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Miami is a great place to set a show as breezy and shallow as Fox’s Rosewood, as it has been for many breezy and shallow series before it. It’s gorgeous, there are legitimate reasons to have everyone wear minimal clothing, and as this show’s protagonist notes for crime series in particular, “It’s the weekend in Miami, you’re going to have a lot of bodies coming in.” Bodies on the beach, bodies in the club, bodies in the morgue.
Rosewood starts off with a body, this one very much alive in the form of Morris Chestnut’s Dr. Beaumont Rosewood, the self-proclaimed “Beethoven of private pathologists.” He’s shirtless and out for an early-morning run before the heat and the dead bodies start building up, but then he pauses to clutch his heart. Indeed, like many a maverick TV professional, Rosewood is plagued by a heart condition (plus a brain bleed and an ear calcification) that both manufactures a false sense of character depth, and could easily kill him — or not, if the show lasts multiple seasons.
Thus begins Rosewood’s routine crime show setup, with Rosewood attaching himself to a young, female detective and fresh transplant from the NYPD, Annalise Villa (Jaina Le Ortiz). Despite her wedding ring and fond mentions of her husband, Rosewood sticks to her like an ant on a lollipop, undermining her work by complimenting her looks, and pressuring her to partner with him, or “get serious — professionally” he adds, with a cocky smile. Didn’t he ever have to take a seminar about this kind of thing?
Showing an unlikely patience, Annalise doesn’t punch Rosewood like she does the perps they pursue, though he deserves it. Despite her protestations that “you’re oil and I’m water,” Annalise — just like countless female sidekicks before her — is there to depend on Rosewood and stare at him in wonderment as he solves her cases with never-before-heard-of medical terminology, and ask him questions about his vast knowledge. All of this builds to, of course, a will-they-won’t-they, helpfully stated outright several times by Rosewood’s sister Pippy (Gabrielle Dennis), who works with him in his lab.
Rosewood is the kind of crime series where the good doctor breezily says things to his lab techs like “fast-track everything!” and it only takes half of the pilot episode before Annalise is in club-wear for undercover work. Rosewood does it all — Solves crimes! Is a man about town! Remembers everybody’s birthday! Loves his Mama and has a voice like butter! — and yet, also gives us nothing. This is a show that doesn’t ask much of its viewers, but there still comes a point where viewers should be asking something of it.
Pilots are broad and meant to lay down wide-open concepts with character molds that viewers are meant to recognize and feel at ease with. But that doesn’t give them a pass to be terrible, which Rosewood is. Its setup is lazy, the dialogue is atrocious, and the actors seem listless under the hot Miami sun. Though the Magic City’s beautiful oceanic blues and vibrantly-colored buildings have covered up flaws in many other series (Ballers, Dexter, Nip/Tuck and others come to mind), they are ultimately no match for Rosewood’s dull proceedings.
Rating: ★ Poor — Clear your DV-R space
Chance of Series Survival: Low
Rosewood premieres Wednesday, September 23rd at 8 p.m. on Fox