TV Review: TNT‘s ‘Trust Me’ Still Needs a Little Work, But Deserves Another Look

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No votes yet Television Rating: 3.5/5.0
Television Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Has TNT’s “Trust Me” lived up to the potential of its cast, concept, or even its clever pilot? With the tenth episode of the first season - “Thanks, I Needed That” - about to air and the season finale only two weeks away, it’s time to take another look at this show and see if it’s made good use of one of the most high caliber ensembles on television.

This week’s episode picks up the battle for the Rolling Rock campaign that Sarah (Monica Potter) has arranged. Cochran’s (Greg Ellis) group and Tony’s (Griffin Dunne) group are approaching the client completely differently. Tony is sticking with the client’s reported interest in focusing on “heritage” but Cochran wants a new approach focused on being “green”.

“Thanks, I Needed That” / Ep109.
Photo credit: Karen Neal

Tony also happens to be approaching a birthday and his wife asks Mason (Eric McCormack) to produce a tribute video for a surprise party and the task trickles down to Conner (Thomas Cavanagh), who is still angry about being passed over for the promotion that his partner got weeks ago. Conner discovers something interesting about Tony’s past at the agency.

“Thanks, I Needed That” / Ep109.
Photo credit: Karen Neal

Maybe it’s the impending birthday or his generally competitive nature, but Tony refuses to give up to Cochran’s ideas about the Rolling Rock campaigns, leading to a series of fights and taking the decision on who will spearhead the campaign all the way to Denise (Donna Murphy). Because Sarah brought in the campaign, she’s stuck in the middle of Cochran and Tony, knowing that the latter has a better campaign but feeling somewhat used by both gentlemen.

Like a green-bottled beer in a crowded refrigerator of competitors, “Trust Me” is a tough sell in today’s TV market. There’s no hook. Audiences are more in love with mystery-of-the-week shows than ever and if you don’t have a sci-fi hook like a time-traveling island or a group of normal people turned heroes, it can be tough to stand out. Most shows set in the present day are either mysteries or soap operas. The workplace drama isn’t what it used to be.

Which is why you should take another look at “Trust Me”. Is it perfect? No and we’ll get to a few things that need to be worked out, but I’m awfully forgiving of this show for two reasons.

One, we need more dramatic programming that doesn’t rely on gimmicks. “Trust Me” is that rare program that features grown men and women using adult dialogue in relatable situations. Who can relate to the people on “Grey’s Anatomy” or “Lost”? Writing present-day shows with complex characters who speak like real human beings is a lot harder than it looks and the dialogue on “Trust Me” is crisp, clever, and believable.

“Thanks, I Needed That” / Ep109.
Photo credit: Karen Neal

Two, this ensemble is spectacular. Griffin Dunne is showing more life than he has in years and Eric McCormack is proving that he may be one of the best “straight men” on TV. Watching the characters like Connor, Tony, and Sarah bounce off Mason in this episode, I thought more than once about the chemistry that McCormack has with each of them. He does something very difficult - almost always playing the less “showy” role than his partner - and makes it look easy.

Now, the dialogue may be strong and the cast fantastic, but the scripts and the storytelling in “Trust Me” still needs some work. “Thanks, I Needed That” feels a bit forced in that department. Without giving anything away, a character makes a professional decision for personal reasons that I simply don’t believe would happen with millions of dollars on the line. Then again, with some of the awful commercials on the air nowadays, maybe this explains a few things. (I’m looking at you, Geico).

“Trust Me” will probably never be a smash hit. It doesn’t have the hook needed in today’s market. But this show deserves a wider audience. “Trust Me” still seems to be finding itself story-wise, but with believable characters, entertaining dialogue and excellent performances, there are enough elements in the foundation of this show to build on.

‘Trust Me,’ which airs on TNT, stars Eric McCormack, Tom Cavanagh, Monica Potter, Griffin Dunne, Geoffrey Arend, Mike Damus, and Sarah Clarke. “Thanks, I Needed That” airs on Tuesday, March 31st, 2009 at 8PM CST. content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

'peeps's picture

Trust Me might seem forced but is as accurate as can be.

The thing about this show that I love is that it captures the real essence of the ad world 100%. As an ad guy, I’m here to tell you that som eof the dialogue is word-for-word from my life. I love this show. it’s smart, the characters are real and the writing is crisp - of course, the # thing is that it is a snippet of real world advertising.

Dani Sepulveda's picture

This was a great review!

I absolutely agree with everything you wrote — and I DO watch Grey’s and Heroes! But I didn’t realize until this show how much this type of workplace drama had been missing from today’s programming. I basically did a marathon 4 episodes last night just to clean out my DVR and am completely hooked on this show! The writing is sharp, smart, dead-on. That scene with Griffin Dunne and Donna Murphy at the end of this episode was exhilarating to watch and like something that could have happened in my office. The cast is amazing. I think Tom Cavanaugh’s and Erik McCormack’s timing is perfect. The only character I really haven’t been able to get into is Denise from the Hydrenaline episodes. SHE feels forced to me, but nothing else really does. This is just spot-on, adult, intelligent writing — just like your review. Thanks!

Donna's picture

Great cast, great chemistry...great show

The last show that was this good was a show a couple years ago, also staring Tom Cavenaugh, called Love Monkey. The subject is different and refreshing, to say the least. Cavenaugh and McCormick are fantastic together and then add in Potter and the sparks fly! I love it! I just hope it’s not off the air before people are able to give it a chance!

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