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Premature Infatuation: CBS’ Bull 

Premature Infatuation: CBS’ Bull
Photo Credit: CBS ©2016

Michael Weatherly leaving NCIS was a bit crushing for me considering how much I love his character, Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo. Thankfully, the actor will be back on TV this fall in a new series that’s set to air Tuesdays on CBS right after his old show.

CBS Synopsis for Bull: Bull stars Michael Weatherly as Dr. Jason Bull in a drama inspired by the early career of Dr. Phil McGraw, the founder of one of the most prolific trial consulting firms of all time. Brilliant, brash and charming, Dr. Bull is the ultimate puppet master as he combines psychology, human intuition and high tech data to learn what makes jurors, attorneys, witnesses and the accused tick. Bull employs an enviable team of experts at Trial Analysis Corporation to shape successful narratives down to the very last detail. They include his quick-witted brother-in-law, Benny Colón (Freddy Rodriguez), who plays a defense attorney in mock trials; Marissa Morgan (Geneva Carr), a cutting-edge neurolinguistics expert from the Department of Homeland Security; former NYPD detective Danny James (Jaime Lee Kirchner), the firm’s tough but relatable investigator; haughty millennial hacker Cable McCrory (Annabelle Attanasio), who is responsible for gathering cyber intelligence; and Chunk Palmer (Chris Jackson), a fashion-conscious stylist and former All-American lineman who fine tunes clients’ appearances for trial. In high-stakes trials, Bull’s combination of remarkable insight into human nature, three Ph.D.’s and a top-notch staff creates winning strategies that tip the scales of justice in his clients’ favor. Paul Attanasio, Dr. Phillip C. McGraw, Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Jay McGraw, Mark Goffman and Rodrigo Garcia are executive producers for CBS Television Studios. Garcia directed the pilot.

I must admit, when I first heard about Bull, I wasn’t sure about 1. It’s premise. 2. The fact Dr. Phil’s pre-TV career life inspired it. 3. Whether I wanted to invest in another legal-type series. In fact, the only pro for me was Weatherly.

After watching the almost five-minute-long trailer, I realized my concerns were for naught. It’s slick, sarcastic, funny and it made me want to see more.  It made me want to learn more about Dr. Bull and the people who work for him. In other words, the trailer did its job. I may have watched it a few million times by now. Don’t think I’m even exaggerating. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little. But only a little.

When Tony DiNozzo entered the elevator and said adios to his teammates at NCIS in the Season 13 finale, I was slightly disappointed. Ultimately, I liked that he would give up the life he had built to take care of the daughter he never knew existed. It was honorable and I think it’s great Tony has someone who will love him unconditionally. Having said that, I always wanted him get his own team. I wanted him to exit stage right for a well-deserved promotion.

If you watch the Bull trailer, we get to see Weatherly be the leader. And. It’s. About. Time. What’s cool is I’m not seeing Tony DiNozzo at all. In addition to the longer hair and the glasses (LOVE the glasses), Weatherly seems to be playing his new character a bit more internally. He’s got the sarcasm that DiNozzo’s known for but it feels different somehow. He’s not quite as outwardly obnoxious as Tony can be.

While the trailer set up the show’s nitty gritty really well, it didn’t have the chance to convey who these characters are, what their issues are, what they’ve been through in life. So I’m looking forward to seeing the entire pilot in order to get to know more about the good doctor as well as the rest of the characters.

The cast looks solid. I mean, Freddy Rodriguez. Six Feet Under, anyone? Chris Jackson‘s currently starring as George Washington in Hamilton, a Broadway show I NEED to see. Geneva Carr was nominated for a Tony last year. Annabelle Attanasio has a recurring role on Cinemax’s The Knick. And Jaime Lee Kirchner has appeared on The Mob Doctor and Necessary Roughness. Apparently, she also played Mimi in a Broadway production of Rent. So now I envision a musical episode for Weatherly, Jackson, Kirchner and whoever else in the cast that can sing and/or rap. But, I’m probably getting a little too head of myself.

In conclusion, I haven’t decided whether I will continue watching Weatherly’s old series, but I will be tuning into his new one. Bull debuts this fall on CBS.

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  1. Lisa Liscoumb

    I agree, Tina. And what’s almost – if not more – exciting is the team being assembled behind the camera as well.

