GOLIATH: A slingshot loaded with compelling legal drama

TV Series Review by Lew Ritter

GOLIATH is an old fashioned legal drama created by David E. Kelley and Jonathan Shapiro. It is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

Both co-creators are veteran writers with extensive legal and TV writing background. David E. Kelley is the veteran writer/producer with extensive credits going back to the 80’s with shows such as L.A. LAW, PICKET FENCES and more recently BOSTON LEGAL.

GOLIATH is about a down and out lawyer taking on a simple case that uncovers a far more deadly conspiracy. The stakes are higher than expected not only for the client but for the protagonist, Billy McBride, who needs the win in order to jumpstart his career and give him back his life.

Billy Bob Thornton plays Billy, a onetime powerhouse lawyer, whose career has fallen on hard times. At the beginning of the series, he has just been released from jail. As a Public Defender, he is too drunk to even remember his client’s name. He even wears a sleep apnea machine in bed. He lives in a dilapidated suite of rooms in a seedy motel in a once trendy section of Santa Monica and spends his days drinking in a dive bar and chasing small civil cases to earn a living.

The irony is that McBride was a co-founder of Cooperman-McBride, a Goliath of a law firm with branches all around the world. This time out, he is hired to handle a simple civil suit to obtain modest damages for a family whose husband committed suicide aboard a boat.

Billy, however, quickly uncovers discrepancies in testimony that expose a more sinister conspiracy by Cooperman-McBride. Its client is Born Tech, a defense contractor with deep pockets and even darker secrets. The official report indicates that the man’s boat blew up. However, the video captured by a nearby fishing vessel indicates a multi- magnitude explosion that created a huge tidal wave which nearly capsized the fishing boat.

The story features Billy and his spunky band of legal eagles as David taking on Goliath. Billy takes the case in order to get back at Donald Cooperman, his former partner. Cooperman had suffered some unexplained accident that left burn marks on half his face. He rarely leaves the confines of his office and spends most of the day spying on his employees.

The series is full of terrific scenes depicting complex legal maneuvers and sparring over the testimony of witnesses. The lead attorney/partner on the case argues with Cooperman to drop the case and settle before the case explodes. At every turn, she is overturned by Cooperman’s hatred and disdain for Billy.

The disdain proves to be totally unfounded. Every time the Cooperman lawyers attempt to place a legal stumbling block in Billy’s path, he outmaneuvers them. At the end of Episode Two, the judge dismisses the case on a legal technicality. Billy lambastes the judge for bias. The enraged judge charges Billy with hefty fines for contempt of court. However, there is a method to Billy’s madness. It allows Billy to introduce new evidence and keep the case open.

Thornton is at the top of his game as Billy McBride. Thornton is an A-List actor, who dominates any scenes that he is in. He brings a surprising depth and aura of menace to his role. He is capable of dealing with the same unscrupulous tactics needed in order to defeat his adversaries at the Cooperman firm.

The standout cast includes Maria Bello, as Billy’s embittered, ex-wife and Nina Ariana as Billy’s spunky partner. She’s fearless and hilarious as a low- rent lawyer/real estate agent who brought Billy into the case. Tania Raymond is winning as the vulnerable Brittany Gold. Harold Perrineau is a standout as the judge who manages the courtroom circus with his dignity intact.

GOLIATH never stops providing surprising plot twists and great episode ending cliffhangers. At the end of Episode Two, after winning a small victory, one of the characters is struck down by a hit and run meant for McBride. At the end of Episode Three, the reclusive Cooperman lures one of the young associates up to his penthouse office to seduce her. And at the end of the series, the mega law firm is served a well- deserved defeat.

The show is a solidly entertaining legal thriller that benefits from Billy Bob’s strong lead character. The writing gives us as many compelling characters as plot twists, and even a happy ending, with Billy McBride seemingly back on course as a successful lawyer.

There are, however, other plot threads left dangling that support a potential Season Two. The show doesn’t break new ground, but it delivers a good dose of binge-watching pleasure that I look forward to re-experiencing when Amazon brings it back.


Lew Ritter is a TVWriter™ Contributing Writer. Learn more about him here.

Overused Words & Phrases to Avoid

Or embrace, whatever. After all, we don’t want to seem dictatorial. Here’s the list, so you can keep them in mind:

FOUND at GrammarCheck.Net
(which can be a very helpful site so go have a LOOK)

Staying Fit, Productive & Sane as a Freelance Writer

Found on the interwebs, this clever and helpful article on “having the best freelance writing work day at a shopping mall.” Go on. You know you want to do it. Find out how:

by Pinar Tarhan

Sitcoms of the 80s and 90s depicted shopping malls as teenagers’ haven. No reason it can’t be one of your offices.

Look, I know a shopping mall isn’t the epitome of health. Yes, a walk in the woods or going to a coffee shop with a sea view is better. But sometimes you need the change, size and the warmth.

If you are already healthy and can stand the harsh winter weather, please, by all means, walk outside every day. As much as you can. Even if it is just to and back from your favorite coffee shop.

