Partner Track Season 1 Review – A very frothy, very predictable guilty pleasure

 

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 9 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 10 -| Review Score – 3/5

 

Partner Track is the epitome of a guilty pleasure. It’s not a particularly great law drama and it’s pretty by the book when it comes to its romance. There’s an undercurrent of predictability rippling right the way through the 10 episodes but yet, somehow, you won’t be able to stop watching.

The story centers on Ingrid Yun, an idealistic young lawyer who struggles with her moral compass and passions to climb the partner track at Parsons Valentine’s law firm. With a frat boy mentality at the firm, Ingrid tries her best to break the perceived patriarchy at play.

Instead of an episodic format though, Partner Track drags out several different cases for its ensemble to juggle across the season. Ingrid is in charge of a corporate acquisition from a guy called Ted Lassiter, looking to buy out fellow energy company Sun Corp.

Ingrid’s best friend Rachel is tasked with a case of “passing the baton” for a matriarch and her three dysfunctional kids, while Tyler is in charge of a fashion dispute. The 10 episodes then essentially spread those cases out, drip-feeding the drama across the chapters.

However, the law side of things essentially works as window dressing to what’s otherwise a romance drama. At the center of this is Ingrid, who’s caught up in a love triangle between perfect nice guy Nick and bad boy Englishman Jeff. Yep, it’s that old chestnut again! Whilst this question of who Ingrid chooses is resolved by the end, there’s also a nice little hook to keep you guessing what may happen next.

The characters themselves are a bit of a mixed bag but the main ensemble largely come across as likable – especially Ingrid. She’s a great protagonist and actually easy to root for. Sure, she makes some silly decisions and sometimes falls into a victim mentality, but she’s headstrong and comes out fighting which is pretty admirable.

Some of the other players, like Dan, are disappointingly shallow and one-dimensional, despite what looked to be a turn to actually flesh him out during a particularly heated discussion with Tyler.

Quality-wise, Partner Track is bang average across the board. The storyline is very predictable and ultimately, this feels designed specifically for those people who just want to kick back on their sofa, chuck something on in the background and scroll through social media. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, but those after something with more bite and substance, are unlikely to find it here.

I can’t help but feel Partner Track would have been much more effective had it gone for a more episodic structure. The idea of a company takeover and some social media badmouthing are interesting enough but spread out across ten 45 minute episodes bogs down the law drama side of things more than it should. As a better example, Extraordinary Attorney Woo has just recently finished and that managed to balance romance and law drama beautifully, even if it didn’t quite stick the landing.

Ultimately, Partner Track is… okay. It’s certainly not going to ignite the small screen and it’s definitely not for those after an in-depth or engrossing law drama. This is a light, frothy romance packaged in a legal parcel, designed for those who don’t want to think too much. If that sounds like your cup of tea, you should be right at home. For everyone else, this one’s probably best skipping.


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  • Verdict - 5/10
    5/10
5/10

14 thoughts on “Partner Track Season 1 Review – A very frothy, very predictable guilty pleasure”

  1. The ending was unsurprising if you had read the book, but I kind of wished that they had left more time to show what the fallout of the revelation that Jeff had stabbed Ingrid in the back to become a partner was.

  2. I guess that, while telegraphed, Ingrid’s betrayal of Nick is the one that hits the hardest because she is the protagonist and you kind of identified with her… you wished that they were on the receiving end, because at least then you wouldn’t feel repulsed by the behavior of someone that you related to and wanted to like. Jeff’s part in all that hit as well, but he was already presented as so disloyal and inclined to walk all over other people to get what he wanted, regardless of the fact that they had never done anything to him, that no one was taken by surprise: in other words, you already felt that he was completely disloyal and totally untrustworthy so his repellent behavior was no surprise. Victoria is barely even worth mentioning, because she is kind on the sideline, plus she she is very upfront with the fact that she sees men as tools to be used, so with her you kind of know how to set your expectations correctly. Tayler was probably the one that hit the most after Ingrid, and only because he was not the protagonist. It was also the one that came kind of as a surprise.

  3. The silver lining for me was that, with 2 out of the 3 members of the “trio” of friends, including the main character, cheating on their partners, at least Rachel did not -I was worried she might get one too-.

