Rosewood: Chestnut and Ortiz Rise Above the Material!

ROSEWOOD: Morris Chestnut as Beaumont Rosewood, Jr. in the "Pilot" series premiere episode of ROSEWOOD airing Wednesday, Sept. 23 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Eddy Chen/FOX.
ROSEWOOD: Morris Chestnut as Beaumont Rosewood, Jr. in the “Pilot” series premiere episode of ROSEWOOD airing Wednesday, Sept. 23 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Eddy Chen/FOX.

FOX’s Rosewood (Wednesday, 8/7) is a procedural teaming a ‘private pathologist’ with a Miami detective. Do they solve crimes? Damn Skippy!

Does the show work? Well, the pilot suggests possibilities – mostly variations on buddy/cop shows where the partners start off not getting along but having chemistry – but despite the potential for clichés, the chemistry (there’s that word again) between Morris Chestnut (as Dr. Beaumont Rosewood Jr.) and Jaina Lee Ortiz (as Detective Karissa Villa) may – I repeat, may – make up for its missteps while the show finds its rhythm.

In the pilot, Rosey (as he prefers to be called) solves what looks like a potential murder while jogging – much to the dismay of the detective, Willett (Anthony Michael Hall), on the scene – and the relief of the overworked Medical Examiner.

When his mother (Lorraine Toussaint) comes to him with the suspicious death of ‘the best soprano’ in her choir (her family feels something is off with the coroner’s verdict) – which leads us to see Rosey’s team in action. That team is Tara Milly Izikoff aka TMI (Anna Konkle) and his sister, Pippy (Gabrielle Dennis) – and the private facility that hides behind the brightly colored, adobe-looking exterior is filled with all the latest tools of his trade (this is a cool set even if we’ve seen similar ones on other shows).

Rosey’s findings cause him to seek out the detective on the case and inform her of them. She is not impressed – at first. But, well, y’know…

ROSEWOOD: Pictured L-R: Gabrielle Dennis as Pippy Rosewood, Jaina Lee Ortiz as Detective Villa, Morris Chestnut as Beaumont Rosewood, Jr. and Anna Konkle as Tara Milly Izikoff aka TMI in the "Pilot" series premiere episode of ROSEWOOD airing Wednesday, Sept. 23 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jeff Daly/FOX.
ROSEWOOD: Pictured L-R: Gabrielle Dennis as Pippy Rosewood, Jaina Lee Ortiz as Detective Villa, Morris Chestnut as Beaumont Rosewood, Jr. and Anna Konkle as Tara Milly Izikoff aka TMI in the “Pilot” series premiere episode of ROSEWOOD airing Wednesday, Sept. 23 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jeff Daly/FOX.

At first gasp, Rosewood looks and feels like it’s going to be a breezy, blue skies kind of show – and it is partly that – but there are darker undercurrents that provide moments of considerable drama (like the heart surgery scar running down the middle of Rosey’s chest). At least the pastels remind of the even sleeker late (and definitely lamented) Miami Vice.

The big problem with Rosewood is that it insists on what it perceives to be its differences. I can’t remember how many times Rosey mentions he’s a ‘private pathologist,’ but it gets annoying after a while – especially since everywhere you look there seems to be a billboard advertising the fact.

A smaller problem is that, despite that chemistry between Chestnut and Ortiz, their banter barely exceeds the level of ‘Is,’ ‘Isn’t’ – or ‘Did’ ‘Didn’t.’ Really – the best exchange in the ep is this: him: “I’m the ying, you’re the yang!” Her, “You’re oil, I’m water.”

Essentially, the best thing about Rosewood is that it showcases Chestnut and Ortiz’s charisma.

It’s a fast-paced hour that is, mostly, undemanding fun and might possibly be a decent show for relaxing to after a hard day at work – but if it doesn’t up its game quickly, it could also be an early ratings casualty.

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