A very old and famous book says there’s nothing new under the sun. This applies to television as much as anything, as can be seen in the somewhat derivative, but thoroughly enjoyable ‘Rosewood’ from Fox.
Using a formula borrowed from ABC’s ‘Castle,’ Morris Chestnut played the title role of Beaumont Rosewood, Jr., a rich, handsome, charming-in-an-infuriating-way playboy who sticks his nose in police business. He does so to the annoyance of the tough, beautiful, and emotionally unavailable homicide Detective Annalise Villa, played by the achingly luscious Jaina Lee Ortiz. What starts off as Villa’s seething contempt for Rosewood grows to a grudging respect and what some might even call friendship. Like Beckett and Castle, Villa’s always telling Rosewood to stay put in dangerous situations, which he never does. Like Castle, Rosewood uses his unrelenting charm, money, and flirtatious attitude to keep away thoughts of the more serious things in his life. And like Beckett, a big reason Villa’s so emotionally closed off is due to the untimely death of a loved one. As formulas go, this one is exceptionally successful.
There are differences, of course. Set in Miami, Florida (one without Horatio Caine and his shiny super-lab), the cast of characters is significantly more racially diverse than ‘Castle,’ but in a mellow, this-is-just-who-we-are manner. Each and every character in this show would be interesting regardless of race, creed, or sexual preference. The fact that such characters are mostly something that’s not lily-white just makes it that much more cool and hip. Unlike twice-divorced dad and best-selling author Richard Castle, Beaumont Rosewood, Jr. is a licensed medical examiner who transitioned from the public sector to the private, opening Magic City Lab. Rosewood’s father is also an M.E., and his mother, unlike Castle’s, is an incredibly strong, self-sufficient, and grounded high school principal. Also unlike Castle, Rosewood is a man who’s lived with the specter of death since day one: Prematurely born, Rosewood struggles with a whole host of medical problems, not the least of which is a pair of holes in his heart. This makes his efforts to live every day to the fullest more than the result of a motivational poster, but rather, a personal mission. He’s a man cheating death with every day he wakes up, and who’s determined not to let any of them just slide by.
Equally complex is Det. Villa, a still-grieving widow who seems eternally stuck in the “anger” stage of grief, having seen her husband have a pulmonary embolism and drop dead in front of her, with no warning signs whatsoever. Her father abandoned her as a child and her mother is even less emotionally available than Det. Villa herself, having given in to bitterness. Villa’s mad-at-the-world attitude keeps her from being able to keep any partner on the job, save for Rosewood, who keeps shoving his smiling face in front of hers, no matter how many times Villa tells him to go away.
Put it all together, and you get a crime procedural that’s incredibly deep and complex, brimming with chemistry, and uplifting, despite its grim subject matter. If you’ve got anything else going on Wednesday nights, move it and watch this show.
Still can’t make it home Wednesday night? Watch it now: