Following Victory in Court, CBS’ ‘Brooklyn DA’ Generates Mixed Reviews

By Alex Weprin 

Tonight CBS News debuts its docu-series “Brooklyn DA,” following the trials and tribulations (and sometimes actual trials) of the staff in the Brooklyn Distract Attorney’s office.

The series generated heat well before it debuted, as one of the officials looking to challenge the Brooklyn District Attorney Joe Hynes in this year’s election argued that the series was essentially giving Hynes free publicity on network TV. Ultimately a judge decided that the show could go on, after CBS News producers testified under oath regarding how the show was produced.

The reviews for the series cover a wide spectrum. Here are some of the highlights.

Neil Genzlinger, NY Times: “Apart from the guessing game over whether it is or isn’t a news program, the most annoying thing about “Brooklyn DA” is the way it flaunts its Brooklyn-ness. Television that ventures into that borough or, for that matter, other boroughs has created a series of clichés, all of which are in evidence here.”

Brian Lowry, Variety: “‘Brooklyn DA’ does provide some behind-the-curtain looks at the legal process (including a superior helping a young attorney massage and strengthen her opening statement for court), but for any regular viewer of TV legal dramas, there’s not a lot here you haven’t seen before, in one form or another.”

David Hinckley, NY Daily News: “In the end, “Brooklyn DA” suggests any process involving human beings, even with something as crucial as justice, always will be imperfect. With that caveat, it tells us Brooklyn is in caring hands.”

Verne Gay, Newsday: “But as a reality series, it’s highly effective. The interviews with the Figoskis are powerful and especially poignant reminders of a tragedy many may have already forgotten. That’s not going to help anyone get elected, but it may help these young women get a little bit nearer to closure, if that’s even remotely possible. That alone makes “Brooklyn DA” a valuable newcomer.”

Allison Keene, The Hollywood Reporter: “Viewers who enjoy veteran legal series like Law and Order and NBC’s Dateline will find much to appreciate here, and even cynics will have to appreciate the fact that not every case has a happy ending. As a judge says after one of the cases falls apart, “it’s not about chalking up wins and losses, it’s about the pursuit of justice.” The show also shares some similarity in tone with TNT’s police docuseries Boston’s Finest, balancing the chronicling of work with a look at home life. For instance, Collins is shown relieving job stress at the gym and then going home to a supportive husband, while Oh is shown, well, eating.  A lot.”