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CBS finds another entertaining hit drama with ‘The Code’

April 5, 2019

There’s a reason CBS is number one in total viewers. The network just has a knack for finding dramas that people want to watch. They’re not critically acclaimed or social-media buzzworthy. They’re just entertaining enough to attract lots of viewers.

CBS’ latest drama, “The Code,” fits right into that footprint. It’s not a show that’s going to win any Emmys or get a lot of tweets. But if you enjoy entertaining television with a solid cast, it’s definitely for you.

“The Code” stars Luke Mitchell as Capt. John “Abe” Abraham, a Marine and prosecutor in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) corps. He’s a little reckless and not afraid to work around orders in order to get the job done, much to the chagrin of his commanding officer, Col. Glenn Turnbull (Dana Delany). Abe’s opponent is often his friend, defense attorney Capt. Maya Dobbins (Anna Wood), with whom he shares a flirtatious relationship. Maj. Trey Ferry (Ato Essandoh) is Abe’s supervisor, who tries to keep him in line. Also part of the team is Lt. Harper Li (Phillipa Soo) and Warrant Officer Rami Ahmadi (Raffi Barsoumain), the Marine equivalent of a paralegal.

In the premiere, Abe and Trey prosecute the Marine accused of murdering Abe’s former commanding officer. But just when Abe is ready to throw the book at the man who killed his friend, Maya helps him uncover a larger conspiracy that led to the murder, causing some difficult politics for Col. Turnbull. The premiere focuses solely on the work, but future episodes give some long looks into the personal lives of the JAG officers so we can get to know them better. However, before we can get too comfortable, episode four throws in a very interesting twist to shake up the dynamic of the team.

If you’re thinking CBS has been down this road before, you’re right, as the network did bring us “JAG” for nine seasons. But “Code” is more “A Few Good Men” than “JAG” as Abe is a carbon copy of Tom Cruise’s Daniel Kaffee and Maya definitely takes a few pages out of Lt. Commander Galloway’s (Demi Moore) playbook. However, since “Men” is one of my favorite movies, I don’t consider that a bad thing.

I only meant to watch one episode and the beginning of the next one, but I ended up watching two full hours and several minutes of a third. That’s how entertained I was by the show. Mitchell is a great leading man and Delany is always good to have around. But the real find here is Barsoumain, who gives the show a welcome dose of levity with his clever banter. Plus, the cases — which are the backbone of the show — are engrossing and manage to leave you guessing to the end as to how the good guys are going to pull out the win. “Code” will not generate a lot of headlines, but it will generate a lot of viewers as I believe CBS has managed to score yet another hit drama.

“The Code” premieres at 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, before moving to its regular timeslot at 9 p.m. Monday, April 15.

Angela Henderson-Bentley writes about television for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact her at ahenderson-bentley@hotmail.com.