But:

What if you sweat so much that by the time you get to the coffee house, even if it is just 15 minutes from your house, you look like you fell into a lake? Including and especially your hair? There is no possible way you can conveniently carry extra clothes, underwear, and hair-dryer along with your laptop and other freelancing essentials. Not unless you have the shoulder strength of a veteran backpacker. I don’t. And oh, one change of clothes doesn’t take my sweat away.

You might think the sweating is because I’m fat, but I’m not. While unfortunately I have extra weight I’m trying to lose, calling me fat would be scientifically incorrect….

Okay. So you, for one reason or another, you can’t walk to favorite coffee shop every day. You don’t live in a mansion, and you don’t have a treadmill desk (aff. link). You don’t have a gym membership. How are you going to get your exercise?

That’s where shopping malls come in.

I live in a city where malls are ubiquitous. They come with a selection of restaurants, coffee shops and all kinds of stores. And with so many malls to choose from, there are ones that aren’t too crowded and too expensive.

Here’s how to make the most of that mall:

Read it all at Pinartarhan.Com

munchman Looks at the Bright Side of Life

munchman’s TV Musings #12
by munchman

The current state of the US of A being what it is, yer friendly neighborhood munchman has found himself forced to take a long, hard look at what he’s been writing – and thinking.

The result of that long, hard look is the realization that considering the situation, ranting and raving about the sad offerings to be had on our TVs and computer screens and the idiot machinations behind them is, way too obviously, a total waste of time and resources.

With that in mind, here are some recent shows and events that have managed to bring el munchero a smile or three, and I for reals hope they will do the same for you.

  • It may sound silly, but the fact that Agent Carter showrunners Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters are even as we speak hard at work developing an ABC series “based on the Disney theme park mythology” according to Slashfilm. muncherola well remembers his first time at Disneyland at the age of four and how utterly  beguiled I was by the Disney fantasyverse that had now become real. I even saluted the captain of our submarine ride and thanked him for the tour. If Michele and Tara can bring even half that much joy into the world it will have become a better planet indeed.
  • HBO is working on a new comedy called Divorce from Sharon Horgan, co-creator and star of Catastrophe. And methinks, that if this thing turns out half as funny/moving as the darkly funny Catastrophe and soothes a divorcee soul or two, well, that “better planet” thing will have struck again.
  • The other day a friend having conniptions over “That Asshole in the White House” sent me a 4 month old column from Ken Levine, one of the funniest TV and blog writers ever. It’s about the problems that he and his partner David Isaacs had back in 1980 when writing a comedy pilot about the White House pressroom. Seems that no matter what they wanted to do – like name the fictional president – the network, ABC, said no. The bright side here is that kind of stifling is no longer the case even on broadcast networks, where writers now have more freedom than ever before, and way more than current members of the White House pressroom, for sure.
  • Indie created and produced web series are becoming better and better. Don’t believe moi. Check out these: My Gay RoommateHollywood Hitmen, Acting Dead and many, many more that y’all can find via sites like Snobby Robot and Stareable, etc.
  • Mindy Kaling of The Mindy Project fame is developing an ABC pilot about a lesbian couple in Kansas. munchaderio isn’t a big Mindy fan by any means (reminds me too much of a certain ex from back in the day – which isn’t all that far back becuz this kid still ain’t all that old but anyway…), but maybe MK will do better this time. (See? I really am thinking positively. And Mindy Kaling becoming a better writer is certainly a more likely possibility than that ex I mentioned every becoming a better anything – oh, wait. Damn)
  • Sites like CV Independent exist. Digest that statement for a minute, then visit the site. See? It’s a good thing, yeah?
  • J.J. Abrams is doing an HBO series called Glare. This ensures that the first season will be accessible and interest-piquing and the second season will be wild and out there and fascinating and the third season will either be utter chaos (hey, munchmunster likes chaos) or won’t exist, giving us all more time to kvetch about more important things.
  • Marco Polo has been cancelled by Netflix!
  • The best news yet. Season three of Rick and Morty will definitely be out and about in 2017, as reported at an Adult Swim development meeting broadcast on Facebook Live. What makes this bit of not-so top secret intel so meaningful to yer insubordinate servant here is that I got it from an article at Christian Times. If Christian Times is digging Rick and Morty, maybe the good ole U.S. isn’t doing so bad after all. (Unless it means that Rick and Morty has made an abrupt about-face in tone and storylines…No! It can’t be! Forget I said that, ye gods of reality story-making. Forget it, I say!

That’s it for now, gentile gentle readers. I’m off now to gird for war. In keeping with my new awareness that the current cultural/political situation in my adopted homeland needs fixing – and soon – yer insolently insubordinate servant is taking some time off from this column and all other TVWriter™ duties to join the Resisters and fight for Truth, Justice, and the Gen-u-Wine American Way.

How will I do it? I dunno yet. Maybe start a blog?


The insolently insubordinate yuman known as munchman has been at TVWriter™ since the very beginning of this site. He wants us all to know that he’s cooler than we are. And we think you’ll agree when we say to him, “Dood, we don’t effing care!” We aren’t sure whether he’s really leaving us or not. Either way, you can still learn more about (but not all that much, really) HERE

How Louis CK Tells a Joke

And since he tells some very fine jokes, and considering that how he tells ’em is a damn good way to write ’em, we think this video just might be of interest:

And there ya go. Now it’s – your turn!