Review: Conviction

Hayley Atwell in Conviction

I thought I liked Hayley Atwell when I watched Agent Carter. I was wrong. I’m actually completely crazy about her. As Hayes Morrison in Conviction she is awesome. Awesome.

Hayes Morrison is the former first daughter of the United States. Her mother Harper (Bess Armstrong) is currently running for the Senate. Being the the public eye, being the child of politicians trained to smile no matter the reality, has created a fascinating hot mess of a woman. The way Hayley Atwell plays her makes me want to yell things at my TV.

Hey, that rebellious expression – that was great. Oh, I love the way you crawled out from under that desk. Wow, look at the ironic understanding in your eyes. Man, you are really smart – why are you hiding it? Truth, baby, truth! You get the idea.

Hayes Morrison is a brilliant lawyer, a principled woman, but she’s also a rebel who doesn’t want to follow anyone’s rules. She makes bad choices for terrible reasons. She leaves hurt people in her wake. She took a job to head up NYC’s Conviction Integrity Unit because she didn’t want to go to jail for being caught with cocaine in her purse. In short, Hayes Morrison is a well-written, complex female character and Hayley Atwell is playing her with perfection.

Shawn Ashmore, Merrin Dungey, Hayley Atwell, Emily Kinney, and Manny Montana in Conviction

Other characters include Connor Wallace (Eddie Cahill), the DA and Hayes’ former lover. Working with her in the CIU are Tess (Emily Kinney), Sam (Shawn Ashmore), Maxine (Merrin Dungey), and Frankie (Manny Montana). The crew at CIU is admirably inclusive, but we haven’t learned very much about the 4 of them yet. As of this week we are only 3 episodes in, so getting to know them is something to look forward to.

The format of the show is a weekly case for the CIU to investigate and determine whether the conviction was a correct one. So far the cases Hayes chooses run toward freeing people who were wrongly convicted. It’s too early to tell if that will be a constant theme. In episode 3, “Dropping Bombs,” Sam did something sketchy that revealed a lot about his character. The person they investigated was not guilty of the crime he was convicted of, but should have been in jail anyway. More points to Hayley Atwell for the look in her eyes during her unspoken realization of what Sam probably did.

The series was written and created by Liz Friedlander and Liz Friedman.

Have you watched Conviction? Do you share my enthusiasm for this new series and Hayley Atwell’s portrayal of Hayes Morrison?

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