By Melissa Maerz
Updated February 25, 2015 at 06:23 PM EST
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Josh Duhamel and Dean Winters in Battle Creek
Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS
type
  • TV Show
network
  • CBS
genre

CBS has billed Battle Creek as a new cop show “from Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad.” That’s bound to raise expectations for the series, which follows the Battle Creek PD’s resident grump Russ (Dean Winters) and his too-good at-everything partner, Milt (Josh Duhamel), an FBI agent from Detroit who has moved in across the hall. Unfortunately, like Milt, it’s also too good to be true. Gilligan first developed the project for CBS in 2002 and hasn’t been involved in the day-to-day since then. Co-creator David Shore (House) does his best to reinvigorate the goodcop-bad-cop premise with dark humor, a few unexpected characters (Meredith Eaton is charming as a four-foot-tall forensics expert who has her equipment retrofitted for her height), and cases you won’t see on NCIS, such as the cartel that trades in maple syrup. (That episode features cook-lab POV shots that are either intentional callbacks to Breaking Bad or rip-offs of it.) But whenever Battle Creek tries to upend cop-show tropes, it winds up reinforcing them. The pilot pokes fun at Russ’ instant, Sherlock Holmes-style analysis of the crime scene, only to prove him right in the end, and some of the hard-boiled dialogue could’ve been written by a fourth-grade Raymond Chandler. “I smell something funny, I don’t shrug and walk away,” Russ snarls. “I try to figure out who farted.” Questions raised about Milt’s past might soon complicate those clichés. (Is it a good-cop-bad-cop drama if Milt isn’t really good? Discuss.) Until then, though, it’s the same buddy-cop show that’s been airing for decades. In the aftermath of Breaking Bad, which revolutionized the crime drama, Battle Creek still feels today like a procedural from 2002. C+

Battle Creek

Two detectives with different views on the world team up and using cynicism, guile and deception, they clean up the streets of Battle Creek.
type
  • TV Show
seasons
  • 1
rating
genre
status
  • Pending
network
  • CBS

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