Pearson premiere review: Gina Torres leads the way in Suits spin-off

PearsonThe Pearson premiere does a great job of establishing the sort of show that it is, the perspective it plans on having, and also what makes it stand out from the flagship show Suits. This is a premiere that is ready and willing to dive into the dirty games of Chicago politics and a world where characters will do everything that they can to try to get ahead — Jessica knows that and she’s ready for the fight.

For much of the premiere the former name partner at the firm in New York — the one you know so well from Suits — is working to show that she can work under Chicago Mayor Bobby Novak in hopes of getting him what he wants. She’s a little like a jack-of-all-trades. She’s not just a fixer, and she’s also not a politician. She’s not operating in the capacity of a lawyer either. What she is doing is finding a way to solve some problems while making sure that the Mayor looks good in the process.

Through most of the premiere, we see Jessica do her best to work the system in Chicago — even if it means going rogue and doing stuff that Novak didn’t even authorize her to do. That includes working to ensure that a new project gets underway that will have positive ramifications for him in the future. She thinks outside the box and she challenges authority — though not everyone likes it.

Take, for example, the relationship between Jessica and Keri Allen — who is both a prominent attorney and also someone who has a romantic connection to the Mayor. She doesn’t appreciate Novak having someone like Jessica around who she’s got such a history with already, and it feels like this could be one of the premiere’s central rivalries in a sea of them. She’s always been under the surface the second-in-command to the Mayor in terms of influence. If that changes, what becomes of her?

For those who do remember Jessica’s love interest Jeff Malone, he does make an appearance in the premiere — though it seems like he and Jessica are in conflict for most of the episode. Because of DB Woodside’s other gig on Lucifer, we’re not sure just how many opportunities we’re going to have in order to see Jeff on Pearson  throughout the season. Maybe the fighting’s leading to a much more permanent split, even though that is definitely something that we don’t want to end up seeing. We like Jeff too much and remember him and Jessica in the happy times.

Through the premiere, Jessica shows that she is ready to fight on the big Chicago stages — but also that not everyone is 100% eager to welcome her there. She’s going to have problems and she better be ready to deal with them.

CarterMatt Verdict

Pearson does lack a little bit of that charm and wit that you see on Suits and there is a part of us that misses that. A part of what made the original show stand apart was its tone. Pearson does have a lot going for it in terms of Gina Torres’ excellence and a script that seems to be smartly-written and well thought-out. Whether or not it does enough to differentiate itself from other shows with political angles — especially in Chicago where we have Dick Wolf’s entire Chicago series going on — is what they’re going to have to figure out.

On the negative side, the conflict between Jessica and Jeff was too sudden and beyond Novak, Keri, and of course Jessica herself, we need some more time to spend with the supporting players. Not enough of them are popping just yet.

Related News Check out some more thoughts on Pearson, including a preview for what’s next

What did you think about the Pearson premiere?

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