'Conviction': Is Hayes' Love Life Distracting from the Rest of the Team -- and the Cases?

'Conviction': Is Hayes' Love Life Distracting from the Rest of the Team -- and the Cases?

With no more than 13 episodes ordered and terrible ratings, the future of ABC's Conviction, starring Hayley Atwell, looks bleak. While Atwell shines, the rest of the story is overrun by the relationships Hayes has with various characters. Considering the series is supposed to be about the Conviction Integrity Unit, shouldn't there be less focus on the life of Hayes Morrison?

Romance and Relationships

Is anyone really on board with Hayes and DA Wallace becoming an item? Their relationship, or what remains of it, is pushed upon the viewers in the middle of an intense case each week, and it just doesn't work.

Not only does their chemistry not work, the concept of romance and the level of importance they're shining upon it isn't working for Conviction. Wallace blackmailed her into taking this job after her cocaine bust, and that very well could've been the end of their relationship. He made it clear he did that for her mother and her campaign, which spells out the corruption that this series is trying to show.

Romance just can't work on this series in the way they're pushing it. On a procedural, the focus needs to be on the cases and how the team works together, but that's far from what we're getting. Other than Wallace and Hayes, the only other relationships being shown with some degree of continuance are Hayes and her brother/mother.

Maxine has had the nature of her relationship with her father shown, but just to the point where it seems necessary, and it's not overrunning the series. The same goes for Tess with the innocent man that she identified for her aunt's murder at 12 years old. There's no romance fogging up the screen as the viewers are hoping to see the case investigated.

This Isn't the 'Hayes Morrison Show'

Conviction is supposed to be focused on the Conviction Integrity Unit, which shines a light on the flaws and failures of the justice system in a society that desperately needs hope that justice will prevail. But have they done that? No.

Instead, the focus is on Hayes every week , and it's like the writers aren't even trying to create a compelling story. Hayes is interesting, but it seems that the writers are depending solely on Hayley Atwell (which wasn't necessarily a bad thing on Marvel's Agent Carter) to keep the interest in the series as they work out the kinks of the writing process.

Not everyone is inclined to watch solely for Atwell, as we can see from the cancellation of her series earlier this year. Also, Hayes just isn't interesting enough to overrule the story of the convictions that they're supposed to be overturning. Her family life could still be her side story, a way to explore the character's life outside of the CIU, rather than having her personal life interfere with the CIU.

The series has done an amazing job so far bringing up real-world issues, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, or the concept of privilege, especially concerning Hayes and her family. It's really pushing the boundaries of television, and the exploration of what society is really like boosts the interest in the cases the CIU takes on.

If the writers want to explore the characters' personal lives, they need to do so for the entire team, not just one character. The viewers hardly know anything about the other members of the CIU, and by episode 6, that should not be the case. There should be some degree of mystery, but other than a few random facts, Hayes is the only character they're focusing on. Even NCIS doesn't do this with Jethro Gibbs to the point that Conviction is.

How Can the Series Be Saved?

Whether ABC orders another season or not is unknown, but unlikely -- but there's potential to save the story if ABC does decide to renew Conviction. If the writers focused more on creating interesting, twisted stories of wrongful convictions, perhaps even one that spans more than one episode and is the overarching case that the team investigates, the series would stay true to the title and create something compelling in a world full of reboots.

Taking the focus off of Hayes wouldn't necessarily mean the end of her personal story, but that should be coming second. Her role should be to lead her team; right now, she's the world's bad girl and family pariah. If she didn't show up to the office, would it even be clear that she's in charge of the team?

The way the series is tackling romance is the biggest failure. With the introduction of Wallace's attorney, Naomi, who happens to be both his and Hayes's ex-girlfriend,  there's a twisted love triangle between the three characters that is going to distract Hayes from her work as an attorney as she worries about the new relationship between her exes and whatever she may feel for them. It's not that this story shouldn't happen, it's more of the timing and importance of it.

Conviction airs Mondays at 10/9c on ABC.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Tags: Conviction

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