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Unleash the Franklin & Bash!

Franklin & Bash poster

Written by : published Thursday 16th August 2012

TNT's Franklin & Bash completed their sophomore run this week with "6:50 to SLC." Bash's (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) law license is suspended because he misses a payment, which makes representing his buddy, Tommy Dale (Chris Klein, Wilfred), who is having problems with his campaign for governor, difficult. Meanwhile, Leonard Franklin (Beau Bridges) of Franklin & Franklin would like to purchase Infeld Daniels, whether Stanton (Malcolm McDowell) likes it or not.

It's a shame that Franklin & Bash has become such a procedural. Even in this episode, which spends at least half of its time focusing on firm politics, there is a case of the week that must be dealt with. In the beginning, that was OK because Franklin and Bash often made these cases fun and exciting with their big stunts. In this one, not so much.

Yes, there were great guest stars in "6:50 to SLC," like Klein and Paul Schulze (Nurse Jackie), who played Dale's campaign manager. And the story of two wives cheating on their husbands with each other is pretty scandalous. But they somehow made this boring, probably because of how toned down the two lead characters have become in court. In a story about Bash's old friend, this should never have been allowed to happen. It may be more realistic, but it's not as much fun to watch.

The other story, where Franklin's (Breckin Meyer) father tries to steal the firm right out from under their boss, is much more compelling. Stanton is a larger than life character, played a by a brilliant acting veteran who bites into the role with gusto. So when he is threatened and his vulnerabilities are laid bare, it makes for very engrossing television. Stanton shows his age a bit here, but he also shows his scrappiness and shrewdness, which got him to where he is today. The resolution is shocking and smart.

Stanton must reveal the real reason he hired Franklin and Bash and made them partners. They are a poison pill, a tool he can use to self-destruct the firm. They are not happy at all to learn this, two years (or only one year?) after they began working for him. But they do what must be done because they are stand up guys, making a huge fuss on an airplane. Stanton's later apology, and the boys' forgiveness, shows that there is a deeper bond here than a cynical arrangement. But their relationship with their awesome boss is rocked a bit, in a good way.

The other moments of greatness in "6:50 to SLC" come from Carmen (Dana Davis) and Pindar (Kumail Nanjiani). These are entertaining, quirky characters, who do not get nearly enough plot. Sure, it's nice to see Franklin and Bash make peace with Karp (Reed Diamond) and Hanna (Garcelle Beauvais), but I would trade an emotional Hannah scene for a funny Pindar bit any day. Again, going back to the complaint that Franklin & Bash has mostly become a rote procedural, more of these two characters would punch up the episodes.

Some hopes for season three, besides more outrageous antics and screen time for the boys' employees? Bring back their flying ban as a plot point, and make sure that Shiri Appleby returns for a sizable arc. It might be nice to see how Franklin handles a real relationship, and what she can do to the dynamic of the group.

This law show may have lost its way in the second season, becoming more predictable and monotonous. Hopefully, there will be a season three, which gives them time to make up for it.

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About the author JeromeWetzelTV

JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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