“Will Trent” ~ TV TALK with BILL CUSHING

By: Bill Cushing – 2-23

Lots of the best TV Crimefighters have quirks about their personalities or methods that make them memorable. Columbo had his rumpled trench coat and his “One More Thing” persistence. Monk had his Obsessive Compulsive disorder that helped him solve cases. Those are just two of the more interesting ones.

Now, along comes ‘Will Trent.’ The quirky new procedural, based on Karin Slaughter’s bestselling book series, stars the engaging Ramón Rodríguez as the title character, an intuitive Special Agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Will is one of those Holmes-like investigators who simply sees the world differently. His secret gifts are being ultra-observational and not by-the-book because, as we quickly learn, Will is dyslexic. He sharpened those gifts growing up with a rough childhood in the Atlanta foster care system and various group homes.

The series grabs your attention right from the start and is careful not to pack too much into the premiere and overload the viewers with too much information too fast. Instead, it takes its time, allowing Rodriguez to fill in the blanks on Will and show us what he is all about, both in his private and professional life. The two-part premiere episode gives the show the chance to progress more slowly and lets the viewers understand and learn about the main characters.

Among those characters are Atlanta police detective Angie Polaski (Erika Christensen), who has a history with Will. She spent years with him in foster care, and now 25 years later they are involved in an off and on romantic relationship which seems to be acceptable to the both of them.

Rounding out the fine ensemble cast are Sonja Sohn (The Wire) as Will’s no-nonsense boss, Amanda; Iantha Richardson, as Faith, a smart young agent who’s partnered with Will (he famously works alone … but not anymore); and Jake McLaughlin as Det. Michael Ormewood who, years before, had a drunken fling with Angie and his marriage is now hanging by a thread.

Rodríguez drives the series forward. Will is an interesting character, full of physical and psychological scars that inform everything he does — from his reluctant decision to adopt an adorable, abandoned chihuahua named Betty to his home in a rough neighborhood undergoing a renovation to his aforementioned relationship with Angie, which seems like necessary therapy for both of them. Christensen, frazzled and dangerously on edge throughout, is also a standout.

In the premiere, Will investigates a double-murder and a college-aged woman who was kidnapped. We soon learn that she’s the daughter of a wealthy businessman who knows Will from their boyhoods growing up together in Georgia’s foster care system, and helps us learn more about Will’s childhood.

Like the cases he solves, ‘Will Trent’ keeps you guessing with mysteries that not only set up suspects but also examine evidence through the mind of a person with dyslexia.
While it’s still the early days for the ABC series, the show seems to be off to a good start, and it will be intriguing to see if the show will stay the course.

So far, it’s a fun ride.

‘Will Trent’ airs Tuesday night at 10 pm on ABC, and is available to stream on Hulu.

Bill Cushing

If you have any questions about TV, you can email me at BillsTVTalk@gmail.com. I will answer all of your questions and will feature some of the questions I receive in a future Mailbag column. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @BillsTVTalk and on Facebook at BillsTVTalk for daily up-to-the-minute TV news and discussion. ◊