‘Eyes’ continues ABC’s roll of solid series

  • By Victor Balta / Herald Writer
  • Sunday, March 27, 2005 9:00pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

ABC is rolling like letters off the tongue of a 4-year-old who just learned the alphabet song.

At the start of the new TV season, the role of new shows such as “Lost,” “Desperate Housewives” and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” in the network’s resurgence were well documented.

Now that we’ve reached the midseason point, ABC isn’t letting up.

Its new sitcom, “Jake in Progress,” starring John Stamos, is surprisingly good, and the new Seattle-based medical drama, “Grey’s Anatomy,” which premiered Sunday night, is a solid addition.

Now, a one-time local favorite retakes the lead in a new high-intensity drama, “Eyes,” which debuts at 10 p.m. Wednesday on KOMO-TV.

Tim Daly, who became a familiar face around Everett while filming the short-lived CBS remake of “The Fugitive,” is now playing the hunter rather than the prey.

He’s Harlan Judd, the sharp-dressed and witty owner of a private investigation firm that takes on cases with the highest stakes.

His main motivation is cash.

Receiving it and retrieving it.

Lots of it.

As he says in the premiere, if someone steals $100 from you, you call the police. If they steal $100,000, you call the FBI. But if you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and your chief financial officer embezzles $100 million on your watch, you call Judd Risk Management.

The cases the firm takes provide the foundation for the drama, but like its Wednesday lead-in show, “Alias,” that’s only half of it.

In a riveting pilot that sets the premise while making us interested in the show’s half-dozen main characters, we discover the firm’s financial troubles, a love triangle, some back-stabbing and a $2 million civil lawsuit against Judd.

Oh, and the firm is trying to track down $102 million that a guy stole from his one-time business partner.

Just to prove it isn’t all about the money, the firm takes on pro bono cases, mostly to resolve disputes for friends.

Daly, still best known for playing the uptight Joe Hackett on NBC’s 1990s sitcom, “Wings,” provides a good balance between hard-edged and offhand, although the hard-edge is dulled at times.

His approach is clarified quickly when he teaches a new investigator his sly method of getting as close to the subject as possible. The drama builds as he draws closer to the man they’re chasing before the climax hits.

The story lines in “Eyes” are relatively straightforward, which will come as a relief to those who are getting tired of the wave of fast-paced, jargon-riddled detective shows.

The show’s style, always sleek and at times sexy, carries it, and the plot twists don’t come off as simple devices.

A strong supporting cast – including Garcelle Beauvais (“NYPD Blue”), Chris Didion (“Collateral Damage”) and Eric Mabius (“The L Word”) – shows the potential to rival that of “The Practice,” where seemingly fringe characters eventually took more of the spotlight.

“Eyes” isn’t the best new show of the year but should do well on a night following ABC’s hits, “Lost” and “Alias,” and provide ABC with another hit.

If nothing else, it’s worth seeing what the world could be like if the twisted rich guys usually got caught.

Columnist Victor Balta: 425-339-3455 or vbalta@heraldnet.com.

ABC photo

in “Eyes,” Tim Daly stars Harlan Judd, the sharp-dressed and witty owner of a private investigation firm that takes on cases with the highest stakes.

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