There are two ways to view "Golden Boy" (10 tonight & March 5; moves to 9 p.m Fridays on March 8), the new CBS cop drama.
On the one hand, it's a typical police procedural surrounded by a concept that mimics "How I Met Your Mother"; the story of how the youngest police commissioner in New York City's history became the youngest police commissioner in New York City's history.
Yet it also seems to be an example of what some often complain about: a show in which a white guy gets all the glory after his wise black sidekick teaches him all he knows.
To be fair, in an early episode Walter Clark (Theo James) does give Owen (the dependably watchable Chi McBride) credit when it's due. But the show is called "Golden Boy" and we know who that is.
But back to the basic plot. Clark is a former street thug whom we meet as a beat cop. He and his partner respond to a robbery in progress. Clark takes down the bad guys, saves a hostage and saves his partner, which earns him a gold shield and a ticket to any place in the force he wants to go.
Flash forward 7 years and he's a graying (?) commissioner with a limp, telling the story of his quick ascent to a journalist.
And we're back to his back story. Ambitious and a bit of a hot head, Clark chooses homicide much to several folks' chagrin. Among the chagrined is Det. Christian Arroyo ("Southland's" Kevin Alejandro) who feels threatened by the golden boy's reputation. Arroyo's partner Deborah McKenzie (Bonnie Somerville) doesn't much like him either, but she won't go to the extremes Arroyo will to undermine Clark.
McBride's Owen, just two years away from retirement, becomes Clark's partner, guru, and maybe, father figure. He must make sure Clark's ambition don't destroy both of their careers.
James is super cute. You won't quite buy him as a tough kid taking care of his wayward sister, but he's cute enough that you may not care. I'm not even sure I believe the character, as written in the first two episodes, could end up being the commissioner in just 7 years. I mean, this is a guy who promises the parents of a homicide victim that 'we'll find the guy.' Anyone who has done any cop show TV watching knows that's a level 101 homicide cop no-no.
Still, "Golden Boy" isn't an awful show. Its crime stories are fairly compelling, and since the producers know how this will all end (I assume), the episodes have a firm direction and leave plenty of little mysterious knots to be untied later. McBride and Arroyo anchor the show where James doesn't have the gravitas to do it. (And dang it, I want Chi McBride on a hit show!!) It will pair well with "Blue Bloods" once it moves to Friday (maybe Walter Clark is the commissioner who replaces Tom Selleck's character. Crossover!).
But golden might be too strong a word.