Review: Goliath, season 2

Billy Bob Thornton and Nina Arianda in Goliath

Goliath, season 2, is a full on murder mystery with Billy Bob Thornton playing the semi-drunken investigator/lawyer with a heart of gold who tries to spring an innocent kid from jail.

In season 2 there is very little continuity with the plot from season 1. Some of the characters remain the same. Billy Bob Thornton is in the lead as Billy McBride. Diana Hopper returns as Billy’s daughter Denise. He uses some of the millions he earned in season 1’s victory to buy her a house on the beach while he continues to live in the motel next to his favorite bar.

Billy bought himself a Prius but couldn’t bring himself to drive it. Soon enough he had another red Mustang convertible.

Tania Raymonde is back as Brittany, a former prostitute that Billy hires as a paralegal. Julie Brister is back as Billy’s other paralegal, Marva. Also back is Nina Arianda as Patty Solis-Papagian, the lawyer Billy uses as his second in command.

Billy Bob Thornton, Nina Arianda, and Diego Josef in Goliath
My client is innocent, Your Honor

McBride is a lawyer without an office, and basically without a practice. The cook from the bar next door, Oscar (Lou Diamond Phillips) convinces Billy to take his son’s case. His son Julio (Diego Josef) is accused of killing two men. Billy is slowly sucked into the case because he believes Julio is innocent.

Ana de la Reguera and Billy Bob Thornton in Goliath

In the 8 episodes of season 2, many characters weave in and out of the story. Most important is Marisol Silva (Ana de la Reguera). She is running for mayor of Los Angeles. She supports Julio and wants him released as innocent because he was part of her community program. Marisol has known Julio for many years.

Marisol is an appealing candidate. Denise goes to work in her office answering phones.

Marisol and Billy get involved in a romance, which leads to a considerable amount of trouble for them both.

Much as Nina Arianda as Patty adds to solving the mystery, Ana de la Reguera has the leading female part in season 2.

Plenty of bad guys sprinkle the storyline. Most interesting and damaged of all is Tom Wyatt, played with superlative, broken, brilliance by Mark Duplass. It’s his best performance ever and I hope he gets an Emmy nomination for it. He deserves it.

Other bad characters include Matthew Del Negro as Danny, Dominic Fumusa as the dirty cop Keith Roman, and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as the sadistic surgeon and Mexican drug carter boss Gabriel Ortega.

On the good guy side of the story is Morris Chestnut as prosecutor Hakeem Rashad – a foe for Billy but basically interested in justice. James Wolk played FBI Agent Jeff Clayton. Agent Clayton has a big time crush on Patty, who tries to discourage him with threats of Vick’s Vaporub.

Paul Williams played JT, a former lawyer who lived an eccentric life mostly fishing. Although retired, JT somehow had an ear to the ground and knew any gossip or info that Billy needed. Alexandra Billings played Judge Martha Wallace. She was old friends with both Billy and JT, but wouldn’t do anything from her bench that wasn’t totally legit.

Billy McBride is a drunk. He calls all women honey and all men buddy. He smokes too much and injects ‘fucking’ into every sentence he utters. But he’s relentless in pursuit of a case, he never quits looking for the proof he needs no matter where it leads him.

Trying to do the right thing is pointless, because the crooks and liars at the top will do anything to maintain their riches and power.Early on we realized the plot involved drugs and big money, but it isn’t until the very end that we know how the mayoral candidate, the cops, the real estate mogul, and the drug cartel all fit together.

Season 2 is darker than season 1. There’s no happy ending, no victory, in this season of Goliath. Bad things happen and there’s no way Billy or Patty can bring the guilty to justice. Billy is lucky to reach episode 8 still alive. In Goliath, the poor schlubs at the bottom are mere pawns – fodder. Trying to do the right thing is pointless, because the crooks and liars at the top will do anything to maintain their riches and power. And get away with it.

I thought season 1 was a metaphor for the struggles of the 99% vs. the 1%. In season 2, the 99% are losing, a metaphor for what’s happened since the 2016 election.

I liked several things about season 2 of Goliath. I liked that one of the actors was transgender, but that fact was never mentioned and had no bearing on the part. I liked the diversity of the cast and the frequent use of Spanish by many of the characters, including Marisol Silva. I liked the music. I liked that Dennie Gordon, a woman, directed 4 of the episodes. Lawrence Trilling also directed.

David E. Kelley and Jonathan Shapiro created Goliath. I do appreciate David E. Kelley’s ability to create unique and odd characters such as Billy McBride, JT, and Tom Wyatt. Such interesting quirks. I wish he created equally interesting and quirky women, although Marisol Silva was full of secrets. Patty is more funny than quirky, but in a series this dark and violent, an occasional smile is very welcome.

To summarize, Goliath retains a few key characters from season 1 and throws them into a completely new case and crime(s). It’s interesting and compelling drama. And it has a red Mustang convertible.

14 thoughts on “Review: Goliath, season 2”

      1. Your point is valid. I’m not disagreeing with it. However, my reason for starting this blog and writing here week after week about pop culture and entertainment is that I believe pop culture matters. It influences how we think. Representation matters. We can imagine it if we see it on the screen. Entertainment is part of our culture, our socialization, our reference points, and our society. As such, it is political. Of course, it can be enjoyed just for the enjoyment. But it’s also a reflection of who we are. I think it’s my job as an entertainment blogger to try to bring some perspective about who we are to what I write about pop culture.

      2. christopher a swaby

        is it? its your review. i assume you are sharing your truth. keep telling it like you see it. . .that’s why i read what you write.

      3. Imagine thinking that the 99% losing to the 1% was something that remotely started in 2016. Where ya been since like 1979? Not all bad is orange-man-bad, no matter how much he continued the trend followed by EVERY POTUS and Congress for generations.

  1. SPOILER, but not really, you mentioned it. Even against incredible ‘David’ is still supposed to win again Goliath. If I knew Goliath was going to kill off children and triumph by kicking David/Billy in the teeth, I would not have watched. Way too much like reality.

  2. Having read many detective novels over the years, and watched many films and tv shows, I think it’s safe to say that aside from the serial killer mad murderer stories, the David and Goliath theme is central. Think of Chinatown as a classic example if we stick with films. Season 2 of Goliath is a little darker in that there is no one held accountable, as Virginia mentioned. Usually the murderer is apprehended, or dies, even though the corrupt system is still in place. And I personally love thinking about popular culture in relation to the wider world that we live in.

  3. Season one of Goliath was quite good, but season two is just awful. There are huge holes in the plot. Why was Julio framed? Why was he killed? This was never explained! There are many other plot holes.

    The main character is a lawyer, but we are almost never in a courtroom in season two!

    Many reviewers were deeply disappointed with season two. I can understand why.

    If there is any justice, this series has come to an end. It deserves to get the axe.

    1. I reread my review from back in June, and I can’t really tell if I thought it was as bad as you do. The review tries to explain it more than give it a grade. I did miss some of the characters from season one. Billy Bob Thornton has never been my favorite actor, but season one had some wonderful female parts.

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