Cordell Walker is described in the season premiere as “the edge of the coin,” someone who is neither head nor tail – someone who does things his own way. I wish it was true. As played by charismatic Jared Padalecki, looking for another CW hit after the end of “Supernatural,” Walker is truly one side of the coin, and that’s one of the biggest issues with a show that wants to be a little progressive but which can not leave behind its origins in black and white. He introduced truck driving with this classic Stetson hat, the perfect amount of thatch, and a slight Texan twang. One thing he often shares with the Norris version is that he’s more of the loud, quiet type than the people around him. He’s there to do the job. And this work interferes with his personal life.
After a violent prologue featuring the death of his wife (played by Geneviève Padalecki), “Walker” advances by nearly a year. It turns out Cordell fled reality by delving into his job, hiding for ten months after death, leaving behind his children August (Kale Culley) and Stella (Violet Brinson). Her son was forced to grow up too early and her daughter is in full rebellious mode, angry with her father for leaving them behind. Can Walker solve the case of the week and to be a good father at the same time? Walker’s father Bonham (Mitch Pileggi, who also made a memorable arc on “Supernatural”) and mother Abeline (Molly Hagan) fall into typical family drama roles as a disapproving father and supportive mom. There is also a brother (Keegan Allen), who was named the new ADA after essentially taking care of his niece and nephew for a year, then there are co-workers including a smart new partner in Micki. Ramirez (Lindsey Morgan) and a former colleague turned boss of Larry James (Coby Bell).
Introducing the audience to so many characters and delving into a mystery of the week so viewers know that’s what they want to do makes the series premiere of “Walker” a bit crowded, but it’s also surprisingly flat and slow in terms of pace. None of those characters have much of an impact outside of Walker and Ramirez, which would be fine for an intro episode if the case wasn’t also very finely crafted and executed. There’s just nothing here to cling to, which may suit heartwarming dining procedures if that’s what fans are looking for, but the best CW shows like “Supernatural” and “Riverdale” push back compliance and best shows like this uplift it. “Walker” is not as much the edge of the coin as one of those quarters that have been through the system for so long that it has lost all of its luster.
An episode reviewed for review.