TV Review: ‘Presumed Innocent’ | Moviefone

TV Review: ‘Presumed Innocent’ | Moviefone

Film

Jake Gyllenhaal and Renate Reinsve in 'Presumed Innocent,' premiering June 12, 2024 on Apple TV+.

(L to R) Jake Gyllenhaal and Renate Reinsve in ‘Presumed Innocent,’ premiering June 12, 2024 on Apple TV+.

Launching on Apple TV+ on Wednesday June 12th with its first two episodes (before arriving weekly), ‘Presumed Innocent’ represents the latest attempt to capture a story in a new medium.

While not a direct remake of the 1990 Harrison Fordmovie (co-written and directed by Alan J. Pakula), this new adaptation of Scott Turow’s 1987 novel finds Jake Gyllenhaal taking over the role of Rusty Sabich, a prosecutor who finds himself in the middle of a legal firestorm when he becomes the prime suspect in the murder of a colleague with whom he used to have a passionate affair.

Related Article: Actor Manuel Garcia-Rulfo Talks Legal Drama ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’

Does ‘Presumed Innocent’ Acquit Itself Effectively?

Jake Gyllenhaal and Bill Camp in 'Presumed Innocent,' premiering June 12, 2024 on Apple TV+.

(L to R) Jake Gyllenhaal and Bill Camp in ‘Presumed Innocent,’ premiering June 12, 2024 on Apple TV+.

‘Presumed Innocent’ both benefits and finds a disadvantage in the expanded runtime offered by a series adaptation. It has the scope and space to explore the story more fully than a movie might, yet in places tends to instead plump for filler that doesn’t always add much in the way of value.

Storylines beyond Gyllenhaal’s central narrative tend to suffer somewhat from that bloat; while it’s good to see the role of his wife (played by Ruth Negga) given more shading, what the producers choose to highlight isn’t always as compelling as it might have been.

‘Presumed Innocent’: Script and Direction

O-T Fagbenle and Peter Sarsgaard in 'Presumed Innocent,' premiering June 12, 2024 on Apple TV+.

(L to R) O-T Fagbenle and Peter Sarsgaard in ‘Presumed Innocent,’ premiering June 12, 2024 on Apple TV+.

Legal thrillers that feature a hefty chunk of courtroom time can be tough to pull off, yet ‘Presumed Innocent’ is in the seemingly safe hands of David E. Kelley, the man behind such shows as ‘The Practice’, ‘Ally McBeal’ and, more recently, Netflix’s ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’.

Yet even he has proved to not always be quite so reliable, the likes of another Netflix effort, ‘A Man in Full’ proving to have gotten away from him. ‘Presumed Innocent’ is certainly more effective than that rambling effort, especially when focused on Gyllenhaal’s character’s legal dilemma.

There are still issues –– including the brutality of the murder and the inclusion of sex scenes that go beyond simply helping to tell the story and becoming gratuitous at times.

Nana Mensah and Noma Dumezweni in 'Presumed Innocent,' premiering June 12, 2024 on Apple TV+.

(L to R) Nana Mensah and Noma Dumezweni in ‘Presumed Innocent,’ premiering June 12, 2024 on Apple TV+.

Director Anne Sewitsky (‘Castle Rock’, ‘Black Mirror’) is among the executive producers and handles the first two episodes and episode eight, while Emmy Greg Yaitanes (‘House’, ‘House of the Dragon’) holds a similar producer role and directs episodes three through seven.

In true Apple style, the result is stylish and clearly expensive (check out some of the houses on display, and there is a solid chunk of location work), but it’s also sometimes a little overly grim and washed out in terms of color. While the show is naturally serious in tone, it’s sometimes less than thrilling directorially.

‘Presumed Innocent’: Performances

Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Presumed Innocent,' premiering June 12, 2024 on Apple TV+.

Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Presumed Innocent,’ premiering June 12, 2024 on Apple TV+.

Gyllenhaal is here credited as an executive producer, so he’s obviously had some impact on the role. He plays Sabich with typical, slightly smug intensity and it’s hard not to wonder in the early going whether he was the wrong choice for the role, especially given the stamp Harrison Ford put on it in the movie version.

