Reviews | Written by Laura Potier 26/07/2019

L.A.’s Finest

REVIEWED: SEASON 1 (EPISODES 1 - 3) | WHERE TO WATCH: NOWTV, SKY GO

L.A.’s Finest is advertised as a spin-off to Bad Boys but fronted by two women (Gabrielle Union, Jessica Alba). Union reprises her Bad Boys II role as Syd Burnett, but there’s no need to familiarise yourself with the franchise before jumping into this police procedural drama.

If you are familiar with Will Smith’s and Martin Lawrence’s lovable duo however, you’ll be disappointed to see that L.A.’s Finest lacks the uproarious comedy of its predecessor. Sure, there is good chemistry between Union’s Syd and Alba’s Nancy (mostly referred to as McKenna, thank God), and a visible effort on both their parts to make the most of the lazy, formulaic screenplay.

Yet even these established actresses can’t rescue their heavy-handed characters. Syd is the ‘free and wild’ one: she has a lot of sex, she’s bi, rolls joints, rides a motorcycle, has swagger to spare. Meanwhile, McKenna knows all about cars, she’s ex-Navy, a ballistics expert, and a cool step-mum! They’re so sexy and tough and shoot off one-liners like nobody’s business. They also look fantastic walking around in slow motion.

This might have worked in the ‘90s, but isn’t television in 2019 worth a little more than that? The broad strokes promised a female-led action-comedy, which sounded great. The execution is another matter entirely.

The procedural style means Syd and McKenna solve weekly cases, while also investigating some big Los Angeles drug cartel. The episode-long investigations are incredibly boring, only made slightly more bearable with frequent shoot-outs and car chases – in case you’d forgotten, these women are tough™. Our duo also finds themselves working (read: bantering) with another pair of detectives, Duane Martin’s Ben Baines and Zach Gilford’s Ben Walker. They’re the Bens.

Things start looking mildly more interesting when we find out that Syd has a secret she’s keeping from her partner… but wait! McKenna also has a dark past she won’t disclose. A dirty cop story would have had the potential to make this show more than a B-version Bad Boys. Unfortunately, it fails to lean into the grittiness of shady police dealings and abuse of power, entirely content to coast on clichés and an attractive cast.

L.A.’s Finest is a show that could have done well in the mid-2000s. It’s a paint-by-numbers police show with a decent budget, starring known actresses as women who can kick ass and joke with the boys. The problem is that now, it’s dull and it’s lazy. Being that it’s only three episodes in, it wouldn’t be fair to write it off completely just yet – after all, there must be a reason why it’s been renewed for a second season. For now however, L.A.’s Finest is barely fine.