KATHY Bates may be the face and driving force of Harry’s Law, but the legal drama works because of its stellar cast.
Similar to Boston Legal, The Good Wife, Damages, Franklin & Bash and Suits, the overarching plot is gripping because it is underscored by ingenious character etches.
And that is something the creator, David E Kelley, has taken great cognisance of, especially as he takes the series into the second season.
Aside from the colourful contributions by Nathan Corddry (Adam Branch), Brittany Snow (Jenna Backstrom), Karen Olivo (Cassie Reynolds) and Mark Valley (Oliver “Olli” Richard), he has added Christopher McDonald to the main cast as Thomas “Tommy” Jefferson.
A heavyweight in television (The Sopranos, Law & Order, Stargate Universe, Boardwalk Empire and Law & Order: Criminal Intent) and film (Thelma & Louise, Grumpy Old Men, Fair Game, The Skulls, Requiem for a Dream and Rumour Has It), McDonald has a wealth of experience that allows him to slip into any role and play it with conviction.
His personality is the perfect foil for the aggressive, sarcastic and demanding Harry.
Shedding light on his character, he told TVdramas.about.com: “Tommy Jefferson is a media whore who knows how to work the cameras.
“He would take on a class action case and it would never even get to trial – it would just get settled.
“He is very respected, but isn’t entirely happy until he finds an empathic voice in Harry, so he insinuates himself into her life. They’ve developed a very interesting relationship; it’s a mutual respect between them. She tolerates him to a certain level and knows deep down he’s a really good man.”
He recalls his favourite episode: “There was a great one last year where I came to Harry for help because I was working with these albinos and they needed a fair shake and I couldn’t look at them. I played it so straight and it came off hysterically. I had a few great bar scenes with her, revealing myself to her, and it was really heart-warming in the end.”
In season two, the unlikely allies join forces to defend Eric Sanders (Alfred Molina), in a high-profile case. More so, with the district attorney (Jean Smart) employing a few underhanded tactics.
Sadly, the series, despite its talented cast, has lost impetus since season one, making it the end of the road after this. But, with Bates and McDonald dramatically navigating their way through lots of legal red tape, it will be a far cry from boring – that’s for certain.
• Harry’s Law airs on M-Net Series (DStv channel 114) on December 10 at 7.30pm.