Why “Golden Boy” is Like a Bag of Potato Chips

Golden Boy

A Review of the CBS Crime Drama “Golden Boy” by Tiffany A. White

Golden Boy follows Walter William Clark, Jr. (Theo James from the British series Bedlam and Downton Abbey) on his unprecedented rise through the New York City Police force from a beat cop, to detective, to police commissioner. This rise to the top took Clark only seven years, making him the youngest police commissioner in the history of NYC.

The role of Clark supposedly belonged to Ryan Phillippe in the early stages of the series’ development. I don’t know why Mr. Phillippe backed out, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit disappointed by this… at first. But after watching the first four episodes, I have decided Mr. James will do just fine—he’s quite cute, especially when he smiles.

But let’s get back to the show…

Each episode begins in the future, or the present, depending on which way we want to look at it. Either way, we know that Clark is now police commissioner. After the opening scenes, the series rewinds back in time to Clark’s days as a homicide detective.

Clark’s heroism helped him advance to detective after only four years on the job as a beat cop. This heroism comes as a sort of double-edged sword. On one hand, the women find him irresistible. But on the other, not all of the detectives in his squadron agree that he’s so golden—particularly Christian Arroyo (Kevin Alejandro from Southland and True Blood).

Bottom line: Clark has great instincts… he just needs a little mentoring.

It was reported that this crime drama is more character driven than most. Instead of focusing on the cases the police solve, Golden Boy focuses on the Clark character and the relationships he forms with his partners and mentors, specifically Detective Don Owen (Chi McBride from Boston Public and Human Target).

Now, I’m not going to argue that the show hasn’t given the audience glimpses into Clark’s character because it has: he’s a good guy, evidenced by the fact he lives with and supports his younger sister; he’s humble, possessing the tendency to give credit to others for his accomplishments, especially to his partner who has been in homicide for eleven years and is looking for a promotion; and he’s generous, giving money to patrol officers to buy coffee and donuts.

I also won’t argue with the fact that the series has shown the relationships forming between Clark and a few of the other characters… First, there’s his partner; Clark truly seems to value what Owen has to say, and he genuinely wants to see good things in Owen’s future. There’s also his budding relationship, good and bad, with Deb McKenzie (Bonnie Somerville from NYPD Blue and Cashmere Mafia) and Arroyo, the other partnership in the department.

However, all these developing relationships aside, the series still reminds me of all the other police procedurals already on the air today…

And even though the show follows Clark as the main character, let’s talk about Arroyo for a minute. This guy can’t stand Clark. Generally speaking, Arroyo has a horrible attitude… he even slaps a female suspect in interrogation. He is so determined to be top dog, that he’ll do anything to stand out to the higher-ups, including framing and threatening other detectives, as well as rushing into crimes-in-progress without the proper warrants AND at the risk of his partner’s life, a partner he is currently having an extramarital affair with. And Clark’s not the only one on Arroyo’s hit list—he can’t stand Owen either. This guy is a real tool and not at all deserving of his level-headed and beautiful partner.

And while we’re on the subject of the supporting cast, the new series also stars a few other familiar faces: Holt McCallany (CSI: Miami and Lights Out) as Joe Diaco, the detective with all of the connections; Stella Maeve (My Super Psycho Sweet 16-Part 2) as Agnes, Clark’s sister; and Odette Annable (House) in a recurring role as ADA Kat O’Connor (and perhaps a potential love interest for Clark).

So, how does Golden Boy rank? It is just another police procedural, like all the others, but I have enjoyed it so far. Do I prefer it over the other CBS police procedurals, like CSI? CSI: NY? Blue Bloods? Hawaii Five-0? NCIS: LA? Maybe… but probably not. It’s too early to decide; but I’m definitely not deleting it from the DVR queue anytime soon. What can I say? I’m a sucker for these shows and I want to know what happens to Clark. Heck, I even want to know what happens with Arroyo.

To me, Golden Boy is like a bag of potato chips; there are all those different flavors out there, and regardless of the fact that we prefer one particular flavor, we still can’t keep ourselves from trying all the others. And just like the potato chip companies, television networks can’t keep themselves from putting out new flavors, I mean police procedurals left and right. One never knows when they might strike gold.

Oh, and before we go…

As commissioner, we notice Clark walks with a limp; as a homicide detective, he does not. It will be interesting to see if the show lasts long enough for viewers to learn the reason why…

After premiering on a Tuesday night, CBS indicated it was going to move Golden Boy to Friday nights in CSI: NY’s timeslot. And depending on which show scored higher rankings on that particular night and time would determine which one would be back in the 2013-2014 season. But after only one week partnered with Blue Bloods, Golden Boy is now back on Tuesday nights in Vegas’ slot.

What does that mean? Is CSI: NY safe and Vegas not? Who knows… Honestly, I hate all the back and forth the networks do with TV series. Just pick a night and time and leave it alone!!


Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery “Football Sweetheart” series. She blogs at The Ooo Factor and is available for contact via Twitter at @Tiffany_A_White, Facebook at Tiffany A. White, or by email at tiffany@tiffanyawhite.com.

© 2013 Tiffany A. White. All written content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

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