Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A New TV Series about a Mediator?

When I started with this blog I certainly did not think I would be posting about TV shows. But a blog by Professor Jill Gross of Pace Law School in the ADR Prof Blog has definitely piqued my interest. From the USA Network, she blogged, the cable channel that broadcasts Monk and Burn Notice, coming soon, is a new TV show.

Apparently the USA cable network is getting ready to broadcast a series based on a mediator. Yes, you read that correctly, a mediator. According to the network, Facing Kate focuses on Kate, a divorced lawyer who leaves her job to become a mediator. If the show is realistic, I assume they will show Kate as impecunious and always hustling for paying jobs.

This is the same cable network that has produced two of my kids’ favorite TV shows, Monk –- a series about an OCD detective set in San Francisco and Burn Notice –- a series about a fired spy ("burned" by his employer) trying to regain his position with Miami and its bikini-clad residents very much center stage. In both of these, and I believe other shows on the USA Network, quirky characters and the venue are significant aspects of the formula.

I am willing –- reluctantly –- to admit that I have watched and enjoyed both shows -– Burn Notice a lot and Monk quite often. They have appealed to me because the characters seem more "realistic" while at the same time they are –- as in most of TV-land –- funny, smart and always ready with the right quip. Sort of like in West Wing. Not particularly realistic, but with intelligence and sense of humor, just as you would expect from a mediator. Right.

I worry, however, that the show will take the easy way out. And for good reason.

The press release announcing the show states that the main character, Kate, “… realized that truth and justice are not always being found in the court room. As a mediator, you lose a lot of constraints of the law, you’re a referee in a room with no rules.”

They go on to describe Kate as a unique and inventive lead character. I can only imagine what they will do with this. This does not leave me with good feelings about the likely verisimilitude of the series.

But then I guess that real spies are not thrilled with Burn Notice, the Miami venue and bikinis and San Francisco detectives cannot appreciate the way they are portrayed in Monk.

At least, set in San Francisco, the scenery will be beautiful.

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