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CBS’s half-baked “Golden Boy”

“Golden Boy,” a new, marginally-better-than-workmanlike crime show on CBS, is saddled with a very odd framing device: In the present day, young, handsome, prideful police officer Walter Clark — Theo James, “Downton Abbey’s” dashing, dead, virginity-thieving Pamuk— has just made the homicide squad, thanks to a high-profile shooting. Seven years in the future, Clark's the youngest police commissioner in New York City history. The show is the story of how he got that job, and each episode begins and ends with a brief scene of Commissioner Clark talking vaguely about the lesson he extracted from whatever case he and his partner cracked in the meat of the episode.

The frame is meant to elevate “Golden Boy” above simple procedural, but it is so clankily done, the creators shouldn’t have bothered. In the first episode a journalist asks, “Tell me, Commissioner, are you a master politician or just a savvy cop?” to get the story started. In future episodes, the commissioner’s body man asks blatantly expository, wooden questions to elicit a tale. In the second episode, Commissioner Clark’s gray hairs — he’s had some stresses in the intervening seven years, including a “murder suicide and a precinct shootout” alluded to in the pilot — look a deep blond: the golden boy has aged into … a man with golden highlights.

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