Doubt: It Could Have Been Great

If you blinked earlier this year, then you missed Doubt, one of CBS’s new ‘hit’ dramas. It only aired two episodes before it was whisked away into the bin of “Oops, our bad.”

And in the case of Doubt, that really really sucked.

It Had Everything Going For It

At first, Doubt looked like a great show. It had some phenomenal actors (Dulé Hill, Elliot Gould, Laverne Cox), it had trans actors playing trans characters, and it had that quasi-The Good Wife legal shenanigans drama fun going for it. The premise was fairly straight forward: an unconventional law firm does this differently. They could take on pressing legal dramas of the week, and it had the potential to be brilliant.

The only thing I failed to mention was it stared Katherine Heigl.

It Had Everything Going Against It

Look. I have nothing against her as an actor. She’s one of those actors that is smack-dab middle of good, though. There are some actors, like Elliot Gould and Dulé Hill and Laverne Cox, who can transcend their roles and steal your scenes. Then there are actors who, for some reason or another, end up as leads and they just don’t have that gravitas. Heigl, for me at least, is one of those. And they based the whole show around two of her plots, which is the other problem.

Heigl’s Sadie Ellis was the daughter of the wheelman — or wheelwoman — of a revolutionary. Her mother went to protest the government, ended up being a part of the murder of a highway patrolman, and oops, she’s been in jail for 30 some years. Sadie was raised by Gould’s Isaiah Roth. Who Sadie’s mom is in love with.

But that’s not the soapy part that was the problem! It was the other Sadie-plot, where she fell in love with the suspect of a 24-year old murder.

Soap Killed The Drama

The show died a quick death, I feel, because it relied too much on Heigl for those first two episodes. Yes, it was doing the setup, as most show do. The show was a heck of a lot better once you got to episode four, but… It’s really a struggle to get there.

I think if they’d balanced out the plot a little, drawn the reveal of Isaiah and Carolyn (Sadie’s mother) until later on, or maybe not had Sadie sleep with the suspect right away, it would have done better. The show was a curiously bad combination of having to get everything important in early, and having to draw it out for 12 episodes.

Good News? You Can Watch It All!

If you have CBS All Access, you can watch all 13 episodes right now!! CBS put them all up after burning the episodes off from June to … well last week. I binged them all and I have to say, the show should have stuck around. It ends on a cliff hanger, for crying out loud!

I won’t spoil it for you, since I really do think you should watch it, but the shocking reveal at the end is both shocking and totally expected, and it was told in a way that even if you knew it had to be, you’re happy with how it happened.

But the real reason you should watch the show is Cox’s Cameron Wirth. Her character’s love story is, pardon the phrase, transcendent. As Autostraddle said, it paints a better future for trans women, and thank god for it. We were cheering her on every single episode.

Check Out Doubt

It’s 13 episodes, it has no dead queer females, it has happy endings for all of them (kind of…), and all the trans women characters are played by trans women.

About Mika Epstein

Mika has been deep in the fandom world since she could say 'Trekkie.' With over two decades experience in running fansites and organizing communities, she's taken on the challenge of delving into the recesses of television for queers long forgotten. Making this site with Tracy is nothing short of serendipity. Mika lives with her wife and their cats in Southern California. Of course she has a hybrid, but she'd rather ride her bicycle.
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