey role of the sly charmer with integrity. And naturally, the producers found a way to have him shirtless before the pilot episode is up, which, while predictable, is one of the few visuals for which “Reckless” is worth recommending.
The pair exhibit some chemistry in the first couple of episodes, and that will likely be the linchpin for viewers since — like “Bones,” “Castle,” and other shows of this ilk — its popularity will hinge on viewers wanting the main characters to hook up. If the producers can eventually make the story lines as attractive as their leads, “Reckless” might spark a little more interest.