Against the Wall: a real female detective

16 Aug

Ok.  I’m going to be honest.  I know I should be on the cutting edge of knowing every single TV show and when they are airing.  But… I don’t.  There are so many now, it’s sometimes overwhelming if you are like me and actually like television.  I wouldn’t know about Against the Wall if iTunes didn’t have a free preview of it.  I’m not as in tune with Lifetime Network as I probably should be.  I’m wondering if my father knows about the show because he is the secret Lifetime Movie Network addict.  Whenever I go home, I inevitably walk in on him watching a TV movie that he’s either so into you can’t speak to him or he’s snoring through.  I guess nobody let him know he’s not the target audience for female-driven melodramas.  I don’t feel like telling him.  It always gives me a bit of hope to see men watching shows targeted at women.  I just find this ironic since  I am a female over 30 who should be their target audience.  But I don’t always go in for the girly shows.  Yes, sometimes I do.  I secretly like Drop Dead Diva.  Or did.  I missed this most of this season.  Actually it is currently airing on Lifetime on Sunday nights, right before Against the Wall created by Annie Brunner (Saving Grace, Any Day Now, Huff).

First, I was wary of any female cop show that was going to air on Lifetime.  All I could think of was some sort of cuddly, hormonal hour-long burden that I would resent because it made women look far too stereotypical.  But I don’t believe that’s what’s actually going on in this show.  Abby Kowalski (Rachael Carpani) comes from a family of cops – all male.  She’s the ambitious one and the pilot episode is about her first day on the job as a detective – of Internal Affairs, the most hated department in all police precincts.  We watch as she deals with having to disclose to her entire family she’s essentially joined ranks with the enemy.  Only her mother, Sheila (Kathy Baker), gives her any support.  And yes, this is a female-driven crime drama.  Abby’s IA partner is a pregnant detective, Lina (Marisa Ramirez), and there’s some tension but yeah, they actually get along.   No, this show is not as fun-loving as Castle.  And in no way is it  Cagney and Lacey.  It’s somewhere in the middle.  Abby is a woman who is at once confident in her professional life and yet insecure when it comes to her father.  She doesn’t, however, let that stop her from going after her goals.  She’s also a bit of a klutz.  It’s always nice to see another women who tries to keep it together knock over a display at a grocery store or trip over her own feet.  This keeps her more real than the traditional female cops we tend to get who are no nonsense and never make mistakes.  She reminds me of a less intense Brenda (The Closer) when she secretly eats her Ding Dongs or other chocolate snacks in the midst of a personal or professional crisis.  Because yes, women turn to chocolate.  In Abby’s case, her brother’s police partner is her fix, the guy she uses for sex when she’s got a problem.  Yes, women do that as well.  Again, a bit more real.

This show is about watching Abby rise professionally in a world that is hostile to her job and department, and yet each week we see her still come out a winner.  It’s also about a woman who isn’t good in romantic relationships and is sometimes overwhelmed by family expectations.  In other words, it’s about a human being.  Who happens to be female.

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