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TV Series Review

You've heard about the "good cop, bad cop" routine, right? K-Ville, Fox's new police drama, has a whole new take on it. Meet Trevor Cobb (Cole Hauser), an escaped felon who drowned his old cellmate and was on the lam for two years before becoming a member of New Orleans' finest. He's the good cop.

His partner, Marlin Boulet (Anthony Anderson), has loyalty issues. Deserted by his previous partner amid post-Katrina chaos, Marlin also resents the fact that his wife and daughter fled to Atlanta. He's a man on the edge, slamming down double bourbons while on duty and torturing a suspect to loosen his tongue. (It turns out the guy—being innocent and all—just didn't have much to say.) Such is the moral ambiguity of K-Ville, where the good guys aren't that good and bad guys are profiled by the bulge of their billfolds.

New Orleans, still reeling from the body blows Hurricane Katrina threw at it two years ago, remains half-deserted. Most neighborhoods have been reduced to a cemetery of vacant houses with "For Sale" signs as headstones. Crime, always a problem in the Big Easy, has gotten worse. Bullets fly thicker than mosquitoes in the Louisiana air, and only a few brave police officers protect the city from turning into a lawless wasteland.

Marlin and Trevor don't spend much time going after crack dealers or rapists. In K-Ville's ethos, the real bad guys tend to be white-collar criminals. The cops save the Ninth Ward from the hands of a vengeful real estate developer, battle a mercenary-for-hire corporation and expose a scheme in which prisoners dump drums of oil into a pristine lagoon (an informant says, "It's about oil and money, like always"). By all means, lock 'em up. But don't let the common thugs off easy. For example, rather than arresting a "noble" escaped convict, Trevor gives him the keys to his truck and directions for avoiding roadblocks. So much for law and order.

The folks at Fox hope K-Ville will draw fans of edgy cop procedurals. As such, it's a gumbo of swear words, jerky camera work and violence, such as when Marlin blows a hole through a man's thigh, bloody entrance and exit wounds clearly visible. "The shoot-'em-up is going to be a major part of the show. It's just fun," K-Ville co-star Tawny Cypress told UnderGroundOnline, adding, "Locals around here love their city and don't want this show to do their city wrong."

Too late. So far, New Orleans has been reduced to clichés pulled from travel guides and second-rate cable news shows. Inappropriate content aside, families shouldn't waste their time on this exploitative mess.

Episodes Reviewed: Sept. 17, 24, 2007

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Paul Asay Bob Smithouser

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