Yet as he eases into the part and Sabich’s world starts to disintegrate in the wake of the accusation, things certainly improve, and he brings plenty to the central part. Sabich is a watchable character to follow as he becomes more and more desperate, ever more willing to stretch the bounds of the law to help his case.

Ruth Negga as Barbara Sabich

Ruth Negga and Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Presumed Innocent,' premiering June 12, 2024 on Apple TV+.

(L to R) Ruth Negga and Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Presumed Innocent,’ premiering June 12, 2024 on Apple TV+.

Negga, a veteran of roles in shows and movies including ‘Preacher’ and ‘Loving’, is always impressive, though here she’s sometimes hamstrung by the material the show gives her to work with. As her connection to her husband becomes distant upon learning what he’s suspected of, she spirals. Though her therapy sessions with Dr. Liz Rush (Lily Rabe) are effective, her own explorations of a relationship outside her marriage are less well considered. Still, Negga gives it her all.

Bill Camp as District Attorney Raymond Horgan

Jake Gyllenhaal and Bill Camp in 'Presumed Innocent,' premiering June 12, 2024 on Apple TV+.

(L to R) Jake Gyllenhaal and Bill Camp in ‘Presumed Innocent,’ premiering June 12, 2024 on Apple TV+.

Bill Camp is, of course, a workhorse character actor and if we started to list his credits, we’d be writing a novel. But suffice to say he’s predictably excellent as Sabich’s mentor and a conflicted DA who soon finds his own job at risk. Camp plays rumpled, smart, cynical characters like no other, and here, he’s on his A game.

Peter Sarsgaard as Chief Deputy Prosecutor Tommy Molto

Peter Sarsgaard in 'Presumed Innocent,' premiering June 12, 2024 on Apple TV+.

Peter Sarsgaard in ‘Presumed Innocent,’ premiering June 12, 2024 on Apple TV+.

Peter Sarsgaard gives good creep as the smug, driven lawyer who replaces Sabich on his case and then starts to make him the focus of the murder investigation. He and Gyllenhaal have good, spiky chemistry as rivals.

O-T Fagbenle as DA Nico Della Guardia

O-T Fagbenle and Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Presumed Innocent,' premiering June 12, 2024 on Apple TV+.

(L to R) O-T Fagbenle and Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Presumed Innocent,’ premiering June 12, 2024 on Apple TV+.

O-T Fagbenle is perhaps one of the more confounding chances of the show –– not the actor, but the voice he chose (or the producers landed upon for him). He sounds for all the world like Walter Peck from ‘Ghostbusters’ and his weird, raspy delivery is off-putting, even as the actor does good work as an ambitious, scuzzy DA.

‘Presumed Innocent’: Final Thoughts

Lily Rabe in 'Presumed Innocent,' premiering June 12, 2024 on Apple TV+.

Lily Rabe in ‘Presumed Innocent,’ premiering June 12, 2024 on Apple TV+.

‘Presumed Innocent’ holds up well compared to the movie version despite its challenges. Naturally concerned about spoilers, Apple didn’t offer up the final episode, so we can’t say for sure if it sticks the landing, but from what was provided, it’s certainly an entertaining, if flawed legal drama that boasts a fine central performance.

It’s gripping in places and makes for a captivating watch, which says something in the crowded field of legal drama.

‘Presumed Innocent’: Receives 5.5 out of 10 stars.

Presumed Innocent

“Presume nothing.”

83

TV-MA1 SeasonsJune 11th, 2024

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What’s the story of ‘Presumed Innocent’?

‘Presumed Innocent’ stars Gyllenhaal as chief deputy prosecutor Rusty Sabich, as a horrific murder that upends the Chicago Prosecuting Attorney’s office when one of its own is suspected of the crime.

The series explores obsession, sex, politics, and the power and limits of love, as the accused fights to hold his family and marriage together.

Who else stars in ‘Presumed Innocent’?

The cast for ‘Presumed Innocent’ also includes Ruth Negga, Bill Camp, Elizabeth Marvel, Peter Sarsgaard, O-T Fagbenle and Renate Reinsve.

Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Presumed Innocent,' premiering June 12, 2024 on Apple TV+.

Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Presumed Innocent,’ premiering June 12, 2024 on Apple TV+.

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