WE tv gets into the scripted game with the legal drama The Divide. Has the show bitten off more than it can chew with regards to race, politics, and justice?
The Divide. There’s a two-hour premiere tonight on WE tv at 9pm. There will be eight episodes (six more after tonight).
Twelve years ago an African-American family was murdered in a predominantly white neighborhood in Philadelphia. The killer is set to be executed, but Christine Rosa (Marin Ireland)—an intern for the legal non-profit Innocence Initiative—believes there may have been some case-tampering in the initial investigation and trial. Race, politics, and justice are on a collision course.
This is WE tv’s first scripted series. It comes from AMC Studios, which also produces The Walking Dead. The creators are Richard LaGravenese (Behind the Candelabra) who wrote the pilot, and Tony Goldwyn (Fitz on Scandal) who directed the pilot.
Who is The Divide For?
The basic story at play here explores some interesting dynamics. The issue of race and the justice system does play into familiar tropes, though there is an air of the heavy handedness or a Law & Order marathon. Also, and it really bothers me that we are at a point in television production where this is a positive, but I’m glad that the case isn’t revolving around a woman getting brutally murdered. Well, two of the victims were female, but I guess this is progress?
What Doesn’t Work
The writing and acting, separately and in tandem, can only be described as wooden.2 Throughout the On-Demand Preview that was available the week before the premiere, ads for the show highlighted Big Dramatic Moments(!) which ended up getting defused moments later in the actual episode. At the end of the hour, it was all sizzle and no stakes.
If you are caught up on Scandal and The Killing wasn’t your bag, The Divide seems like an adequate filler show. I applaud the cable networks that are getting into the scripted game, though it seems like WE tv may have been a dumping ground rather than an intended target.