  4. I have to agree with Simon in “Motion To Dismiss ‘Partner Track,’ Your Honor”‘s HuffPo’s article. Quote: “I simply did not understand why everyone was so comfortable with their friends cheating on their partners. LIKE??? I was baffled! Because there was no reason for some of the things that occurred, other than to give us a messy “Emily in Paris”-esque storyline and create some faux-ambiguity for a second season.”

  5. In short:
    1. Her betrayal of Nick was completely unnecessary and easily avoidable (therefore in some way even more insulting)… it would have taken her two minutes to pick up one of his calls and break up with him. Compare to her other actions that were either “just business”, or presented as binary choices with her life’s dream on the line, or downstream, indirect negative effects of her job, from clients with questionable ethics.
    2. She has no way to take back her action and undo her betrayal of Nick, in the same way that she could, for example, give Zi the company. So Zi ends up as CEO, while Nick and Anthony (from Tyler’s betrayal) have been emotionally wrecked by them and there is nothing Ingrid or Tyler did or can do to undo their betrayal.
    3. Even just mathematically speaking, a liar and a cheater which is also a bad friend cannot in any way be better than a liar and a cheater, so it’s unclear how pointing out the other bad things she did would in any way make the smaller subset of bad actions any better. If you did something bad, it’s not as if doing something equally bad, let alone even worse, would make the first bad thing any better. A complete moral inversion.
    4. The damage she caused Zin she could and did revert, by giving him the company and making him CEO. Not so for Nick (or Anthony), and factually speaking there is nothing that Ingrid (or Tyler) “can do to undo”.

  6. Imho Ingrid’s betrayal of Nick differed from her other objectionable actions in a number of ways (though some of these hold for other of her actions as well):

    1. It was personal, both in the sense that he was her partner, and she was therefore in a position to cause to hurt him the most, and in the sense that it was not a “just business” situation, or an indirect negative externality of her work at the company, such as the effect on the environment (similar to how people work for companies or buy products despite the fact that something unethical might happen at some point in the production or delivery process).
    2. It was not a case where she stopped before the damage was done or where she could undo it, the way she could intervene to salvage Zi’s situation before it was too late, and arguably the situation with her friends. Zi’s situation is one where she stopped the damage at the last minute, and it was reversible, while her betrayal of Nick is not one where she stopped in time and that she has any way of undoing. In other words, actions have consequences, and not all of them are revertible. No matter how bad things could have gone with Zi’s case, she was able to stop things in time and turn the situation around. Arguably his friends’ situation is in a similar category. Nick’s case is one that falls squarely in the second camp, and there is nothing she did, or could do, to take back her actions and undo her betrayal.
    3. The company stuff was presented as a series of binary zero sum choices with her life long dream on the line (not that this makes her actions any more acceptable) while her betrayal of Nick was most definitely not: it was, on the contrary, something she could have easily avoided by picking up one of his phone calls and having a two minute conversation where she broke things off. So, no hard choice where she had to decide how much her life long dream was worth, but a situation where Nick was either not even a consideration, or if he was, it was not enough for her to not stab him in the back, either options being pretty telling… but likely he was so unimportant that he was not even worth a thought in her eyes, otherwise she would have spared two minutes to call and break things off. Not that sacrificing your partner in order to get ahead, like Murphy did, would have been any more acceptable, but the sheer futility, unnecessariness and lack of care makes her actions even more insulting, in some way. He was betrayed so thoroughly, and it was all for nothing, as she could just have called him and broke things off and it would have been so easily avoidable with basically no cost for her in terms of time or effort.
    4. In any case, I must point out that her doing other bad things doesn’t really make her betrayal or any of her questionable actions better. If you are a liar and a cheater *and* a bad friend, the latter does not exactly make the former better or less serious, if anything it makes the overall picture worse all around. It would be downright bizzarre to offer up as a rebuttal to criticism of her completely unnecessary and totally avoidable betrayal of the guy she was engaged with that she also did other bad things (see previous point about them such as the reversibility, etc.).

  7. I kind of thought that the producer would have been the Sex and the City guy, given the romantic plotline.

  8. I must say that I kind of liked Ingrid’s sister, and I hoped to see her put her life together more by the end of the show. Also, to see something of Nick and Anthony putting themselves back together. I guess that they might have had a bigger role in the second season had they made one (I must admit that the decision to cancel the show was rather surprising given the popularity of very similar shows like Emily in Paris).

