‘The Code‘ is a military legal drama airing on CBS. The series is created by Craig Sweeny and follows a group of Marines who enforce the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) as prosecutors and defense of soldiers who are accused of crimes.
Colonel Glenn Turnbull (Dana Delany) leads her legal teams with Captain John “Abe” Abraham (Luke Mitchell) and Lieutenant Harper Li (Phillipa Soo) heading the prosecution team and Major Trey Ferry (Ato Essandoh) and Captain Maya Dobbins (Anna Wood) heading the defense. Warrant Officer Rami Ahmadi (Raffi Barsoumian) rounds at the team as an office administrator of sorts. As they handle cases, each character has a subplot that weaves its way into the season, most prominently Abe’s relationship with his best friend’s widowed single mother Alex (Justine Cotsonas) and his agreement to testify in a court case she’s bringing against the Marines.
Sadly, CBS decided not to renew this series, citing the ratings drop, rounding it out to twelve episodes. Fortunately, the show does not end on a cliffhanger. It was a unique in the landscape of television and even among legal dramas as it avoided a lot of the “woke” storytelling that is prominent in a lot of television shows. Now, it did have some politically correct “girl power feminist” moments that were obviously forced, but fortunately, it did not control the series.
As for the series overall, I am a sucker for military and legal dramas. This combined the best of both worlds and, when the series was focused on that, it was fine. It was the personal dramas that dragged on. While Ferry’s plot about he and his wife trying to become parents and Rami’s citizenship quest kept me interested, the others wore out their welcome. Dobbins’ brother is running for elected office but is also losing his mental facilities. The plot could not decide what was the most compelling aspect of the story-arc, the election or his growing paranoia. Li is engaged and claims to love her finance, but then has no issue leaving him when she does not need to. Glenn’s arc about her son losing his leg in combat started out fine, but then they turned it into a soap about her and her husband. Finally, Abe’s relationship with Alex ping-pongs too much. Are they together or not? The showrunners seem to be aware of this and insert jokes about it.
Despite this, I did enjoy the cases that the team worked on. From privates stabbing their commanding officers to contract marriages, the cases were compelling and brought out some very interesting story-arcs. Also, the interactions with the judges were very entertaining. They brought some recognizable characters actors to play the judges including Star Trek Voyager alumni Robert Picardo for two episodes.
It is a shame that the series never caught on with audiences because it was an interesting premise and while the first season was a bit rough, it could have improved if the showrunners adjusted to focus more on the court cases and scaled back the personal drama.
Check out the promo below:
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