Conviction Recap

Conviction Premiere: Is Hayley Atwell's Legal Drama Worth a Second Look?

From a human resources standpoint, Conviction‘s Hayes Morrison is kind of a nightmare. In her first five days on the job, Hayley Atwell’s character called her co-worker a “moron,” day-drank in her office and pretended to do coke in front of her boss.

Fortunately, Hayes is also a damn good investigator, which might explain why New York District Attorney Conner Wallace (CSI: NY‘s Eddie Cahill) was so quick to pluck her from a jail cell — Hayes is #SorryNotSorry for partying! — and offer her a job leading his new Conviction Integrity Unit. I suppose it also doesn’t hurt that Hayes is the former First Daughter of a political puppet master.

On Monday’s premiere, Hayes and her team — a motley crew of diverse minds from occasionally shady backgrounds — gave their first assignment a “happy ending” by proving the innocence of a man arrested for murder eight years prior… but not without spilling a few of their own secrets along the way, at least to the audience.

Frankie (Graceland‘s Manny Montana), for example, might have a secret incarcerated boyfriend from his own days in prison, while Tess (The Walking Dead‘s Emily Kinney) appears to be connected to a previous case that was thrown out for lack of DNA evidence. And then there’s Maxine (Alias‘ Merrin Dungey), whose squeaky clean exterior could very well be concealing the team’s most twisted secrets. (Maybe someone should offer her a bowl of coffee ice cream.)

As for Sam (The Following‘s Shawn Ashmore), there was never any mystery about his issue: He’s just really salty about being passed over for Hayes’ job.

And now, I leave you with the following thoughts:

* “Oprah has been dying to have me on.” (What show was Hayes’ mom talking about, exactly? Didn’t The Oprah Winfrey Show end in 2011?)

* Speaking of Hayes’ mom, did anyone else find that speech about Hayes not living up to her potential a little too relatable? I could have sworn my mother was speaking through Bess Armstrong.

* What would Conner have done if that was actually coke Hayes was snorting?

* Lastly, I’m just going to say it: There wasn’t nearly enough of Hayes’ brother (Looking‘s Daniel Franzese) in this — and on Mean Girls Day, no less.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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72 Comments
  1. Cobra says:

    I lost interest about halfway through. It wasn’t awful, but it was just so…ordinary. There was nothing special or unique about it. I might give the second episode a shot to see if it improves, but I give the pilot a well-earned D.

    • Lange says:

      I wanted to like it, but about 15 minutes in I realized that I still didn’t like Atwell and didn’t want to get invested in a show that meant spending an hour with her on a weekly basis. Pass.

    • Sarah says:

      Agreed. It wasn’t brilliant, wasn’t awful, it was just kind of… there. I’ll leave the series recording set (for now), but it’ll likely be the show I watch when I’ve seen everything else and have nothing to do. That said, there’s some serious crap on the air right now, so being “just okay” isn’t actually all that bad…

    • TV Gord says:

      I agree. The script was pretty clunky, too. One character recognizes her near the end of the episode and says something like, “Hey, you’re that President’s daughter!”. Who would say, “That President”? That’s just one example of what didn’t ring true in the episode.

  2. Karen Howell says:

    I really liked it. I don’t understand why the reviews were so negative.

  3. Ellen says:

    I was bored after 15 minutes. The leads have no chemistry and I haven’t figured out the attraction for many of Hayiey Atwell. She leaves me fairly cold. I’ll pass. And it definitely ain’t no Castle.

    • Kevin K says:

      I know. Cancelling Agent Carter was the worst decision ABC is going to regret and the same thing it did with Castle.

      • PatriciaLee says:

        The husband has been whining all day about, “…no Castle! I can’t believe Monday nights, without Castle. There’s nothing on.” For myself, I loved Agent Carter, so I’ll give Conviction a viewing…at least she’s not a psycho and/or bad one, like some of my fan favorites have become. I’d never turn into Purefoy and Ealy’s latest, nor did I see Lewis’ Homeland. I sure miss Almost Human, Life, and Rome.

        • Lilly77 says:

          I agree. Really miss those three shows, especially Life, and really dislike watching people who once played characters I loved play characters I hate.

        • shir says:

          I feel your pain with Castle. Doesn’t feel like fall and new programs – does it?. Oh well we”ll all get over it sooner or later, won’t we?

      • shir says:

        Did not watch it because I’m out with ABC and the way they just cancel our shows.
        I read the comment though and hope ABC gets the message.

      • shir says:

        I hope they give the show a chance.ABC would never admit to a mistake . They are trying to reinvent their programming.
        Doing heck of a job of it-right.

    • PatriciaLee says:

      She has charm, like Cary Grant.

