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Review: Trial & Error (NBC) – The death penalty, hilarious

By on March 15, 2017

Trial & Error

Trial & Error

Trial & Error is a mockumentary-style comedy revolving around a murder case. It is ridiculing the trial of an elderly man who is accused of killing his sweet wife by throwing her through a window. Bright-eyed New York lawyer Josh (Nick D’Agosto, Masters Of Sex) is brought into the small southern town to defend the eccentric poetry professor Larry (John Lithgow, 3rd Rock From The Sun).

A team consisting of assistant/head researcher/intern Anne (Sherri Shepherd, Less Than Perfect) and odd-job man Dwayne (Steven Boyer, various guest roles) is ready to assist Josh. The only problem is that they aren’t much help, as Anne has many medical conditions that make her work basically impossible (among various other things that have been revealed so far, she can’t recognize faces), and Dwayne is just not very smart (at one point, he accidentally sets his truck on fire and with that cremates a recently exhumed body).



Essentially a workplace comedy, the humor in Trial & Error comes from three aspects. First, there is Josh’ fish-out-of water schtick as a New Yorker in a small southern town, then there is the complete and utter incompetence of everyone on the defence team. Most importantly, though, John Lithgow is very funny as the eccentric who unwittingly makes everything worse for himself with every turn he makes. Fortunately for him, the prosecutor (Jayma Mays, Glee) is almost equally as incompetent.

The premise of Trial & Error sounds a little ridiculous, and frankly, the show is also a little ridiculous. But it is also quite amusing, in the vein of shows like The Office. That the show will air in a burn-off fashion is not very promising, but it is definitely not a bad comedy.

Trial & Error is in between seasons. Season 2 will premiere in Midseason 2017-18.