Fox’s new cop show K-Ville, set in New Orleans post-Katrina (thus the “K”), can feel more like a hospital drama than a police series. That’s because in the eyes of NOPD partners Marlin Boulet (Anthony Anderson) and Trevor Cobb (Cole Hauser), the primary aspect of their job is preventing the flat-lining of a very important patient: their beloved, beleaguered metropolis. Which immediately makes K-Ville a bit more interesting than your usual crime-solver hour. Not that there aren’t enough clichéd tough-guy exchanges and flashy action set pieces to keep it firmly in Starsky & Hutch territory more than, say, a microscopic examination of a societal fabric like The Wire. But there are intriguing elements here that promise to explore the aches, pains and joys of those committed to rebuilding something wrenched from them, from Boulet’s afflicted home life (a wife and daughter who won’t live in New Orleans anymore) to Cobb’s own back story of reinvention to the disgraced cop who deserted Boulet during the hurricane and now wants to redeem himself.
I wish the pilot episode’s grim story of a singer’s murder at a recovery fund-raiser and its connection to a wealthy investor hadn’t devolved into shoot-’em-up inanity and cardboard villainy — especially when the underlying theme of scurrilous recapitalization is such a potent one. At the same time, a show set in New Orleans should absolutely capture the resilient spirit of its most committed residents, and there is evidence from the pilot that creator Jonathan Lisco has those intentions too. And yet there is a disturbing irony to any hopes for the success of K-Ville, and it lies in the rules of the cop genre itself. By its nature, for any action-packed crime show to flourish, it has to depict its setting as a self-generating hotbed of lawbreaking. You can’t have an episode where your badge-wearing crusaders sit around twiddling their thumbs. It raises the question: Does this tragically beset city, one that has earned our sympathy and prayers but also continued levels of dread with each new dispiriting crime statistic, need its seedier image reinforced each week?
K-VILLE | Fox | Mondays, 9 p.m.
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