    Mark Goffman, who has tweeted about being a writer on Bull, was an EP on White Collar, which I loved, ran the writers’ room for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, which I loved, and wrote for The West Wing, which I loved. Most recently he was EP and showrunner for Sleepy Hollow and Limitless, which I don’t know much about but understand were quite well done.

    Paul Attanasio was EP for House, Created Homicide: Life on the Street and Gideon’s Crossing, and wrote the screenplays for Quiz Show, Donnie Brasco, Sphere, Disclosure, and Sum of All Fears.

    Rodrigo Garcia (the pilot director) has directed episodes of The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Big Love, as well as directing the Glenn Close film Albert Nobbs.

    There are some serious people involved in this, people who are known for being involved with smart, funny, intelligent projects.

    1. Tina Charles

      That is definitely another reason to tune into Bull — the Behind the Scenes talent — which also includes Steven Spielberg, who’s one of the show’s executive producers. Thanks for commenting and reading!

  2. Terry

    While I didn’t have your qualms about the show’s premise, I’m in total agreement with everything else you wrote – including the title. Love it. For the past several years Michael Weatherly has been wasted on NCIS and I am looking forward to seeing what he can do as the lead of his own show. The people behind the scenes along with the other cast members have me chomping at the bit to see what magic they can work together and the trailer really whet my appetite for what is to come. Summers are short where I live but I’ll be spending much of it asking, “Is it September yet?”

    1. Tina Charles

      Right? I kind of need this fall to happen sooner rather than later. I’m so excited to watch. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. Joni

    I’m completely enthralled with “Bull” already in a way I haven’t been with “his old show” in several years. I kept on watching and hoping right to the bitter end [for me].

    The BTS talent is truly impressive and the on-screen talent is too. If the show is as good as that 4:51 minute preview and the production values remain a stellar I think CBS will have a winner on their hands.
    I love that they’ll be filming on location in New York. The outside scenes will look fantastic.

    1. Tina Charles

      I totally agree. NCIS just doesn’t do it for me anymore like it used to. And I think a big part of that is the way they would write Tony. I did enjoy him in the S13 finale, however. Even though we had to say goodbye.

      I hope that CBS will have a winner with Bull. It definitely has a good chance. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. Mel

    I love everything you’ve said here! I *may* have even done a fist bump as I was reading this.
    It was Weatherly and Attanasio who sparked my interest for Bull initially, but the promo vid had me hungry for more.
    I will miss Very Special Agent Tony DiNozzo fiercely, but Bull is my new Tuesday must see.

    1. Joni

      It’s my “must see TV” now too and not just Tuesday.
      Personally, I’ll miss the Tony we got up through the beginning of Season 7. Sadly we only got a glimpse here and there of that Tony in the years/seasons which followed. All that talent was rather quashed after that.

      I’m thrilled he’s getting his chance to shine as the headliner.

      1. Mel

        Absolutely agree, Joni!

    2. Tina Charles

      My sentiments exactly. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      1. Joni

        And let me add to my above comment – I’ll miss the Gibbs we had during those seasons too. The Gibbs we’ve gotten in the last 6 years or so is extremely unlikable to me. The once enjoyable Gibbs/DiNozzo relationship was destroyed completely by the current show runner – and for no reason at all. Nothing ever explained as to why Gibbs barely spoke to or even looked at Tony – and he, also for no reason stopped calling him Tony. He apparently transferred his affections to Senior while throwing Tony away.

        Dang! I’m just making myself upset. 🙁

        1. Tina Charles

          Joni —

          I totally agree with your thoughts on Gibbs and the Gibbs/DiNozzo dynamic. Really I feel like Gibbs over time separated himself from his team almost completely. And now he only turns to people like Fornell or Jon Cryer’s character / Laura San Giacomo’s character. I mourned the end of the Gibbs/DiNozzo relationship a long time ago. Weatherly leaving certainly wasn’t the end of it. It had already been over. So sad.

          1. Joni

            I get the impression if SWAK took place now, Gibbs would have sent Bishop or McGee to tell Dr Pitt about the bugs suicide chain and the “You. Will not. Die” scene wouldn’t exist.

            The relationships which had me fall in love with the show are gone so it’s time for me to go and leave it to viewers who still enjoy it.

          2. Tina Charles

            Totally agree. I’m in the same boat as you. Sayonara, NCIS.

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