Trial & Error's second season is here, and it solidifies itself as the most underrated sitcom on television.
The NBC summer series is centered around the antics of a fast-rising city-slicker lawyer who is sent down to the Southern town of East Peck, South Carolina. While the expected fish-out-of-water scenarios happen, East Peck is quickly shown to be far from your typical small town. It has weird laws and even weirder people, making it a Southern equivalent to Parks and Recreation's Pawnee, Indiana.
The first season of Trial & Error centered around the trial of a goofball family man filled with secrets, played by John Lithgow. Season 2, subtitled Lady, Killer, puts the show's anthology-like structure in place, with the bright-eyed Josh Segal (Nicholas D'Agosto) taking on a whole new case. It is completely separate from season 1's plot, and is all the more sinister.
The opening moments of season 2 sees town treasure Lavinia Peck-Foster (Kristin Chenoweth), found with her husbands dead body in the trunk of her car. Josh and his wacky legal team, strange illness prone Anne Flatch (Sherri Shepard) and private investigator/dim witted cop Dwayne Reed (Steven Boyer), take on her case, which seems almost impossible to lose due to the defendant's popularity. However, things unsurprisingly take a turn and give the team more of a challenge than anticipated.
In the first half of season 2, Chenoweth is the biggest highlight. Her character's Southern aristocrat background and overdramatic charms set her firmly apart from season 1's defendant and successfully gives the show new lifeblood. Her performance is exactly what the show's off-the-wall writing calls for, leaning into the zaniness of East Peck culture.
The rest of the cast holds their own as well, building on their season 1 beats. D'Agosto continues his pitch-perfect performance as Trial & Error's straight man, maintaining the show's moral center and helping viewers see the contrast between East Peck and the real world. Shepard's Anne always brightens up an episode with her cheery demeanor and weird disorders, which get even more strange this time around.
The standout of the legal team is Boyer's Dwayne. He is the most backwards of the bunch and often gets to deliver some of the strongest and absurd lines of dialogue. While his character itself steals every scene, it is Boyer's earnest portrayal of the character that makes viewers love him no matter how royally his actions screw up the case.
The performances are strong, the writing is sharp and the town's absurdity is fascinating to dive deeper into. To top all this off, new viewers should have no fear of jumping right in. The only major beat necessary to pick up from season 1 is the hot-and-cold romantic relationship between Josh and his law rival, prosecutor Carol Anne Keane (Jayma Mays). There are also some odd East Peck traditions to pick up on — such as the daily firings of cannonballs into the town — but once you're immersed in the town, no weirdness will seem too far-out.
Trial & Error is simply a solid comedy that is ripe for the type of followings The Office, Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine have amassed in recent years. Its mockumentary style, colorful cast of characters and its clever writing make it a must-watch this summer.
Trial & Error airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.
Photo Credit: NBC / Sergei Bachlakov