BET premiered a new series, “InContempt,” a legal drama focusing on public defenders, starring Erica Ash. I am a fan of legal dramas and the fact writer Terri Kopp with experience from; Law & Order, Justice, and In Justice, was behind the project was a plus. I saw a preview of a strong courtroom scene and immediately programmed my television to record the series with high expectations.
I watched the first episode and couldn’t decide whether I was more excited or disappointed. Instead of trying to survive on a strong premise and a talented cast (Mouna Traore, Christian Keyes, Eugene Clark, Megan Hutchings, Tobias Truvillion, and Richard Lawson co-star). InContempt tries to be too many things to too many people. Erica Ash as fiercely opinionated Gwen Sullivan, is out of control in every aspect of her life including her finances, sex life, family, and courtroom demeanor, with weekly panic attacks thrown in for good measure. Her outstanding legal scenes and eyeopening portrayal of the uphill battles clients face in a system designed to herd them to sentencing like cattle, are offset by making her personally weak and susceptible to anything to appeal to what I presume BET thinks its fans need to see. “The Quad,” another less than ambitious BET Series was canceled early into its second season by trying to be more prurient than relevant. Let’s hope InContempt doesn’t follow the same path.
The second episode was better than the first, several of the cast are beginning to break away from their stereotypical roles although not yet to the point where we care about them. I’m trying real hard to like this series and will continue to watch the series in hopes it hits a stride and reaches its potential. They would do well to stop trying to reach too many audiences and settle on one or two.