TV Critic’s Corner

Welcome to prime time, Dr. Pill

Michael Weatherly in “Bull.”
Michael Weatherly in “Bull.”David M. Russell/CBS

Bull 9 p.m., CBS

There’s something fascinating about the courtroom analysis on “Bull” with experts coaching lawyers on how to choose and then manipulate juries. It makes me think of “Lie to Me,” the 2009-11 Tim Roth series about scrutinizing micro-expressions and body language for law enforcement purposes. These shows often present us as predictable creatures, easily prey to those who closely study human behavior.

That material on “Bull” has some potential; the rest of the show, which is based on the early career of Dr. Phil McGraw, has little to offer.

Michael Weatherly, fresh off 365 seasons of “NCIS,” stars as the annoyingly self-assured psychologist Dr. Jason Bull, head of Trial Analysis Corporation and a team that includes a former cop, a lawyer who specialized in mock trials, and a Homeland Security veteran.


The show is built on the classic procedural blueprint: A brusque but brilliant leader, an ensemble around him, and cases of the week. None of these elements quite works in the pilot, though. Bull is a blustery know-it-all and I’m not eager to spend more time with him; yes, the name is fitting. His staff, at least at first, leaves almost no impression. And the case of the week in the premiere is forgettable and filled with ridiculous courtroom tricks.

If Bull had been watching me watch, he’d have known I was inclined to vote the show guilty — of being thoroughly missable.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.