Partner Track is a successful series. It manages to be an indictment of the immorality of capitalism and institutionalized racism while telling dramatic stories about interesting people. A success.
Partner Track is set in New York City, in a big law firm. The three main characters all work in the Acquisitions and Mergers (A&E) part of the firm. All three are working hard to make partner.
The central character is Ingrid (Arden Cho), a workaholic obsessed with making partner and willing to do anything to get there. Her two best friends are Rachel (Alexandra Turshen) and Tyler (Bradley Gibson).
Rachel isn’t working as hard as the others, and hates being a lawyer but doesn’t know how to stop. Tyler is gay with a long term boyfriend and leads the fight over a fashion empire (yes, there are tropes and clichés in the plot).
Around these three are many co-workers, friends, lovers, and family. In the 10 episode first season, we get to know all three of them well.
Every day of work for anyone in their law firm was high pressure, big money, and competition to impress the boss Marty Adler (Matthew Rauch) by closing big deals making millions of dollars. Part of that work was helping big oil and gas companies swallow up green energy companies only to destroy them, or helping big fashion designers swallow up indie designers only to destroy them. Soon enough the things the boss wants the lawyers to do start to nag at their consciences. They think about what is moral and just vs. making millions of dollars. Thoughts like that certainly don’t fit the company ethic.
There’s also a strong motif around racism and sexism in the workplace. It becomes clear as time goes on that no matter how good an Asian American woman or an African American man are at their jobs, the top spots are only for white men.
Ingrid is involved in a love triangle for most of the season.
Ingrid shared one night years ago with Jeff (Dominic Sherwood) and still has hot thoughts about him. He moves into the firm from London and gets her hot all over again. She accidentally gets involved with Nick (Rob Heaps) as well. She can’t decide which of them she wants. It was pretty obvious which one came dangling red flags and which one was a nice guy, but Ingrid couldn’t see it.
Tyler and Rachel have their own personal relationship storylines. The gay character’s sex life gets as much attention as the straight characters – another success for this series.
The Partner Track was developed by Georgia Lee with many women in the writers room. I thought the character arcs were very well done. It took the characters from gung ho for anything to questioning the morality and rightness of what they were doing. It stretched over many episodes with small incidents and microaggressions slowly building. Each character had flaws and that was shown, too. The secondary characters were less explored, but interesting.