GOLIATH - SEASON THREE by Armen Pandola
Goliath is an Amazon Prime series about a dissipated lawyer, Billy McBride (Billy Bob Thornton) who lives in a seedy motel room on the beach in Venice, CA. Along with his assistants, Marva Johnson (Julie Brister), JT (Paul Williams) and Patty Solis-Papagian (Nina Arianda) he strikes a blow for truth and justice and along the way makes himself rich.
In the third season, new showrunners (David Kelly is now an executive producer) Jennifer Ames and Steve Turner had a couple of aces in the hole - the first two seasons were pretty good and so the show was able to attract an all-star third season cast: Dennis Quaid as a billionaire central valley landowner, Wade Blackwood, who is stealing the people's water to enrich himself, Amy Brenneman as his somewhat psychotic sister, Diana, Beau Bridges as their all-too-careful uncle, Wheeler, Graham Greene as a Native-American shaman Littlecrow who runs the casino owned by Quaid and, finally, a return visit from William Hurt as a ruthless (how trite, really) attorney, Cooperman.
The season starts with a bang - Sheryl Fenn is co-owner of a central valley farm that is going under because Quaid has stolen all the water. Suddenly, investigating a strange noise in the night, she walks outside into the fields in her pajamas with no shoes and literally goes under as a massive sinkhole envelops her.
Billy and she had been friends in law school (you have to wait a couple of episodes before they decide to tell you about that relationship - hey, you knew Fenn wasn't going to get killed in the first few minutes and just disappear) so he shows up to help her husband (Griffin Dunn) get justice by suing Quaid and his gang who are stealing the water and may have caused the sinkhole. The plot is complicated but worse, it makes no sense. For example, Wade and friends spend a lot of time lighting up a pipeful of stuff put together by shaman Littlecrow and in episode one, Wade imagines himself singing "The Rose" (yeah, Bette Midler) to an admiring audience. OoooKay.
There are lots of subplots involving Patty Solis-Papagian (Nina Arianda) (there is a running joke that everyone mispronounces her name that gets stale about the 10th time they do it), former prostitute now lawyer wannabe Brittany Gold (Tania Raymonde) and all grown-up daughter Denise McBride (Diana Hopper). The subplots are the best part of the show - they make no sense but at least they go somewhere, like Patty getting pregnant and then finding her birth mother.
Everything that looks like it is going to be a major theme just disappears in an episode or two. Why are Quaid and friends smoking dope? What is going on with Billy's daughter taking to booze, then we see her in bed with a fellow student and she tells him to stop so he does and - yeah, I have no idea. She ends up trying to murder now-Mayor Marisol Silva (Ana de la Reguera) who is in bed with Quaid and company on the water thing. In one scene, Silva is seen at a big LA event with her new boyfriend - wait for it - Matthew Weiner. Yeah, that Matthew Weiner of MadMen fame. It's a mess.
Maybe the craziest near-plot is the one involving Quaid and Brenneman in an incestuous relationship - or not. Oh, and Brenneman has two adopted kids, twins, both played by Shamir Anderson - yeah, I guess you're supposed to wonder how they do all those scenes that they are both in - I didn't. I did wonder what they were doing in the series.
Oh, did I mention Illeana Douglas as casino barfly, Rita. She does nothing, is connected to nothing and has no purpose. I thought she was going to be some kind of Cassandra foretelling doom while being ignored, but, no, she is just a barfly who is just there. A lot like Littlecrow's daughter who inherits everything from Wheeler (apparently he is her biological father) or Applebees (Lauren Tom) who is just a crazy and is there to - wait, what is she doing in this show?
I wish I could tell you it gets better - I kept on watching thinking, this has to get better, doesn't it? With this cast? My guess is a lot ended up getting cut or re-written because there is no way William Hurt agrees to play Cooperman again with the role he has in the final product. When I looked up writers Ames and Turner and saw that they were mostly producers before, well, it explained a lot. As someone could say, as writers, this duo are great producers.
Need I tell you that justice prevails? It does, and then it doesn't. You'll see. Oh, I know you're going to watch it since this cast has someone for everybody. The producers did a great job.