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'Common Law' Episode 1.01 Recap: Pilot

Meet Travis Marks and Wes Mitchell, two homicide detectives that work for the Los Angeles Police Department. Travis is a womanizer and orphan who grew up in 18 different foster homes and Wes is a used to be lawyer and a man who can’t get over his divorce. They may not have much in common and may have a lot of issues, but they agree on the most important thing; they hate it when bad guys get away doing bad things.

Travis and Wes obviously don’t always get along. They argue about everything from possible suspects to whether or not Travis dinged Wes’s car. The first episode starts off with the two of them in couples counseling. After Wes pulled a gun on Travis, their captain decided to put them on suspend them and sends them to Dr. Elise Ryan for couples therapy. The counseling sessions are extremely awkward for the two since they are in a group with other couples, but that only adds humor to the show. The show kicks off with them leaving the session early because they were paged about a crime scene after receiving questionnaires from Dr, Ryan.

The two partners immediately jump into the new case about the murder of the Chief Justice’s oldest son, Toby Whitaker. Toby was found dead in the bad part of town under a bridge with no shoes and no ID. Travis looked at the crowd of onlookers and saw a kid with the stolen shoes. Wes and Travis chase him down and get Toby’s wallet from him. Back at the station, the detectives beg the captain to pull them off of suspension. Travis and Wes are then put on the case.

Their first stop on their investigation is to visit the Chief Justice. They discover that Toby had been a heroin addict, but was currently staying at a rehab center in order to quit. Rehab was successful and Toby has been living in a sober house at the rehab for nine months. The Justice Whitaker and his other soon, Zack, had seen Toby was three days ago on family day. Zack becomes a suspect for being the owner of a scout knife that was found at the scene of the crime and the possible murder weapon. Justice Whitaker says Zack was studying the night of Toby’s death, but Wes and Travis remain suspicious. They leave the Whitakers and go to the rehab center.

They meet Vince West, the owner of the rehab center, and Marcus, the head of security. They’re looking through all of Toby’s stuff in his room when Gretchen, Toby’s ex girlfriend appears. She says that Zack had killed Toby because of their fight from the other day. The detectives are even more suspicious of Zack and set off to go find him. Right as they get in the car, Wes gets a call. Zack is standing on top of the Rosslyn Hotel and is thinking about jumping. Wes and Travis hurry over and go to the roof to talk to Zack. Travis is very brutal with Zack, telling him how he should of picked a higher building and betting him he won’t actually jump. Zack asks to only talk to Wes, the calmer and serious partner, and Travis goes off with a couple of firemen and a scheme in mind. Wes talks to Zack, almost interrogates him, and Zack talks about his and Toby’s fight. Toby was asking for $5000 because a dealer was going to kill him and Zack didn’t want to give it to him, didn’t believe Toby was in trouble and thought he was going to use it to buy drugs. Now Zack blames himself for Toby’s death. Wes tries to convince Zack to come down, but when a bird flies into him, Zack starts to fall. But then Travis appears out from a trap door near where Zack was standing and cuffs his leg, preventing the boy’s death. Zack is saved and the boys have more leads to follow.

Ellen, the girl from forensics that Travis is currently dating, is able to recover the last numbers Toby called on his damaged phone. The last number Toby called on the night of his murder is disconnected, but Travis notices a number that was called multiple times. Ellen says the number belongs to a Santori. The name sounds familiar because his previous girlfriend, Randy from neurotics used to talk about him a lot. The guys head down to talk to her. It turns out Santori is a drug dealer that smuggles drugs in expensive cars. The LAPD hasn’t been able to catch him yet, so Wes and Travis head over to the car dealer ship.

Wes and Travis take a look at a black Lamborghini that Santori had just brought in from overseas. He doesn’t let Wes test drive it because he claims it isn’t street legal yet, the epoch system has to be changed first. The detectives jump to the chase, asking Santori about the drugs and Toby. He denies knowing anything about Toby and the drugs so Travis pulls out his gun and shoots the car where the epoch system is. White powder pours down from the hole, it’s the drugs. Santori says he’ll talk if the guys we’ll forget the drugs. He says Toby called him and asked for $5000. He gave it to Toby, figuring he liked the idea of the Chief Justice son owing him. Santori described the car Toby came in and Wes and Travis leave. Outside, they call Randy about Santori and they head off to see Money, one of Travis’ foster brothers.

Money owns a junk yard and knows everything about specialty car shops and who buys what parts. The car Santori described was a classic so Travis figured Money might know who bought parts to upkeep a car like that. Money is able to find the plate of the car and Wes calls it in for the address. Wes and Travis are off again, following their new lead.

The address leads them to a rather run down house where a mom and her baby son live. It turns out the woman, Irene, is Toby’s girlfriend and the boy is his son. Toby needed the $5000 to pay for all of her medical and housing bills. Toby didn’t tell his family about Irene and his son because he wanted to prove he could stay sober and was responsible. It turned out Toby was determined to stay clean for his new family. Irene doesn’t recognize that last number Toby called before he died so the detectives left.

The next scene opens to Wes watering a lawn and is a personal one that gives insight onto what makes Wes tick. It turns out that Wes and his ex wife, Alex, have joint custody over their lawn and watering it makes him feel better. Wes and Alex get to talking and it is revealed that Wes used to be a lawyer at the same firm that Alex works at. Apparently Wes job as a cop was one of the factors in his and Alex’s divorce. The scene also reveals stuff about Travis. Wes asks Alex about how Travis got his name because he had told her one time. Alex confesses that Travis was named after a cabbage patch doll he was found with by a firefighter at the fire station he was abandon at.

