Wednesday, January 13, 2021

TV Show Review: L.A.'s Finest - Season 1

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Characters and strong second half of season
Cons: Hard to get into show, especially at a one episode a week pace
The Bottom Line:
LA detectives
Show overcomes a slow start
For fun second half

“Are You Still in the Doghouse?”  “I’m in the Pound.”

I wasn’t that interested in L.A.’s Finest when I first heard about it.  I’ve never seen any movies in the Bad Boys franchise, and this show is spinning off one of the characters from one of those movies.  However, when Fox picked up the first season this last fall, I decided to give it a chance.  It took me a while to get into it, but I’m glad I stuck with it.

The show centers on two LAPD detectives – Sydney Burnett (Gabrielle Union) and Nancy McKenna (Jessica Alba).  Not only are they work partners, but also friends.  Nancy even tries to include Sydney in things with her family, including Nancy’s husband Patrick (Ryan McPartlin) and step-daughter Isabel (Sophie Reynolds).  Patrick happens to be one of the DA’s in LA, so law and order definitely run in the McKenna family.

However, things are about to get very complicated for these partners.  What appears to be a routine case ties in to a drug cartel that Sydney was investigating back in Miami.  Not only is this cartel the reason she moved to LA, but the fresh lead begins to dig up bad memories for her.  Meanwhile, Nancy is about to have parts of her past come back into her life, complicating the new life she has made for herself.  With the help of another set of detectives in their department – the Bens, that is Ben Baines and Ben Walker (Duane Martin and Zach Gilford), can Sydney and Nancy figure out what is happening and find a way to stop it?

This show was originally created to stream for Spectrum cable customers (and I’m one of them), so it definitely feels different from a show that would air on a traditional network.  Naturally, there is a bit more language, violence, and sex, although thanks to watching most of the season on Fox, the worst of that was cut out, I’m sure.

Another way that this show is different is the way stories progress.  There is a strong season long storyline, and it is at the forefront of many of the episodes of the show.  There are smaller cases that the detectives have to solve along the way, but instead of being the main focus of any given episode, they are often the sub-plot.  Not only that, but these smaller cases wind up being spread over two or three weeks.  It’s obvious that the show was designed to be binged instead of spread out over many weeks.  With how Fox kept preempting it, it was longer than the 13 weeks I expected it to be.

I think that is part of what kept me from getting into the show right away.  I had to adjust my expectations, but it is also harder to get into this story when it has been a week or two since we last saw the characters.

But I stuck with the show, and I eventually did get hooked on the story that was being told.  The characters don’t always do the smartest things, but there are consequences for their actions.  As I invested in the characters, I had to know how they would get out of this situation – that is if they would at all.

This may share some DNA with a police procedural TV show, but there is more action.  Okay, so it’s TV show scale action rather than a big budget movie action, but I still appreciated the action and suspense we got along the way.

And the actors were all great.  They pulled me into each episode, so I was always sorry to see it end.  That’s what kept me coming back from week to week.

In the end, I’m glad I watched season 1 of L.A.’s Finest, and I’ve already started watching season 2 on demand.  It was worth the extra effort to get into this show.


  1. It was always clear to us that the show had been heavily edited for commercials on Fox. Now that it has also appeared on Netflix, it is clear that each episode on Fox, where we watched it, was short anywhere from 15 to nearly twenty minutes.

    1. Wow! That much? Because I'm watching season 2 on Spectrum right now, and the episodes are only 48-50 minutes each. Obviously, some scenes would be cut to be on Fox, but not 15 to 20 minutes. And since this was a Spectrum original, I would think they wouldn't have cut that much before they streamed it for us.