Tuesday, January 23, 2024

True Justice: Family Ties

In this Hallmark mystery, Katherine McNamara stars as a law student who works to exonerate her brother (Sam Ashe Arnold) after he is convicted of a murder he did not commit. Helping her are a group of fellow law students (Marisa McIntyre, Sabrina Saudin, and Markian Tarasiuk), each coincidentally with strategic internships that provide them unparalleled inside access to everything they could ever need. Joining them is a private investigator (Alexander Nunez) who helps with stakeouts, background checks, and surveillance. Also providing some encouragement are Casey's boss (Benjamin Ayres) and law professor (Nikki Deloach).

True Justice: Family Ties is more than a bit clunky. It has a loose understanding of the law (this is a movie where the defendant doesn't even stand when the the verdict is read by the judge rather than the jury foreman). Conflict from the story comes in the three young women needing the help of their classmate who was the victim's boyfriend Eli (Tarasiuk) who eventually agrees to help only after they convince him of the possibility the police got the wrong man. One question the TV-movie fails to ask is where was this well of support when the public defender was so massively bungling his defense of Casey's brother?

Because it's a Hallmark movie, you know there's going to be some romance thrown in as the conflict between Casey and Eli eventually boils away to reveal a mutual attraction, albeit one harmed by Eli keeping secrets from the group and the rather awkward nature of him moving on so quickly after his girlfriend was brutally murdered. We also get flirtation between the P.I. and one of Casey's friends which works a bit better but is limited by screentime, and Casey accidentally discovers the romantic relationship between her boss and teacher whose story might be more interesting rather than being used mostly as window dressing.

Like most TV-movies, there's a low ceiling for True Justice: Family Ties in almost every aspect from a shaky script, mixed performances, and limited production values. While there's never doubt that the police screwed up, we learn early on they tested only evidence that backed their preconceptions (again, where were our heroes then?), there are a few twists and turns before the true culprit is revealed. Some of these twists work and some fall flat (such as Eli and Casey playing newlyweds in a bit that doesn't really make sense other than it's necessary to lay the foundation for the closing after a surprise twist). 

  • Title: True Justice: Family Ties
  • IMDb: link

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