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Review: All rise for the chilling new series “Your Honor”

Bryan Cranston breaks bad once again in the Showtime limited series.

By Cassandra Nava, Online Editor

Bryan Cranston and Hunter Doohan star in Showtime's limited series "Your Honor." (Photo Courtesy of Showtime)

In the new Showtime series “Your Honor” viewers are drawn in to witness just how far one man will go to protect his family, even if that means abandoning everything he once believed in.

Based on Israeli show of the same name, “Your Honor” follows Michael Desiato (Bryan Cranston), a well-respected judge and community member, as he covers up a hideous chain of events that occurred after his son committed a deadly hit-and-run. Adam Desiato (Hunter Doohan) flees the scene of the crime, leaving behind a dead teenager who he later finds out is Rocco Baxter (Benjamin Wadsworth) — son of local mafia boss Jimmy Baxter (Michael Stuhlbarg).

Although Michael tries to do the right thing and make his son confess, he comes to the realization that they will have to live with this secret forever. Michael soon abandons his morals and does whatever it takes to protect his son.

The Emmy award-winning actor is most notably known for the hit television show “Breaking Bad,” and although comparisons can be made between Walter White and Michael, there are notable differences. Cranston’s “Breaking Bad” character steers off the trajectory of a normal life in order to feel a sense of power and control. He turns into a vicious drug kingpin, killing innocent people, drug dealers and flies. Cranston’s character in “Your Honor” already holds a position of power and does not want to break the law. Michael abides by the law, not only because it is his job, but because he inherently believes he must do so. His morals shift at the expense of his family’s safety, and he must break what he holds most sacred in order to protect his son.

Race is an integral theme to “Your Honor,” as it highlights the privilege that white people can have in this scenario. While covering up for Adam, Michael reports the only weapon of the crime — the car — as stolen, and uses his connections to have someone “steal” it. Enter young gang member, Kofi Jones (Lamar Johnson). Kofi is a young Black teen and soon gets questioned by the police, which leads him to be wrongfully tried for Rocco’s murder. Adam, who is living life free from consequences, witnesses the racially charged trial that he inadvertently caused. In his mad spiral of self-protection, Michael caused other families to get hurt at the risk of his falling apart.

Cranston’s and Doohan’s performances create a tense environment, and the lack of any lighthearted tones make one feel as if they are holding their breath until the characters are in the clear. Even if viewers were not intended to root for Michael and Adam, it is hard not to want all of Michael’s hard work to disappear.

Golden Globe-nominated series “Your Honor” excels at gluing viewers to the screen. The twists and turns make it feel as though one is watching a hideous and compelling car crash, which lasts for 10 hour-long episodes. It is hard to look away, but just as hard to look directly at it.

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