innocent.jpg
BBC America
Thursdays at 8pm ET/PT

Aside from an eleventh hour change in title, this show has got some other troubles on its surface. For one, it seems to be taking a page from recent American dramas. Its premise is essentially ABC’s canceled show, “In Justice,” which follows a group of idealistic young lawyers who work tirelessly to prove that a few of the guilty are actually innocent. In this show though, they go by “miscarriages of justice.” Its also got that whole “House” thing going on, where a charming middle-aged man has a gaggle of protégées who follow him to his car with questions about the case. Instead of the clear dry erase board, the kids on “Innocent” have got a cool red chalkboard and a foosball table. Where it differs from American programs is that the focus is on the victim’s story, though we see very little of them. There are no flashbacks or montages of visual exposition. We have to listen up and remember what’s what. And, of course, this posse of problem-solvers each fills a certain John Hughes-like gap. Our fearless leader (played by Lloyd Owen) is certainly handsome and enigmatic; his mystery, however, comes from the fact that we get very little information on him and even less screen time. Among the younger folk on the program, there are some real magnetic young performers including Adam Solomons, Beth McNair and Nick Bentiz (“What a Girl Wants”). In the end, we see a lot of mimicry (walk-and-talk a la “The West Wing” to boot), but it all works. It’s the formula. If you do a show about cops, doctors or lawyers and you have some pretty faces and snarky remarks, it’ll be a hit. If this one finds it’s loyal stateside audience, it could easily be one, especially since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.