  9. Overall, I would have liked to see what happened to Nick. The cheating was essentially brushed over, though at least he was not gaslighted: it would have been utterly unreasonable to expect him to be able to read Ingrid’s mind, and a partner shouldn’t be forced to act as Sherlock Holmes in a crime scene to try to deduce what is going on. Plus, we as the audience have bird’s eye view, while he cannot know what Ingrid doesn’t tell him, or lies about.

    He thought things were going fine, with her agreeing to live with him, asking him to meet her parents, and agreeing to marrying him -even without great proclamations on her part, clearly these were signals one gives someone that they are into and want a serious relationship with, and it’s not reasonable for him to hallucinate issues that might or might not be there based on what she does or does not say, given that when he asks her explicitly, she agrees to marrying him, and before that she agreed to live with him, and she was the one that invited him to meet her parents, clearly a big step relationship wise: obviously, he is going to trust her words, and cannot be aware of issues if she is completely uncommunicative and doesn’t talk to him, so of course he would think that they are on the same page-.

    One could clearly see why he thought she was into him, given all the above, and while living together for almost six months and considering marriage might be considered fast, she never told that she wanted to take things slower, and she agreed to marrying him… all in all, everyone from her friends to her mother and sister to the colleague she cheated with knew more about her relationship with Nick than the guy himself: the closest they came to touch on an issue was when she told him she had issues saying no, and was going back home to reflect, but that was in the context of discussing her giving a speech she didn’t want to give, so obviously he is left confused about the true state of the relationship, particularly when she ghosts him and doesn’t pick up his phone calls afterwards. Obviously, from her reaction when he catches her half naked at the hospital, it’s clear that this is not a situation where she thought she had broken up with him and there was miscommunication: both knew that they were still in a relationship. I found pretty ridiculous that she mentioned that her and Jeff had history… yes, the history was a one night stand six years ago, while she and Nick had an actual relationship, they lived together for almost six months, she invited him to meet her family, and agreed to marry him, accepting both his mother’s earrings and his family’s ring. Frankly, a career woman in her thirties being hung up on a one night stand more than half a decade earlier, and the whole “dark and mysterious bad boy with a complicated troubled past” thing, sounds very much like immature teenager rebelling against her parents.

    All in all, it’s incredible how she was so uncommunicative that between Nick, her friends, mother, sister and even the colleague she cheated with, Nick was the one that knew the least about the status of their own relationship. And not for lack of trying: he is, again, neither a mind reader nor a private investigator, he can only go by what she tells him; he wants to have a talk about the issue when she raises the point of her not being able to say no, but she walks away, and then doesn’t pick up his calls. What she doesn’t tell him, or lies about, is not something he can be expected to know, nor should he be expected to know: communication in a relationship shouldn’t require one’s partner to read your mind, if you have an issue or want to talk about something, you should tell them explicitly, if you don’t mention it or even lie about it, it’s no wonder that his map does not reflect the territory. And reflect the territory it did not: even if he thought there was a problem, he expected her to at least try to make the relationship work (or at least be honest about wanting to break up, which would have required her merely picking up one of his calls and telling him that it was over… while in person would have been better, always better than betraying and deceiving him, and a phone call with maybe an agreement to meet in person another day would have been honest, and as a bonus, though that would not be the main point, it would have prevented him finding her half naked at the office). Quite clearly, this did not reflect the mental model he had of her, but obviously that’s not a reason to victim blame him, because of course if he had known she was a liar and a cheater he would not have thought of asking her to marry him. In the end, I would have liked them to show more about him and Anthony’s future, and maybe even show them moving on with their lives after those traumatic events.

  10. This show was definitely a downer in portraying a law firm only and so key out for big bucks. The main character, Ingrid, while starting as likeable became ruthless and untrustworthy. She threw her friends under the bus in k pursuit of becoming a junior partner. And her teenage like crush on Jeff, whom she had a romp in the sack six years before, was so silly in cheating on her fiance. She became unsympathetic regardless of ending moral victory!

  11. It’s a knock off of Emily in Paris. Instead of an influencer in Paris it’s about an attorney in NY. Very similar format including romantic plot lines.

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