    • christine harris says:

      agree..I fell asleep half way

  4. Rheinmeister says:

    Not that compelling…if I have nothing else to watch and I’m bored I’m sure I’ll check it out otherwise its a skip for me.

  5. Victoria says:

    Please tell me this isn’t what Agent Carter got canceled for. It was so unoriginal and boring. Hayley Atwell can do so much better and I thought it would be more interesting considering the cast (I was really interested when Tag was cast). Now…I’ll just go continue the mourning of Agent Carter.

    • Seun Fayiga says:

      Stop mourning about the show already. Ratings were poor, it got cancelled. It was one of my best shows too but how do u expect them to keep such on air

    • Dysturbed says:

      It wasn’t cancelled for this. It was stated that she conceivably could have found a way to do both IF ratings had permitted a renewal. Ratings for Agent Carter were not good at all.

      • Dysturbed says:

        Not good enough to justify a renewal that is.

        • PatriciaLee says:

          And as much as I loved it, there was a frame of WWII stuff, like Foyle’s War. It reminded me of The Forgotten with Slater, a natural ending. Hopefully, they will do TV movies, eventually, of Peggy’s future exploits.

  6. JessicaGreco says:

    Best New Fall Show!!! Dope as hell, I want more Shawn Ashmore.

    • Seun Fayiga says:

      You couldn’t have said those words any better.

    • John NYC says:

      Gave me quite the pause when I first saw the clips because (it turns out) his twin plays a favorite character on Killjoys. And I didn’t know about twins. Odd thing is that character looked to be leaving (going into hiding in the last ep of the season) so there was plausibility there. But now I’m guessing just a cliffhanger.

    • bobbie says:

      Wait, Shawn Ashmore is on this? Damn it, I might have to give it a shot.

  7. Trent Thorne says:

    I loved it so very much!

  8. Jessica Greco says:

    Love this show, can’t wait till next week. Kept me guessing and didn’t disappoint. Love a strong female character at the helm. And Shawn Ashmore always

  9. Seun Fayiga says:

    Loved it. Was awesome. Best new show ive watched so far. Cast chemistry is so amazing. Acting was brilliant.
    The show is fast paced and didn’t waste any time in establishing what it is, A Procedural show.
    Love me some new ABC legal drama. Just hope it does well in the ratings and not as bad as Notorious.
    I give the episode a B+ or A-

  10. Dame Judy Dench says:

    Smart, sexy, funny. Exactly what you want in prime time

  11. Sara says:

    I really liked it! I am intriguied by the backstories of the supporting cast that we got glimpses of during the episode. Hayley Atwell was great. I miss Agent Carter like crazy, but I am glad to have Hayley back on my tv. Loved Merrin Dungey too! She’s always a treat!

    • Sarah says:

      I also really like the cast, especially seeing Merrin Dungey in a regular role. I thought Hayley was amazing on Agent Carter, not too sure about her in this role there’s a lack of confidence and the accent seems to be a strain on her acting. Hopefully she’ll grow into the role and the writing will be good enough for this to develop into a really good ensemble show. Eddie Cahill is a little creepy lusting after her, though.

  12. same ole rich/popular girl falls from grace and now has to go slumming with us average folk as a way to gain redemption find hereself and we are supposed to feel sorry for the brat who brought it on herself as she struggles with having to OMG work with the little people and show us how stupid we are without her brilliance blah blah blah this plot has been done a hundred times and flopped at least as many

  13. Maddie says:

    I loved this show!!

  14. Brandon says:

    Needs some fine tuning (a bit too frantic this episode) but overall really enjoyed it and looking forward to seeing it get better as they get more comfortable.

    • John NYC says:

      Pilots often seem to do “frantic” I think that’s when they’re used to pitch a show that hasn’t gotten a firm order. So they try really hard for the sell.

  15. Laura James says:

    I absolutely loved it! I cant wait for next week, I don’t understand where the bad reviews are coming from the only thing I dislike is eddie Cahill, there’s something about him that always bugs me.

    • Seun Fayiga says:

      Well i guess thats because the focus wasn’t really on him this episode. And of course he’s a rival to Hayley our protagonist so you’ll tend to like him less.
      As you said, don’t know where the bad reviews came from nor do i see how this show is related to scandal or is trying to be like scandal. Its just way beyond me that both shows were compared.
      This is a procedural and its focused on that and already has storylines set for each of the cast members. Very intriguing. Can’t wait for more

    • Seun Fayiga says:

      I don’t understand the comparisons with scandal that was given earlier. Its in no way trying to be scandal

  16. Rick Katze says:

    Like Timeless, lots of breadcrumbs tossed out. Too early to tell on this one. And how often are we going to find the person was guilty. Will be curious to see if it works.

  17. John NYC says:

    “while Tess (The Walking Dead‘s Emily Kinney) appears to be connected to a previous case that was thrown out for lack of DNA evidence.”

