With its Goliath TV series, the giant Amazon has produced another strong contender in the “original series” category. It’s a legal thriller starring Billy Bob Thornton as Billy Bob Thornton – I mean, Billy McBride – a washed out loner and lawyer with a crusty heart of gold and a fondness for whiskey. Sound original? No, it doesn’t, and there are absolutely no fresh ideas in Goliath. Despite this, you’ll find yourself clicking on the next episode as quickly as you turn the pages in a Scott Turow or John Grisham paperback.
That’s largely because Goliath, the TV series, was created by David E. Kelley, producer and writer of many successful TV shows dating back to LA Law in the 1980s. The experience shows. With a good budget and a particularly excellent cast (for a TV series), Goliath is a very entertaining story, even if you are only slightly surprised by the twists and turns that happen along the way.
There is little time wasted in Goliath. Almost immediately, a big case falls in McBride’s lap. He has the chance to take on his old law firm, a huge entity that still bears his name, as they represent a colossal corporation that serves as a defense contractor in the war on terror. Given the stakes and the resources each side has, McBride and his ragtag team of assistants are almost like David taking on – okay, it’s all too obvious, but it doesn’t make the show any less fun.
McBride’s counterpart at his old firm is Donald Cooperman, played by William Hurt. He stays cooped up (like his name, of course) in a dark office, where the scars on his face stay in the shadows. He’s almost like a Dick Tracy comic book villain, but Hurt brings some needed restraint and nuance to the role. Likewise, Maria Bello and Molly Parker are comfortable and believable – particularly Bello – in their parts as attorneys serving in the Cooperman McBride firm.
Still, Goliath is Billy Bob Thornton’s show. He’s in most of the scenes, and the success of the series largely comes down to whether or not you buy him as McBride. He wears the role easily, and if it seems almost effortless on his part, then all the better.
You may not quite believe some of the finer points of the plot or legal proceedings that take place, but with everything else the series has going for it, that’s okay. Goliath is less complex than Amazon’s other in-house crime drama, Bosch. The netTVwatch review team found this the more enjoyable of the two.
Currently streaming on Amazon Prime, the Goliath TV series has eight episodes that clock in at an hour each. It’s another sign of restraint and smart editing, as the show easily could have been padded out to 10 or 12 episodes. There has been no official word about Goliath season 2. There is some speculation that it may be like HBO’s True Detective, with an entirely new story and cast each season.