Rosewood Full Season

Does Fox's Rosewood Have a Pulse?

In the premiere of Fox’s Rosewood on Wednesday, we learned what a private pathologist is and does. Many times. We even learned his fee! But is this latest wrinkle on the buddy cop/medical drama what the doctor ordered?

Up front, let’s acknowledge how fantastic it is to see Morris Chestnut fronting a series. The guy has paid his dues with co-starring roles on V, Legends, Nurse Jackie, and here his innate charm serves him well, seeing as Dr. Beaumont Rosewood — the “Beethoven of private pathologists” — is overflowing with swagger and style.

Because the body count apparently can get high in Miami, the M.E. can get overwhelmed and — again, apparently — there is the sometime need for a freelance pathologist such as Rosie, whose face is plastered on many a billboard. (Who here checked where AutopsyInc.com takes you?) And though the senior Miami PD detective played by Anthony Michael Hall has little patience for Rosewood’s antics and intrusion on crime scenes, others on the force appreciate the helping hand. Since, you know, the guy is brilliant at his job and all.

The pilot efficiently sets up the premise by allying Rosewood with Det. Annalise Villa (played by Jaina Lee Ortiz), a Miami native who has returned from a New York City stint for reasons we learn later. Villia’s intro is a bit heavy-handed with the kickboxing, unfounded bullheadedness and all, but over time she of course comes to see that Rosie’s expertise is more often than not on point, as they collaborate to solve a drug-related murder that was disguised as a driving accident.

Along the way, we meet Rosewood’s mother Donna (Forever‘s Lorraine Toussaint) and his lab assistants Pippy (The Game‘s Gabrielle Dennis), who’s also his sister, and her fiancee Tara (Anna Konkle). The convenience of that workplace set-up is quite a leap and checks many boxes, but I was more distracted by the Star Trek-like gizmos this private practitioner has at his disposal. But I guess $6,500-an-autopsy adds up…?

Pippy suspects her brother has a thing for the new detective, and she is right. And the partners in crimesolving do share a chemistry. At first, Rosewood/we are led to believe that Villa is married, but as she reveals toward the end, her husband up and died one random morning nine months ago, hence her (sad) Miami homecoming.

Rosewood, too, has his own “secret,” which ostensibly is the series’ very special twist on the standard set-up: Because of a congenital heart defect, two holes in his pumper that he was born prematurely with, he has maybe 10 years left to live. Ergo his fixation on his work.

Is Rosewood bad? No. Is it slight? Oh yes, as light and fizzy as one of the candy-colored drinks flowing in any of the party scenes. But maybe something airy is what one needs before diving into Empire‘s saturated insanity come 9 pm?