CBS this Thursday premiered its loose adaptation of Training Day, the 2001 movie starring Denzel Washington as an unarguably corrupt lawman mentoring a comparatively “cleaner” cop in Ethan Hawke.
Picking up “15 years after the events of the feature film” (CBS tells us), the TV reboot stars Bill Paxton (Big Love) as Detective Frank Rourke, the maverick head of the LAPD’s Special Investigation Section. Justin Cornwell in turn plays Kyle Craig, a “golden boy” cop who, fresh off a heroic, public rescue, is tasked by Deputy Chief Lockhart (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) with posing as Frank’s trainee and then reporting on his legendary, off-book “methods.”
Having been on the job “since O.J. was doing Hertz commercials,” Frank is loaded with wisdom-filled chestnuts such as “Bullets either go in bad guys or you end up wearing them,” “It’s better to be judged by 12 than carried by six” and “If you want to fight monsters, you have to become one yourself.” (He got that last one from his teammate Rebecca’s sister Talia, apparently.) As for Kyle, since every TV lawyer/cop got into their profession to right a personal wrong and or solve Dad/Mom’s murder, he is haunted by the partial license plate he keeps “tattooed” on his wrist, believing it will one day lead him to the perpetrator of the “botched holdup” during which his lawman father got killed.
Frank’s “rogue” ways are illustrated by his propensity to set a drug mule’s home afire/pepper those fleeing with foam bullets, then lock one of the goons (the Training Day movie’s Moreno, natch) in his car trunk. But such actions are offset by his gifting a street rat with a “trust fund” seeded by stolen drug money. See, he’s not that bad!
Along with SIS team members Rebecca (Katrina Law) and Tommy (Drew Van Acker), Frank and Kyle’s first case together involves the armed intercept of an ambulance carrying incarcerated drug lord Menjivar, and the slain cops the ambush leaves behind‚ Kyle’s former partner included. (We barely got to re-know ye, Lindsey McKeon!) As SIS dives into their investigation, which includes rooting out Menjivar’s rival, Rios, we meet along the way “Hollywood madam” Holly Butler (Julie Benz), with whom Frank is in a “relationship,” and Kyle’s wife Alyse (Lex Scott Davis).
When Kyle gets abducted by Menjivar and is briefly interrogated inside The Chamber of 1,000 Candles, Frank gets the idea to trade the kingpin’s main squeeze (hey, it’s NCIS: LA‘s Anna Kolchek!) for his trainee. Frank also arranges for Rios’ gang to descend upon the remote meet-up, allowing the cops to ally with Menjivar and take down the up-and-comers. During the skirmish, Kyle comes face to face with the mercenary who gunned down his former partner, but he arrests versus takes him down.
Once the dust has settled, Frank reveals to Kyle that his slain father had been his partner back in the day, and that on the night he died, he left Frank a cryptic message indicting that he had stumbled upon something big. Frank was unable to stop his partner from getting killed, but suspects that the “partial plate” on Kyle’s wrist is actually a code of some sort. And in fact the letters and numbers to a bible verse which points Kyle to a spot in a community garden where his dad buried a key — but to what?