There is a certain amount of Monday morning quarterbacking when watching something like Canterbury’s Law The Complete Series ’ 7 episodes 2 DVD set. Did this crime TV show fail because of a bad mid-season time slot and not enough support, finishing 3rd or 4th in the ratings, did the show not have enough time to find its legs, or did Canterbury’s Law fail because it was bad and the viewers agreed? Hard to tell, really.
Canterbury’s Law is the story of a criminal defense attorney Elizabeth Canterbury (Julianna Margulies, E.R.) who defends the indefensible. Unlike Matlock who is a charming old coot who always has the real criminal confess on the witness stand or Perry Mason who uses his smarts, Canterbury is an independent, smart, strong-willed woman with an extra-marital affair. This does not make her a particularly likeable TV character.
There is also the fact Margulies does not quite have the energy or presence to carry a show. The D.A. is also a cardboard villain so his conflicts with the defense attorney lose a lot of their interest. You can add a couple of Matlock style endings to the mix.
Canterbury’s Law is a fairly quick paced show but it also features a lot of hand-held camera footage and you get the feeling the camera operator was drunk at the time. The characters tend to whisper to each other a lot so a viewer has to keep changing the TV volume –not a good thing.
On the plus side, Canterbury’s Law is an ongoing story so each episode does not exist in its own story bubble. One of the threads in this crime TV show is what happened to Canterbury’s young son. Another is a consequence of something Canterbury does in the pilot.
To Canterbury’s Law ‘s credit, the plots are pretty good so if you like crime TV, this DVD set is not a bad bet. Do not expect closure though as the show was cancelled without a wrap-up episode.