Photo: Linda Kallerus / NBC

How Long Did Taxi Brooklyn Take To Drive Sarah Up A Wall?

NBC's new cop joint puts the 'hack' back in 'hack license.'

High-Profile Show Attempted: Taxi Brooklyn

Topic: An IMDb correspondent describes the show as "an action-comedy police procedural centered on the fractious, closely bonded partnership between a streetwise Marseilles-born New York City taxi driver and an intensely driven NYPD detective for whom this immigrant cabbie becomes chauffeur, insider on the streets, and unofficial partner."

Caitlyn "Cat" Sullivan is the detective in question, but not for long, as the pilot sees her busted back to patrol after yet another car wreck (her third in a month) sends yet another partner (her fifth in the last calendar year) stomping for the exits. ...Apparently; I didn't get that far, but it seems the other participant in the chase, Leo Romba, is a cabbie who's suspiciously good at high-speed law-enforcement-style driving and just happens to get taken hostage by a fleeing perp, but doesn't have his DHS papers in order. Sullivan agrees to help Leo Romba straighten his shit out in exchange for rides and intel as she tries to solve her father's murder.

...Yeah. That.

How Far I Expected To Get: I'd expected to ignore it entirely. The series is adapted from a French film franchise directed by Luc Besson, but I don't think so well of him that I'd try a summer burn-off starring Ally Walker. But this morning I was greeted with an email from my esteemed colleague Tara Ariano, quoted here in its entirety: "Please do something on this for tomorrow I bet it's awful thank you xoxo[.]"

A glance at the cast -- Chyler Leigh, sporting a poor-man's-Julianne-Nicholson pixie; Bill Heck, who looks like someone grew him in a lab for the purpose of portraying stood-up grooms on Without A Trace -- wasn't encouraging. I switched browser windows back to Hulu just in time to see the hacky frame-drop time-lapse chopper shot of the Manhattan skyline we've seen a thousand times. Maybe show the Brooklyn skyline, guys? It is in fact distinct from its 212 neighbor.

How Far I Did Get


What Did It: It wasn't the coy non-sequiturd exposition forced into the mouth of José Zúñiga as her latest luckless partner, during a high-speed chase that ends with a broken nose for his Detective Esposito but isn't so fast-moving that he can't wail, "You driving is not part of the deal! I only partnered with you because of your father!" It wasn't that you can't lose a suspect in Dumbo at a subway stop where the F train comes in at an elevated platform (you could conceivably explain that away with some cobbly corner of Gowanus; it wouldn't matter).

It wasn't Sullivan's pointlessly combative response to "please call me Leo": "Don't tell me what to do." It wasn't even Sullivan snarling at Leo to stow the French charm "thing" with this dated gem: "That may appeal to college girls and Brooklyn bimbettes, but you're just another D-bag A-hole to me." Emphasis Leigh's, regrettably, though it's not her fault that networks gotta pretend 5-0 don't curse, and I'm sure I don't know which actor might successfully sell "Brooklyn bimbettes" as a concept, a la Tom Wolfe's social X-rays, that might actually exist. I mean: "bimbettes." Who wrote that scene, the First Wives' Club?

It wasn't even the rest of that endless, phony, unfunny-despite-plucky-guitar-strings "interrogation," which Leo finally wraps up after about six weeks of baseless accusations from Sullivan re: his "accomplice" by saying, no shitsies, "NOW I remember" -- he recorded the whole thing on his tablet. Which he left in the cab and is not with his personal items? Because apparently he wasn't processed, because he's not under arrest, just affably cuffed Barney Miller-stylee to Sullivan's desk chair? And after being falsely accused all the way down to the station and over to her desk and for ages after that, when part of the show's premise is that he's not in the country legally and presumably wants therefore to subtract himself from this situation ASAP, HE JUST NOW REMEMBERS that he has digital proof he wasn't part of the crime? (And by the way, said "crime" on the perp's part seems to consist of leaving the diner where Sullivan was lurking up behind him with her gun drawn, while civilians ate breakfast all around her. Chrissake.)

No, what finally broke me is Sullivan sniffing, "You have no alibi or witness to prove otherwise." Uh, what? ..."Alibi"? The fuck does he need an alibi for -- he isn't claiming he wasn't there, he's claiming he was forced to drive recklessly at gunpoint. And he actually does have a witness for that, you stupid cow: YOU. And Esposito, who screamed "GUN" 82 times when he wasn't letting us know you're Taking! It! Personally!

And the taxi's GPS and/or LoJack would prove easily whether he was cruising for fares or sitting outside the diner waiting as the getaway car, but why let logic or procedure get in the way of a wacky misunderstanding?

Worth Taking Another Run At It? No. Now if you'll pardon me, I have a bee I need to mail to Los Angeles, TARA.

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