tv review

We Deserve Better Than Rosewood

ROSEWOOD: Morris Chestnut as Dr. Beaumont Rosewood, Jr. in the
Morris Chestnut as Dr. Beaumont Rosewood Jr. Photo: Fox

Fox is looking for a new cop or cop-adjacent procedural. It’s part of a network’s balanced breakfast these days. They have a reality-contest workhorse: Survivor, The Voice, The Bachelor, MasterChef. Something a little flashier than the rest of the lineup: The Good Wife, How to Get Away With Murder, Empire, The Blacklist. A network stalwart still going strong: Grey’s Anatomy, Bones, Law & Order: SVU, NCIS. Other than NBC, maybe a comedy that’s still solid enough and in line with the network’s sensibilities: The Simpsons, Modern Family, Big Bang Theory. And you need those crime procedurals to keep everything going. CBS has a dozen of them. ABC has Castle and Rookie Blue; NBC has Chicago P.D., The Mysteries of Laura, and the aforementioned L&O and Blacklist. Fox knows Bones can’t last forever — though now that it’s going into its 11th season, maybe it will? And so the search is on.

In fact, the search has been on for some time. In the last five years, Fox has tried The Chicago Code, The Finder, Gang Related, Human Target, Almost Human, and The Good Guys. There have been generic crime-y shows like The Mob Doctor, and more ambitious crime shows like Gracepoint. There were some lawyer shows, too. Nothing stuck. So Fox is at it again with Minority Report, a spinoff of the 2002 movie, and Rosewood, a show about a Miami pathologist. Something tells me I’m gonna be reviewing more crime shows from Fox next season because I very much doubt either of these shows will stick. Particularly Rosewood.

Morris Chestnut stars as Rosewood, the “Beethoven of private pathologists” in Miami. That’s a line the show uses without humor, and it’s not meant to convey anything specific other than “he is a good pathologist.” The character hook we’re supposed to buy into is that Rosewood has this heart condition, so he takes life extra seriously, which is why he can take death extra seriously, which is why he’s a pathologist! It’s as if the creators of Rosewood have not considered the fact that literally every single person who was ever a pathologist, has ever thought of being a pathologist, quit pathology, failed out of pathology, married a pathologist, divorced a pathologist — all of these people either have already or will someday die. Just like the rest of us. It’s just one of those unfortunate quirks of life. The capacity to die is not a distinguishing character trait. “We have this guy … uh … Rosewood. And he … doesn’t want to die.” That’s it? That’s his thing? “He’s also just, like, very good-looking?” Hmmm. “Also, there’s a lady cop, and she’s sad and stuff, so they probably will have sex eventually.” Sold?

I’m not sold. Rosewood is a snooze and a half. The dialogue is awful, the series largely humorless, and every move that happens in the pilot is something you’ve seen done better elsewhere. Rosewood’s good at noticing things, but he’s one of a lot of cop-adjacent dudes this season whose claim to fame is attention to detail. If he’s so observant, can he maybe observe how stupid it is for him to perform an autopsy while wearing his regular street clothes and gloves — no mask, no gown, no shoe covers, no cap. I’m all for TV taking liberties, but I’ve seen people wear more protective gear to cook an omelette.

I can’t picture anyone seeing a promo or an ad for Rosewood and thinking, Yeah, that’s a show for me. Even Chestnut diehards would surely rather see him do something that required a little more wit or panache. We deserve better, more deliberate, more composed shows than this. Cop (or private pathologist) procedurals can have voice and charm and personality. A distinctive premise. A spark of originality. Humor. Identity. Ideas. Something. Better luck next year, Fox.

We Deserve Better Than Rosewood