The Code Season 1 Episode 1 Review: Blowed Up

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JAG casts a huge shadow.

The fabled military drama has been gone almost 15 years and yet it lingers in viewers' memories.

AJ Chegwidden has already recurred on NCIS: Los Angeles and Harm and Mac set to return on that same series.

The Brightest Minds -- Tall - The Code Season 1 Episode 2

Stepping out of the shadow of JAG is what The Code was up against. Yet it made big strides on The Code Season 1 Episode 1.

Granted, there are certain similarities between The Code and JAG, beyond the courtroom battles.

Related: The Code Sneak Peak

Let's start the male lead character. JAG was supposed to be a cross between Top Gun and A Few Good Men, and Harman Rabb was the Tom Cruise character, a pilot turned lawyer, who was also missing his father.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?

Luke Mitchell (Blindspot) ably stepped into the role of pretty-boy lawyer.

Legacy Marine - The Code Season 1 Episode 1

His Captain John "Abe" Abraham is a Marine legacy. His father and grandfather were leaders in the Vietnam War and World War II.

Abe was disabled in the line of duty, but his commanding officer, Capt. Jason Hunt, convinced him to serve as a Marine lawyer instead.

Related: JAG Reunion

So the courtroom is his battlefield!!!

I wonder how Abe's being just a lawyer is viewed by his family.

Abe is his team's maverick (little m), continuing to push the edges of the box.

Which leaves the rest of the squad to keep him in line, legally speaking. "You're out of order," indeed.

Teammates and Adversaries - The Code Season 1 Episode 1

Captain Maya Dobbins (Anna Wood) is Mac to Abe's Harm. She was regularly jousting with Abe throughout the pilot, bringing him down a peg. 

Of course, there's an element of will they or won't they. But Abe appeared to be too in love with himself, and JUSTICE, for much to develop on that front.

There is no JAG equivalent for Major Trey Ferry (Aso Essandoh). He's Abe's superior officer, although Abe isn't willing to admit that.

His role seemed to be Abe's handler, keeping him and the unit out of legal and bureaucratic jeopardy. He also refereed between Abe and Maya.

There wasn't near enough of Dana Delany as the team's commanding officer, Col. Glenn Turman.

She was cool under fire and served as a buffer, protecting her staff from pressure from above.

I admit a bias as I'll watch anything in which Dana Delany stars. China Beach was a classic and Pasadena was an underappreciated gem.

Voice of Reason - The Code Season 1 Episode 1

As such, I think The Code can only benefit from more screentime for her character Glenn.

Warrant Officer Rami Ahmadi (Raffi Barsoumian) is promising, offering some comic relief to the series.

Yet to be seen is Lt. Harper Li, an ambitious young lawyer played by Phillipa Soo (Hamilton), who debuts on The Code Season 1 Episode 2.

Here's hoping they find some way to sneak in a musical number, although that might be hard to do organically in a procedural.

One of the high points of the pilot was the snarkiness in the dialogue among team members, which belied the respect among them which seemed obvious.

The case of the week required a twist immediately, as the precipitating murder happened early in front of witnesses.

Legal Strategy - The Code Season 1 Episode 1

So there was no doubt whodunit. Instead, it became a whydunit.

The victim Jason was a friend of poor Abe, the commanding officer who found a way to keep Abe involved with the Marines after a battlefield injury ended his infantry career.  

Related: Get CBS All Access via Prime Video Channels for Hit Shows, Exclusive Originals & Live TV!

So it was obvious he felt a special need to be prosecutor on the murder trial of PFC Morehead.

The big question is why his commander Glenn let him anywhere near the case. 

After all, it's a TV trope that anyone emotionally invested with a case needs to step aside.

Of course, it's another TV trope that such a character will interfere with and usually help to win the case.

Being Helpful - The Code Season 1 Episode 1

I guess Trey determined there was no way to keep Abe away from the case. So he attempted to control him.

That worked well, as Abe took over as first chair seemingly immediately and was stepping on whatever Trey tried to do.

While Abe was busy being cocky about prosecuting Morehead, Maya was being perceptive.

She figured out something was off about Morehead and had him checked out, discovering his TBI.

So because of an unwritten policy by Hewitt, the battalion surgeon, Morehead also proved to be a victim.

That meant there were a lot of ticking time bombs such as Morehead, both in and out of the military.

I suspect that the military bureaucracy is going to be a constant obstacle for these lawyers.

I just hope that ill-advised, shortsighted actions such as Hewitt's continue to be targeted.

I also want more back story, as the only character we know anything about from the pilot is Abe.

The guest cast was sprinkled with quite a few familiar TV faces.

Michael Gaston was a cooperative general, Tawny Cypress was the presiding judge, Mark Deklin was the accused battalion surgeon, and Wayne Duvall was his defense attorney.

Executive Producer Craig Turk has a strong track record on such series as The Good Wife and Private Practice.

The Code has the potential to become another such riveting series.

If you missed the pilot, watch The Code online to catch up.

Which character did you like best?

Do you enjoy the topical case of the week?

What do you want to see more of?

Comment below!

Blowed Up Review

Editor Rating: 4.25 / 5.0
  • 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (35 Votes)

Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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The Code Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Abe: Too bad we're lawyers. We don't pursue ideals. We pursue ...
Trey: Outcomes. Uh-hmm.

Abe: Pay attention, Rami. I've got a legitimate excuse today.
Rami: The clothes. It's got something to do with the clothes.