    No actually she, as an eyewitness in a murder conviction was proven wrong BY DNA. The title of the article Hayes showed her; “Eyewitness in murder conviction proven wrong by DNA”: so her testimony convicted an innocent person. For which Hayes accused her of trying to atone when she handed her the brown envelope with the clipping copy. So she’s been working out her feelings of guilt for having largely (per the text of the article visible when I pause it) been responsible for someone’s imoridonment for however long…

    Good show. I’ll be back.

  18. Lila says:

    hope its not a flop.I quite liked it

  19. laurelnev says:

    I think I liked everything but Haley’s accent. :) Think this is in over Timeless, at least for now.

  20. Mark says:

    I might give it another shot, but I wasn’t that impressed. I know that pilots are often weak because they have so much exposition and character introduction to fit in, but this left me cold.

  21. arial2 says:

    Not nearly as good as Agent Carter, but Hayley Atwell was good.

  22. Jimmy says:

    I wouldn’t call it great and Hayley Atwell’s American accent could use work, but I was interested enough to stick with it and see what happens over the next few episodes.

  23. cuius says:

    “What show was Hayes’ mom talking about, exactly? Didn’t The Oprah Winfrey Show end in 2011?”

    The whole show had a ’00’s feel, so the OWS reference was appropriate

    • drhenning says:

      I laughed at that Oprah reference myself… you think it is based in the oo’s not current day??? We’ll have to check the tech that is used to see who’s right.. that’s the hardest part about 00’s shows.. some things work but cell phone capability was only so-so..

    • Aeol says:

      Oprah has a show on OWN called Where Are They Now, which is like a more intimate follow-up on her previous show. So it’s conceivable, that Harper Morrison was on the original Oprah as a First Lady. Come on, guys. IMDB.

  24. Joey Padron says:

    First episode was pretty good. I’ll keep watching some episodes to see it gets better. Good to have some of my favorite actors back on tv.

  25. Doug Henning says:

    I was feeling the same as others with this show but when “Chelsea…oops Hayes” got the talking to and met with the guy in prison, it got better.. I may give this another look next time to see if it resembles the first 40 minutes or the last 20…

  26. Loli says:

    It was a bit like Castle mixed with the early seasons of Scandal. The supporting cast was pretty interesting, HAtwell was good. It could stand to be better but it fills a void so hopefully it improves.

  27. Jon Spell says:

    I’ll give it a second shot. Atwell’s character is really hard to like for most of the episode with some redemption at the end. The supporting cast is fine, but I really like the former-cop lead investigator.

    And the red dress!

  28. G S says:

    Give it a chance to early to judge

  29. Cat says:

    It was only the first episode…it takes time to set the backstory and introduce the characters and the plot line. It was decent enough that I’ll give it a few more episodes.

  30. G says:

    After only one show, give it a chance

  31. Kriatina says:

    Really enjoyable show. Thought the cast was great and look forward to getting to know the characters better. The only part I didn’t care for was the scenes between Hayes and the D.A. Dragged the whole episode down. Hope they don’t go too far down that trail.

  32. shir says:

    I hope they give the show a chance.

  33. Nora says:

    I watched both this and Timeless and thought this was way better than Timeless. If this does stay, I definitely need more Daniel Franzese.

  34. Shoe says:

    I’m still mourning the loss of Agent Carter. It was the superior show. But I’m trying to cheer this one on because I like several of the actors. It’s one of those times that I wish I knew how many episodes critics had screened to base their reviews on. This show should work. It’s a procedural. It has writers from House and Jessica Jones. It has Hayley, Shawn and Merrin. Heck, it has Bess Armstrong! I hope it gets better. I also hope it has TIME to get better.

  35. Heather says:

    Oprah has a show on cable, and yes, I thought that was my mom speaking, too!

  36. Miriam says:

    about that Oprah note — well Oprah still doing her shows on her OWN network, so I believe that note was valid in the show — they are talking about the new show not the old one.

  37. Jen says:

    I really enjoyed it actually

  38. Mohamed Abdinur says:

    SPOILERS AHEAD:

    It was predictable from the start since it followed all the cliched sequences. The first moment the name Hector was given I thought he must be the killer because he is the only character besides the mother to be tied to the victim. Then the lead actor mentions they are looking for a name with initials of HE and I was like no duh Sherlock it’s Hector … so it was way on the nose for my liking and lacked mystery.

    The show has a ludicrous plot point of a cop burning evidence which I just didn’t see the motivation for such an act. If he is a good cop and wanted to keep a murderer in prison he would also be tormented if he had kept an innocent man in jail so in essence he would be motivated to see if his point of view had factual merit. If he was racist the guy didn’t come off as one.