The next scene gets back to the case as Wes and Travis walk to see Janelle, the coroner and another victim of Travis’ one night stands. It’s clear from the moment we meet her that she still holds a grudge against Travis and we see it in the way she completely ignores him and talks about the multiple ways she loved to kill him. She tells Wes about the defensive wounds on Toby and says the mark on his neck was caused by a heroin injection. The guys are left with more questions, where did the heroin come from and why in the neck? They head back to the rehab place to talk to Vince. There, Vince reveals about how many of the patients there at the rehab center are on their second strike and getting caught with drugs again will land them in jail for a lifetime. The guys leave again and stop at a gas station. While Wes fills up, Travis heads inside to buy food. Inside, he notices two men that look ready to rob the store. He texts Wes, who goes over to where the getaway driver waits and arrests him. Inside, Travis acts like he is robbing the store instead of the other two guys. The two real thieves pull out guns on Travis and Wes drives the getaway car through the gas station’s window. The boys are able to capture all of the potential robbers and call it a job well done. While they’re performing the arrests, Wes gets a call from Ellen about the prints on the scout knife, she discovered that they match Zack’s. So the boys head back to the station.

At the station, one of the reporter’s question Travis about whether or not is Zack a suspect in Toby’s murder. She keeps calling out Travis’ name, which makes Wes accuse Travis of giving her inside information. The boys begin bickering about it and other things when the captain tells them to get it together, the District Attorney wants to talk to them and ask the captain why the homicide and robbery department has a leak about the case. Laura, the DA, talks to Wes and Travis about what’s going on with the case and whether or not Zack is the killer. She demands him to be arrested, though Wes refuses, saying it’s not possible Zack killed the Toby and he doesn’t want to ruin the kid’s life by arresting him just to interrogate him, even though the press demands it. Wes and Travis get into an argument about the case and whether or not Travis leaked the information about the Zack to the press. The argument escalates into a full out fist fight and they throw each other through the window of the conference room they were talking to the DA in. They keep wrestling around until two cops pull them apart and the captain takes them off the case. Laura puts two other detectives on the case.

Wes goes to a bar and is watching the TV when the news comes on. The same reporter that was questioning Travis earlier is now talking to Brady Goodin, one of the new detectives on the case. Wes can tell from his body language that it turned out that Brady was the one that leaked the information about Zack. Guilt washes over Wes when Dr. Ryan walks up to him, asking about his and Travis’ break up. More personal information is revealed about the boys, about how Wes quit being a lawyer for putting an innocent man in jail and is still living in a hotel nine months after his divorce with Alex and how Travis grew up in 18 different foster homes. Dr. Ryan tells all of this to Wes to prove she knows the boys and also to simply give the viewers information about the two quarrelsome cops. She tells Wes why she thinks they work so well together, because they’re so alike. Both men are brilliant and hate it when the bad guys get away, giving them a common goal. Dr. Ryan even goes as far to say that Wes and Travis are like brothers. Wes goes on to think about how some brothers are extremely similar and comes to a conclusion. If Zack is dyslexia, does that make Toby dyslexia too?

Wes immediately runs to Travis’ place where Travis is actually with Ellen and is trying to get laid. Wes accidently breaks the couple up when he says he’s sorry for what happened earlier, causing Travis to step away from Ellen to talk to Wes about the new discovery in the case. Wes had figured out that all of the other numbers Toby called were preprogrammed into his phone, except that last one, because of his dyslexia. Wes had someone from the station go through all of the possible combinations the numbers could have been in and Marcus Hunter’s, the man in charge of security for the sober houses and rehab center, came up. Toby had discovered someone was using and was trying to call Marcus when the person killed him. Wes and Travis head off to the rehab place with one of Randy’s dogs from neurotics to sniff out the user and murder.

Marcus and Vince meet the boys at the sober house and begin the surprise search with the dog. They find drugs hidden away in a fish tank in a house that belongs to Vince. The man had disappeared when Marcus and the detectives began the search, so everyone rushes off to cover the exits and find him. Vince appears driving a car, trying to make a break for it. Travis and Wes stand in the path of the speeding vehicle and fire shots at Vince in order to stop him. Vince loses control of the car and then comes to a stop, allowing the boys to make an arrest. They take Vince out of the car together, all the while bickering over whoever shot Vince in the shoulder. Even with the murderer under custody, Wes and Travis still bicker. They’re pointless arguing leads them to forget about the car Vince was driving and so it rolls and hits Wes’ car. Travis chooses that opportunity to admit and apologizes for door dinging Wes’ car earlier in the episode.

The boys are back at the station and running through the case with Laura and the captain. The DA admits she was wrong and tells the captain good work and threatens Wes and Travis they better not argue in court. The show ends with the guys in couples therapy, revealing the answers to their questionnaires and Travis calling Alex on his phone to put her on speaker while running away from Wes. When it’s all said and done, the guys find themselves with a slightly better understanding of each other and now get along better, or at least well enough that they are no longer wrestling around and crashing through glass windows in the office.

Common Law is truly a gem. I’ve only seen on episode, but I’m hooked. Travis has more foster brothers and sisters than he can count and has a bad habit of pulling his gun out on suspects before asking questions. Wes has a deep love for nice cars and has an obsession for his previous front lawn, which his wife let him have custody over when she took the house after the divorce. The characters’ arguments and problems that are exposed in and out of therapy make the dynamic duo relatable to anyone who has ever had an argument. The new USA show is addicting and is the perfect summer hit.

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