At first glance, it’d be difficult not to dismiss TNT’s new series, Public Morals, as another cops and robbers period drama that hits all the notes we’ve come to expect from such a program. But to do so would be to turn your back on an engaging and watchable new show.
Set in 1960’s New York, Public Morals stars Edward Burns as Terry Muldoon, who hits the street with his partner, Charlie Bullman (Michael Rapport), searching out any and all vices the streets have to offer, such as prostitution, drugs, gambling, and on and on. Of course, in the line of duty, the officers are also known to turn a blind eye every so often, or even accept a bribe or more. They have challenging home lives in addition to their shady work dealings. When the pilot caps off with the death of a major character, Public Morals begins to cast its spell. The killing opens us up to the “bad guys” of the show, namely Joe Patton (Brian Dennehy), who runs the West Side Irish mob, and gets many of the show’s greatest moments.
Based on casting alone, Public Morals has much going for it. Add in the sweeping talents of Edward Burns, who is both the creator, writer and director of the show, and you have a drama that is aimed at being just that. Public Morals definitely wants to entertain through its storytelling and keeping the series at a nice, lean ten episodes should make that goal easily achieved.