The First Female Police Chief
Another year rolls round and another new slew of Spring shows to digest. Of course, no palette would be complete without a few police procedurals thrown in for good measure. On paper, Tommy looks like a feel-good formulaic show, with simple cases dabbled with some political intrigue and empathetic characters to root for. Unfortunately the execution fails to hit the mark, with clunky exposition, some political agenda-driven writing that hammers home the same message repeatedly and a very simple set-up. Of course, there’s still time for that to change but right now Tommy is looking like another below-average effort.
Episode 1 of Tommy begins with a press conference about the first female chief joining the force. Meanwhile, ICE corner a woman with a little girl, who’s subsequently saved by an LAPD officer who stop the immigration services from taking the girl away. As the situation reaches a stalemate, the new police chief Abigail (called Tommy by everyone) arrives at the crime scene where she sits with Mr Weathers, a man from ICE, discussing this immigration issue. She diffuses the situation for now while riot police show up and maintain the situation in the streets and prevent it growing into civil unrest.
The Mayor discusses the new chief, and in particular her sexuality, with Doug while the Chief herself tries to find a relative for the little girl, Madison. Not long after, she’s called into the office where the investigator shows Officer Reid was a long way from the area he was supposed to be patrolling. After writing him off as an idealist, the chief talks to Donn Cooper about the situation and suspects if she messes this up, then there will never be another female police chief, at least not for a while.
In a desperate bid to save the little girl, Tommy is forced to call her daughter Kate and have her look after Madison, but not before being called a terrible mother. Later on however, they discuss the situation together as Tommy continues to tell her about the difficult childhood she’s had, eventually leading to Kate inviting her to dinner.
The next day at the office, the team discuss the best way of dealing with the case, leading them to both an inmate and a slimy businessman called Lopez linked to the issue. This leads Tommy to sit with the Mayor, discussing the best way of handling this. At Kate’s, Tommy is told about how scared the girl is and suspects she may have been sexually abused. The next day, she visits Maria and frees her from custody, convincing her to offer up the name of the one responsible – which happens to be Lopez.
As the episode closes out. Tommy stands proud and announces her sexuality at a dinner party and afterward, speaks to her daughter Kate about her upbringing where we close the episode out.
Immigration is, of course, a hot topic right now and many shows have taken this idea and run with it. Whether it be Picard’s Romulan situation or Little America’s heartwarming, uplifting take on this, Hollywood continues to exploit this idea as much as possible. Don’t get me wrong though, there’s certainly scope here to explore this in a really thought provoking and clever manner but Tommy is sadly not that show, at least not right now.
With more exposition about the chief being a feminist icon and some awkwardly contrived dialogue about her past trauma, Tommy is shaping up to be a bit of a wobbly procedural. Of course, this could change going forward and plenty of shows take a while to settle into their groove. For now we’re reserving judgment on this one but out of all the good shows this year already, Tommy is fighting an uphill battle.