Can’t Knock The Hustle
Episode 1 of Reasonable Doubt starts with a woman being held at gunpoint, the camera jumping wildly between extreme close up and medium shots. A gun is held to this woman’s face as she prepares for the worst. A gunshot breaks her frantic praying.
6 months earlier we cut to this very woman, Jax, preparing for a big day ahead. She’s raising her two kids and has a big day ahead of her, as she civilly attends church with her partner Lewis. They both sit and make fun of a woman going through chemo, before Jax skips out on the Pastor’s speech to return a call to a fellow lawyer.
The guy’s name is Mark Noonan, calling back from Kender and Franklin, the lawyer firm. He has a new client, Madison Stiles, who claims she was assaulted by one of Jax’s clients, Devin MacDonald. Apparently they met at a club, she went back to his place and he exposed himself to her. She ran out scared and is now pressing charges.
Jax scoffs at the claims, writing it off as her just trying to extort him and making a quick buck. She eventually hangs up and goes back inside with her family.
Jax shows up at work and immediately believes Macdonald’s side of the story. She also rolls her eyes at the idea of attending a big meeting, telling her coworker she wants to stay on the “black side of the office” rather than sitting in with the bigwigs. Anyway, they have a new client called Miller and want Jax to be part of the A-team for this.
As Jax works on behalf of celebrity clients, it appears to brings heat on the family. Lewis organizes security detail to keep watch of the house, as well as keeping security cameras inside. They aren’t officially together anymore either, with some big unspoken drama between them that I’m sure we’re going to explore more of across the season.
The crux of the issue though is that Jax resents Lewis for leaving her 3 months back because of how dangerous her job is. She believes this is a smokescreen to the real issue – masculine insecurity; Lewis can’t stand that she has a high paying and high-flying job. Lewis refuses to elaborate and wants to have an earnest talk but Jax simply retorts back with “n*gga, bye.” Eventually their conversation ends with Jax removing her wedding ring.
That night, Jax opens up her secret stash of cigarettes and decides to smoke out the window. Will, the hired security guard, is outside and the two exchange glances with one another.
At work, Jax meets Mr Miller alongside Richard Reed, her colleague. Brayden Miller has a sensitive matter related to his liquor company. He’s on the cusp of becoming a billionaire but he has an issue with a former colleague, Kaleesha Moore. She has company secrets that could derail the whole endeavour.
Kaleesha is apparently EVP of Sales and Branding, second in power to the CFO. Kaleesha is claiming that Brayden sexually assaulted her. As for Miller, he admits to having sex with her and points out that although it was rough at times, it was consensual.
Brayden eventually let her go from the company because it clouded their professional relationship and she became irrational. Now that she’s gone, Kaleesha wants money. Jax though suggests that Kaleesha just wants an apology. She goes on to throw shade at Miller, scoffing at the idea of drawing up an NDA, claiming sexual assault is a crime.
Jax soon learns that Madison Stiles has a history of making money off rich men, using their reputation as a means of lining her own pockets. Jax brings up Madison’s history and believes Devin should confront Madison and make an example of her. Part of this comes from messaging Madsion from his phone, offering a fully paid vacation – which is essentially entrapment given the messages are leaked with her reply – but Jax shrugs it off, claiming it’s done the trick and changed public sentiment.
After seemingly wrapping everything up with this, Jax turns her attention back to Kaleesha Moore, wanting dirt against her and tasking Daniel, her personal detective, to dig into this.
When Jax heads home, she receives news that a guy called Damon Cooke is up for parole and he’s going to admit to murder. Apparently their relationship is “strictly professional” but it’s very clear, especially when she visits him and he holds her hands, it’s not. She promises never to speak to him again if he admits to the murder.
That night, we find out that Lewis is actually watching Jax remotely from the security cameras he’s set up around the house. He heads outside when Jax shows up drunk, and things get hot and heavy between them in the car. They only kiss but when Jax wants more, Lewis blows her off with a simple “Good night, Jax”.
Kaleesha shows up at the office the next day and decides to throw away the NDA and not sign. She bemoans Jax on the way in, claiming she should have been present at the time. Jax immediately heads off to compose herself, while Rich delivers the bad news to Mr Miller, telling him he needs to hire a PR firm given Kaleesha is going onto Good Morning America and going to blow this whole case wide open.
While Damon gets his parole and is allowed to go free, Jax gets drunk at a family gathering and decides to leave the kids with Lewis. He points out that she’s selfish and always looks out for herself. Jax is silent.
When she heads home, Jax ends up having sex with Will, the security guard, knowing that Lewis is watching her on the security camera. And they both seem to exchange a knowing look too.
As the episode closes out, Rich rings Jax and delivers some bad news. Kaleesha has been declared dead.
The Episode Review
Reasonable Doubt gets off to a rather rocky start, with plenty of melodrama and a good deal of discussion about race. While some of this is well implemented into the story, other times it feels like social commentary for the sake of it, without a reasonable explanation. A good example of this is the way Jax segregates her own office, claiming that there’s a “black side” and a “white side.”
She bemoans going to the big meeting, despite clearly being well respected by her peers and offered A-list clients. She makes a few jabs about not being paid the same and being the “token” among them but we see nothing to suggest this after that. She’s given a lot of leeway, she’s clearly very successful and even told that she’s one of the best workers they have. So why is Jax herself putting these invisible barriers for herself there?
I’m guessing this show may be going the route of giving Jax humility over the season and levelling her character out to being a fairer judge of character and more likable protagonist, but we’ll have to wait and see on that front.
In a year that’s given us a lot of law dramas already, both in the west and from Asia, Reasonable Doubt seems like a doubtful proposition for an outstanding drama but we’ll have to wait and see.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|