Pilot Review: Ironside (**½)


Blair Underwood returns to network television as Detective Robert Ironside, a tough and fearless New York City cop confined to a wheelchair after getting shot chasing a suspect some two years ago. Ironside is the only one, it seems, not bothered by his disability, often using it to his advantage. Together with his hand-selected team of detectives including Holly (Spencer Grammer), Virgil (Pablo Schreiber) and Teddy (Neal Bledsoe), they solve some of the biggest crimes in the city.

Ironside Cast

In the pilot episode, a young woman is found dead on the sidewalk of an apparent suicide. Detective Ironside, though, refuses to accept such a simple explanation and opens a homicide investigation that leads to Russian mobsters, money laundering, wild sex parties, and another murder scene. Intermingled with the present-day action are flashbacks that show how the shooting occurred and the close relationship he had with his former partner (Brent Sexton).

A modern-day remake of the original Ironside (1967-75) starring Raymond Burr, this updated version is a fairly standard, formulaic police procedural where a victim is discovered, the police systematically roll through a list of potential perpetrators, red herrings, and witty one-liners before finally bringing the real criminal to justice all wrapped up neatly in 42 minutes.

What sets Ironside apart from other police dramas is, of course, the wheelchair-bound lead detective. But that’s just not enough of a hook to make this series stand out. In fact, there is very little that makes this show stand out from any other crime series on the air.

That’s not to say that this is a terrible show. It’s not. Generally, it is unremarkable in its premise, its cast, and the way it is carried out. Really, it’s just okay. Ironside is hardly a replacement for the once great Law and Order that spent years in the same time slot. This mediocre series is just noise among much more compelling police dramas still on the air.