Rosewood premieres Wednesday, Sept. 23 on FOX at 8/7 C.
With 39 shows premiering this week alone, it's a particularly brutal time for pilots. To survive the onslaught, these newbies will have to create buzz and grab viewers quickly or fade into early cancellation. Rosewood, which debuts on Wednesday, Sept. 23, has a few elements in its favor. First, it airs right before Empire's season 2 premiere. With Empire taking TV by storm last year and expectations high for its new season, Rosewood has a prime spot on the schedule without a whole lot of competition for its target demo. It also boasts an impressively diverse cast. Still the bulk of the show's future rests on its lead, Morris Chestnut. Chestnut, who gained fame through movies like Boyz n the Hood, The Game Plan, and recently The Best Man Holiday, has also had secondary TV roles in V, American Horror Story, and Nurse Jackie. Rosewood is his first leading role and the show is largely resting on his natural charisma to bring in viewers. It's a tough job because the story itself has little to offer in terms of ingenuity or surprise. While not a bad show in the least, it is a fairly typical one that likely won't generate much buzz on its own mostly because there is little to distinguish it from a myriad of other procedural cop shows. Rosewood is yet another series with a non-cop specialist partnered with a detective of the opposite sex, which will likely end in the two partners hooking up at some point. If it lasts that long, that is.
Opening with eye candy, a shirtless Dr. Beaumont Rosewood, Jr. runs along the Miami coastline. It is immediately clear that he has heart issues given the huge scar down his torso and the thudding heartbeat that drowns out the background music. He's also incredibly smart. Jogging past a crime scene, he clears a prostitute of murder, declares the "murder" a suicide, and ticks off the lead detective all in under one minute. Like many before him (House, Bones, The Mentalist, Monk) Rosewood is the foremost leader in his field, which in this case is pathology. Unlike these though, he also has a personality that lets him be part of the human race. He remembers birthdays, shakes hands, and oozes more charm than a politician in campaign season. It's an easygoing if over the top allure that sucks most people in…except Dr. Grayson, his mentor played by Clancy Brown. Grayson hates that Rosewood has gone into private pathology with an emphasis on technology instead of staying with the medical examiner's office and using his instincts. He does need Rosewood though to perform an autopsy on his niece, who died in a car crash when her speeding SVU drove off the highway and into the ocean. Grayson thinks it's suspicious given that she hated driving and avoided all major highways. Rosewood agrees to take the case and after an extremely short examination, he agrees with Grayson and heads to the police station to inform them that Nora's death was no accident. The lead detective kicks him over to Detective Annalise Villa, newly returned to Miami from NYC. Not impressed by Rosewood's charms, Villa attempts to leave him behind at every junction in the case which takes them to the young elite of Miami. The case is nothing special but Villa is another tough, capable cop along the lines of Kate Beckett in Castle. She takes down criminals like a pro and doesn't care about blurring the lines to get the information she needs. In one of the best scenes, she prays for the suspect while holding him down and threatening him.
All in all, Rosewood is indistinguishable from all the other crime procedurals out there that rely on the chemistry between its two leads to survive. It will live or die on how charming viewers find Chestnut. While he is more than capable in the role, I don't think it will be enough to create the kind of loyal following the show will need to get to season 2 unless it can find some way to distinguish itself from the rest of the field quickly. They have a start by giving Rosewood actual people skills instead of hiding him behind his specialty or making him too much of a douche. His confidence does cross the line into obnoxious sometimes but that is easily remedied by toning him down around females and playing up potential bromances. Mostly Rosewood is for fans of shows like Castle, Bones, and The Mentalist - those who focus on shipping elements the most - or those whose favorite procedural has ended and are looking for another case of the week cop show.
Audience - shippers who like procedurals and a decent dose of eye candy
TV Formula - Castle's setup + Bones' science/tech + House's genius + actual people skills = Rosewood
Best Reason to Watch - Chestnut oozes charm and some scenes will make you laugh
Best Character - Villa
Best Character Interaction - Rosewood and Grayson
Best Scene - Villa interrogates Juju
Least Surprising - Villa's husband…
Least Likely to Hold Up in Court - everything on the boat
MVP - the music
Best Eye Candy - Morris Chestnut running shirtless, scar or not
Biggest Cliché - yet another non-cop solving crimes with a police detective, most likely to hook up by season one's finale because there's no way they let a male and female partnership remain platonic
Most Original - records made……
The "It's a Fine Line" Award - between charming and smugly overbearing. Rosewood walks that line pretty tightly in the pilot but he's one toe away from becoming the arrogant, obnoxious genius that I hate in other shows.
The "Welcome Back" Award - Clancy Brown (the beloved Corbin on Sleepy Hollow) and Morris Chestnut (originally from Boyz in the Hood and recently from Legends, Nurse Jackie, American Horror Story, and V)
"Be honest. Did you kill Juju?" "No but we bonded in a meaningful way." "I don't want to know what that means…"
"Detective Willard, long time no see. How's the wife and kids?" "They hate me and I hate you."
"Don't get yourself killed while catching the bad guy tonight."
"Hair and nail growth after death is normal. Color change after death is super weird."
"How do we feel about a 9 year old working the grill?" "I feel great. Better her than me."
"How was the workout? I'm exhausted."
"It's all good but let's not forget, Nora. She lost her life. Always remind yourself that each day's a gift. It'll help you on your path to being a better man and less of a jacka**."
"It's undeniable. We make a great team."
"She's at pole dancing class getting ready for our honeymoon." "Oh, I really didn't need to know that." "Me either." "Haters to my left and my right. Just saying."
"So yes, I have a unique relationship with death but it has never been my obsession. My obsession is with every breath I take."
"Stop smelling the suspect."
"You need help from a pro." "Say amen. Don't disrespect the Lord." "Amen. Okay, amen." "Now you're gonna tell me everything you know. Otherwise I'm gonna drag you back to the Jacuzzi and baptize your shifty a** in a very un-Christian sort of way. Now you want to start talking."
Check out Rosewood Wednesday, Sept. 23 on FOX at 8/7 C.
Screencaps from FOX