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'Goliath,' with Billy Bob Thornton, Returns
June 15, 2018  | By David Hinckley  | 2 comments

With full respect to Bob Odenkirk’s Jimmy McGill, my favorite totally screwed-up lawyer on TV these days is Billy Bob Thornton’s Billy McBride (top).

Billy McBride returns Thursday in Season 2 of Goliath on Amazon Prime and the result is eight more delicious episodes.

Billy is a brilliant trial lawyer who mostly dropped out of the law game after he got a bad guy off on a technicality and the bad guy went on to murder an entire family.

Now Billy lives in a cheap motel and drinks. The consensus is that he drinks too much, but when someone raised that notion in Season 1, he said no, that’s not true. He drinks exactly the right amount.

Billy has that kind of bobbing and weaving quality about him. He can match brains and wits with anyone, but these days he’d rather just be left alone to nurse the bruises. While he can still get angry, he prefers a strategy of deflection.

That may get harder this season with the arrival of his 16-year-old daughter Denise (Diana Hopper, right), who’s back from London and shows every sign of getting on his case.

Denise’s presence also could change the dynamic with Billy’s ex-wife Michelle (Maria Bello). She’s a partner in the law firm from which he bailed, Cooperman McBride, and she finds Billy’s inertia infuriating.

Billy isn’t just feeling sorry for himself, though. He’s convinced that the legal profession, like “the system” itself, is moving ever-further away from its original mission, which was justice and fairness, and becoming just another tool by which the rich and powerful become richer and more powerful.

A case in point is Donald Cooperman (William Hurt), a fellow brilliant lawyer with whom Billy started their firm.

That has changed now, and last season Donald was quite enjoying Billy’s reduced circumstances, right up until Billy started to beat him in court and Donald collapsed.

Billy’s success did not, however, restore his faith in anything. It only made him a bunch of money that he can’t give away fast enough.

So Season 2 starts in much the same way as Season 1, with Billy bumping into a case that’s so outrageous he takes it in spite of himself.

This time, the son of a friend is being framed for a double murder. Moreover, as we know upfront and Billy will gradually learn, the frame-up involves a web of rich, well-connected, important people.

It even touches on Marisol Silva (Ana de la Reguera), a Latina councilwoman who is aggressively running for mayor.

Like several of the other people who become voluntarily or involuntarily involved, Silva must weigh a number of moral factors.

This season of Goliath is reminiscent in several ways of the late lamented ABC series American Crime, and that’s a compliment. It takes a situation that could safely be written in black and white and colors it with intriguing greys.

But Goliath’s trump card is Thornton, who keeps us rooting for Billy McBride even when he’s infuriating. He doesn’t hurt other people to help himself, and he underplays the smart lawyer stuff as beautifully as Colombo used to underplay the smart cop.

Watch 20 minutes of Goliath and you won’t stop until the end of episode 8.

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Is anyone else as tired of the aging, hard drinking, damaged curmudgeon trope?
(disclaimer: I am female) It has been done to death. And always with a few "understanding, patient women" to prop them up. The nobility escapes me.
More, please of a more balanced "The Americans" or better yet, "Killing Eve" with it's startling rhythms. Even the best Dramas Mad Men, Breaking Bad for ex. have been about men. Variety, please!
Jun 22, 2018   |  Reply
John S
Men leads are much rarer these days, true leads that is as many men lead shows are constantly undermined by a "smarter" women in the show. One has to go back some years to see the strong male lead with any frequency. Speaking of variety, how about no more little girls breaking necks, knocking out, buff men. Please no more of that! Ill take curmudgeon guy shows any day. But that being said, season 2 sucks compared to season 1. I almost stopped watching after episode 2. I watched a couple more then just couldn't stand it. As I don't watch much TV anymore, I am more selective than most probably.
Jun 29, 2018
goofball jones
I loved the first season, which was oversaw by it's creators David E. Kelley and Jonathan Shapiro. The second season, which I finished watching two days ago, is a total mess. It's all over the place and Kelly and Shapiro are nowhere to be found in any of the writing or running the show.

I can't recommend the 1st season enough. The 2nd season? Meh...
Jun 19, 2018   |  Reply
Totally agree, Goofball. Night and day difference between the two seasons. Just awful.
Jun 23, 2018
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