Ally Walker has played layered, compelling characters in FX's "Sons of Anarchy" and in NBC's "Profiler," making her one of those actresses you just can't ignore.
But not even she can keep my interest in "The Protector" (
9 p.m. June 12,
; ** out of four
), which has a premiere that is neither surprising nor exciting, and is even a bit confusing.
Walker stars as L.A. homicide detective Gloria Sheppard, a taskmaster who angers her boss (Miguel Ferrer) and some co-workers by doggedly pursuing her hunches. Her partner (Tisha Campbell-Martin) is alternately exasperated by Gloria's doggedness and amused by its affects on others in the department.
Now the confusing part I spoke of: Despite being prickly, Gloria appears to always be right, which apparently means no one else in the department must want to close cases and find justice. They just want her to fail, which doesn't make a lot of sense.
What "The Protector" has working for it is that it's any Ally Walker star vehicle, which would be great if creator Jeffrey Bell used her better. Among Bell's credits are "Angel" and "Alias," two thrilling shows with strong women characters that did way more interesting things. Here, Bell gives Walker little with which to work. Instead of stretching the procedural formula, he sticks to genre conventions, and it's pretty boring.
The only thing that separates this bland cop drama from others is that Gloria is also a divorced single mom with two kids who lives with her recovering drug abuser but looks-good-in-a-towel brother (Chris Payne Gilbert). Her relationship with the family gives the show it's Lifetime-required touchy-feely vibe and a few snappy lines of dialogue about garden gnomes, a coffee maker and staying up all night for the kids.
I'm hoping "The Protector" begins to generate more than just my wish that this be so much more than it is.