    Additionally I personally couldn’t get behind the lead character’s devil may care attitude and I know they wanted to make her come off as a female Dr. House but there wasn’t a personal demon that made her redeemable. All I saw was a spoiled brat who gets people to bail her out with a new lucrative opportunity … how many of us can go to jail and walk out with a new powerful job? Only those in power who are elite who are in a position of empty career advancement would see the job given to her as onerous as she did. The horrible attitude she displays as she is foisted over a more qualified team of people and those who merited the top job all because of modern day nepotism and corruption is disturbing. When did nepotism become a trait in Hollywood that gets a lovely polishing for the turd it is? Top of the class, 95% conviction rate blah blah … a crack head is a crack head … talk about political liability right? Yet she is placed in charge of investigating people who may have been wrongfully placed in jail for maybe even lesser crimes than the lead. How is this good story making? This view point that the rich and powerful are out there fighting for justice on behalf of the little guy is just a continuation of the savior complex of the elite … I’m sure the CEO’s of Banks feel they saved the American economy from a recession for which admittedly they started so I wonder when we’ll see a show about the benevolent Bankers?

    How the first episodes’ case was chosen nonchalantly when the other cases presented were also equally good or how a non-scientific pig larvae study could withstand the scrutiny of the court or how a time of death from the coroner wasn’t done precisely without giving further explanation are some of the plot holes you could drive a truck through. Look I get the justice system makes egregious mistakes from time to time but I think they should focus more on the process of how the system at times can railroad a defendant. Trying to overturn the results from a flawed system on a fictionalized TV show makes you feel warm and fuzzy but it is a disservice to the truth since it doesn’t teach the viewer of the many ways people get railroaded by the justice system. Saying of the cuff that a forensics team member was habitually drunk is moot we the audience expect a cathartic experience and it should be one that explains how for example a simple death in the family of a forensics team member led him to drink, led him to make mistakes, led him to cover his tracks or double down on a mistake all because he didn’t want a reprimand or demotion or suspension etc. How a good cop once he gets blinders on a suspect can laser focus on one suspect and not go after any other new leads or bury leads that counter the narrative that is forming. How eye witness mistakes occur more often then we let on. How technology like GPS is our generation of DNA giving suspects a new avenue of alibi.

    I think it is a waste if the show is focused on making the cult of the lead actress the driver of the show since a Dr. House like personality just doesn’t fit. It should be a team based show and her skillset should evolve with the show. Making her the Dr. House equivalent for crime without introducing us to her and her backstory on a Crime show is just a bad format. Dr. House can have a god complex since he saves imminently dying patients … she goes to galas and chooses what dress to wear and has a political backdrop … the show is just not focused enough to merit a savior complex. By the end of the show I was still trying to guess what drives the hero what what are her deep held convictions … Dr. House always reminded us “Every patient lies!” what is this character’s personal narrative? If I can’t relate, empathize, sympathize or even understand then I’m sorry the show’s pilot failed to capture my attention.

    Lastly I couldn’t tell whether she was making a threat or flirting in the last scene. Neither was appropriate and it was just weird … totally an unnecessary plot point evolution.

  39. the nuclear witch says:

    After watching women maim and kill men on Gotham, and then a female historian who’s the center of a massive plot (along with her dying mom and missing sister, this show’s female chest-thumping and Peggy Atwell’s customary disdain for all things male really rubbed me the wrong way!!! I understand that women’s roles in society have advanced greatly but do I really need to be reminded of it in every show I watch? Women still have male relatives they love and respect in the real world, but TV makes it seem that all women are powerful members of society who spawn only other similarly empowered women in a form of “dynasticizing” that totally distracts from whatever the show is about. That said, I deleted this show and all future recordings until such time as the show becomes more important than the agenda.

  40. Donna Seymore says:

    The only problem I found was the music was too loud.

  41. William Wells says:

    Great group of actors leading lady very dry drab stories not interesting

  42. Sabrina says:

    This comment is intended for ep 12 and 6 and it represents my opinion on this epsodes.

    **** Spoilers Ahead ****

    00:32 Metro Station, Muslim, Big Bag, bomb inside the bag, claim not guilty. Considering this show track record it took me 1 seconds to deduct that the final convict will be white male probably young. Skipped ahead guess what, it was a young white male. This show has some bigoted views, no wonder I could guess so fast, why not spin the race wheel and just pin it randomly, oh look an Asian put a bomb and framed a Muslim :)) that would have been a surprise I would have never guessed that, but no it is always the dreaded white male, it is not the first time either, same thing happened with ep6. blm black women wrong imprisonment for killing white woman cop, oh it was a white guy after all. You see my drift ?
    This show: known trouble makers in a minority, nope it was a white guy all along. I really wonder why this got canceled…