The old adage among creative types is “write what you know.”
Nowhere does it say write exactly what you know, almost to the letter, with virtually zero creative license.
That’s part of what keeps the legal drama “The Fix” (8 p.m. Monday, ABC), co-written by Marcia Clark — yes, that Marcia Clark — mired somewhere between wish fulfillment and hagiography.
Stop me if any of this sounds familiar: A black celebrity is accused in the fatal stabbings of his blond ex-wife and her friend. The long, explosive trial in Los Angeles has divided the country. Even though a female prosecutor was handed what should have been a slam-dunk case, the defense attorney, playing up accusations of racism and police misconduct, wins a shocking acquittal.
In “The Fix,” that celebrity is Severen “Sevvy” Johnson (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, “Lost”), a Hollywood star instead of a football player. Still, that minor tweak isn’t enough to keep the script from feeling like a special kind of lazy.
That trial takes place in 2010 and is handled in the opening minutes of Monday’s premiere. Then Sevvy’s new girlfriend is found beaten to death in 2018, and he’s once again a suspect.
Prosecutor Maya Travis (Robin Tunney) may have fled the harsh glare of the spotlight for a quiet life on a rural Washington ranch, but she hasn’t gotten over the verdict. “I still see them in my dreams,” she laments of the victims. So she returns to the home she abandoned eight years ago and gets back to the business of revenge.
Either way, what are they paying prosecutors in Marcia Clark Land? Whatever it is, it’s clearly too much — especially based on the results — if Maya can just leave a house in the hills, with its killer views of the city, unoccupied and unattended for nearly a decade. The property taxes alone would … oh, that’s just applying logic to something that clearly doesn’t deserve it.
Maya is once again pitted against defense attorney Ezra Wolf (Scott Cohen), who, we’re told, “plays a special kind of dirty.”
In case you read over it, the bad lawyer’s name really is Wolf.
“She’s tough, but she fights fair. Always been her weakness,” Wolf says of Maya as part of a torrent of dismissiveness.
“I don’t want you anywhere near Jessica’s case,” the father of Sevvy’s most recent girlfriend screams at Maya. “You lost!”
“She lost,” the new lead prosecutor declares. “I plan to win.”
The rest of the dialogue is nearly as brutal as Sevvy’s alleged crimes.
“It wasn’t about the evidence. Wolf capitalized on 400 years of racial injustice and a celebrity client who knew how to break out a megawatt smile.”
Should “The Fix” somehow earn a second season, where would it possibly go? Perhaps one season Sevvy could be arrested during a misguided attempt to reclaim some of his memorabilia.
That seems unlikely, though, given that the series plays out like a clunky compilation of all the things you wish you’d said on the way home from an altercation.
With “The Fix,” Clark proves she’s just as adept at writing TV shows as she is at putting celebrity murder defendants behind bars.
What to watch
Four Hollywood misfits achieve rock stardom in “The Dirt” (Friday, Netflix), based on the autobiography by the members of Motley Crue.
Sworn enemies Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) and Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) unite to fight a common foe in the fourth season of “Billions” (9 p.m. Sunday, Showtime).
Gypsy Blanchard (Joey King) tries to break free from the hold of her overprotective mother, Dee Dee (Patricia Arquette), in the true-crime anthology series “The Act” (Wednesday, Hulu).
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes’ journey from self-made billionaire to her stunning collapse as the subject of federal fraud indictments is told in the documentary “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley” (9 p.m. Monday, HBO).