In Conviction, a former president’s daughter is blackmailed into heading up a team to look into possible wrongful convictions by an ambitious DA. The team’s first case is a young black man who was convicted of killing his girlfriend eight years before.
The team is: former First Daughter, Hayes Morrison (Hayley Atwell); the DA, connor Wallace (Eddie Cahill); the ADA who was originally supposed to lead the unit, Sam Spencer (Shawn Ashmore); a veteran investigator who spent twenty years as a police detective, Maxine Bohen (Merrin Dungey); a Hispanic man who served time in prison and has become a forensics expert, Franklin ‘Frankie Cruz (Manny Montana) , and a young woman who has a firsthand knowledge of the unreliability of eyewitnesses, Tess Larson (Emily Kinney).
The premise sounds a bit out there, but the pilot is a solid mystery and the machinations of the DA and the former First Daughter combine with the expertise of the team to give what could have been just another procedural a unique feel. The cast is decent enough (Atwell, given an intriguing character, is outstanding), but not playing in the same league as their star.
The biggest problem is that we’ve seen this (or something like it) before. Another is Hayes’ rapid turnaround attitude-wise. She goes from ‘Working these pointless cases with you, that’s my prison.’ To gung ho with almost no intermediate step – and considering that she was blackmailed into leading the team, that’s a big leap.
One really huge plus is that Hayes is smart enough to figure out a way to get out from under her blackmailer – but not until she’s solved the case and gotten hooked on the job.
Over all, the bones of the show are solid and, while there’s plenty of room for growth, the flawed premiere is still pretty entertaining.