Mini-review: Golden Boy 1×1 (CBS)

How on earth did he get to the top?

Golden Boy

In the US: Tuesdays, 10/9c, CBS

Not really worth a full-on review, since it’s so perfectly generic, I could recycle practically any other review I’ve ever written of a CBS cop drama and it would say more or less the same thing.

The basic idea is that the Robert Kennedy-alike Walter William Clark Jr (Theo James, who could see dead people in Sky Living’s horror show Bedlam) will become the youngest police commissioner in New York City history seven years from now, and when he’s interviewed about how he got to the top so quickly, we see in flashback the events that transpired along the way.

And it’s incredibly, incredibly generic. We have the slobby black partner a couple of years from retirement (Chi McBridge) and the ambitious backstabbing detective who’s intent on sabotaging Clark Jr’s obviously inevitable career trajectory (Kevin Alejandro from Southland). We have a token female detective who’s somewhere on the moral spectrum between those two. We have a wayward sister for our hero to look after.

All of which might be excusable if there were decent plots. But for a Golden Boy, he ain’t half stupid. There is literally no obvious insight that he can’t make, no obvious act of backstabbing that he won’t miss. The show should more probably be called Earnest Boy, because this isn’t a political animal like Robert Kennedy in the making (which someone who rose that quickly up the career ladder would really need to be).

So although, as with all CBS dramas, it is competently made, has a decent degree of verisimilitude and looks great, ignore it.


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.