Friday, August 23, 2013

King and Maxwell: A review of the series

by Barbara Early

It’s not often the president comes to town, as he did yesterday, flying into Buffalo on Air Force One. And then greeting the crowd for a few minutes before climbing aboard Ground Force One. (Did you know the president had a bus called Ground Force One? A friend of mine quipped that’s what he named his Keurig.)

But while the live coverage played on my television, I couldn’t help but notice the Secret Service agents guarding the president of the United States. Or the POTUS, as I guess he’s called. But my eyes were glued to those men and women in their dark suits, Ray-bans, and those little lapel pins.

I learned about those lapel pins watching King and Maxwell, which might explain my fascination.

King and Maxwell (TNT) has only been around for ten episodes and hasn’t, as of my writing this, been renewed, which would be a real shame if they don’t give it time to catch an audience. But the series, based on David Baldacci’s best-selling novels, sure captured my attention.

The title characters, two ex-Secret Service agents now turned private eyes, have a  great chemistry. They’re opposites in all the right ways, but united by the common tie of both having been drummed from the same core. A veteran agent, King left the Secret Service in disgrace, when the politician he was guarding was gunned down right before his face. King blamed himself, and the Service was quick to agree. After taking the fall, he went to law school, but gave up that career to start his PI firm.

Maxwell was an up-and-comer, raised in a family of law-enforcers, she quickly rose through the ranks, with her no-nonsense attitude and killer martial arts skills. The show was a little more vague about why she left the service, and the season ends with the idea that she might be welcomed back.

Added to the cast are some delightfully different secondary characters.

We meet Edgar in the first episode. He’s a savant (autistic?) with few communications skills but a wizard at finances and hacking computers. When he’s out of work at the end of episode 1, he becomes their Guy Friday, helping to push their struggling PI firm onto more firm financial footing. He also becomes interested in the video footage of the assassination that ended King’s career, forcing them all to look at it in a new light. And the series progresses, with a new case each week, but a little time reserved to make some progress on the old.

The cast is rounded out with Benny, an informant with a shady past and a sweet spot for Edgar, and a good-cop, bad-cop duo of FBI agents who always seem to show up at the right/wrong time.

The show has a good sense of humor, often opening with the end of a humorous case. (If I remember correctly, I think the series opener had something to do with a guy in a beaver suit careening down the highway in a hijacked bus. What's not to love? I was hooked from the start.) And the repartee between the two leads is spot-on and downright entertaining.

I’m afraid to admit, I hadn’t read any of the books, but I’m correcting that now. (I’m midway through the first.) While not all the details are consistent, it’s probably the TV show most similar in tone and characterization to the books that I’ve ever read, and the chemistry between the leads is identical--perhaps because Baldacci is credited as a writer for all ten episodes.  (One caveat, though. Since this blog is inspirational, but the book is not, keep in mind that it may contain language and certain situations that some of our readers may be uncomfortable with.)

And at least I can get my King and Maxwell fix until the series is (hopefully) renewed.

Question: Have you seen King and Maxwell? What do you think of book-to-television conversions. Do you have a favorite? Least favorite?

Barbara Early grew up buried in the snowy suburbs of Buffalo, NY, where she developed a love for all things sedentary: reading, writing, classic movies, and Scrabble. She holds a degree in Electrical Engineering, but her penchant for the creative caused her to run away screaming from the pocket-protector set. Barbara cooks up cozy mysteries with a healthy dose of comedy and sometimes a splash of romance. Her holiday novella, Gold, Frankincense, and Murder was released in e-book format from White Rose Publishing in December 2011. Barbara also writes as Beverly Allen, who has a cozy mystery series coming in 2014. You can learn more about her writing at


  1. I haven't seen the series or read the books but I have read other books by Baldacci. Looking forward to reading this!

  2. Good morning, Tanya. I think you'd like it. I just hope there's more of the series to see. I have a habit of falling in love with one-season wonders. I hope this isn't another one...

  3. Hey barb. This is one that we DvR. I've enjoyed it very much so far even if it can be difficult to suspend disbelief at some moments. Still I hope it gets renewed as the characters are great.

  4. I agree, Lisa. The characterization is what makes this show.

  5. I'm glad to know of shows worth watching...when they come to Amazon prime years later!

    And I missed the bus yesterday as well. My little town was shut down for hours. OBAMA SCHLEPPED HERE!
    Word gets around fast. I think the secret service is about as secret as the FBI. In our town any man with a suit on and shades would be suspect!

    I have a funny FBI story. Real life. But if I told you...

  6. LOL. Reminds me of a story. One day hubby was out making a church visit with another man. It was cold, so they were both wearing dress coats. And sunny, so they were wearing sunglasses. They rang the bell and someone they didn't recognize came out and said, "I didn't do nothing!"

  7. Hi Barb,

    I thought I left a message this morning, but I must have imagined it. Anyway, I didn't know there was a Ground Force One, but it makes sense. And yes, it does sound like a name he might give his Keurig. Cute. :)

    I haven't had the chance to watch this yet, but I'd like to do a marathon day and watch it. I think I started to watch the first episode and promptly fell asleep.

    Hopefully soon!

  8. Barb, I just watched a couple of the episodes. I'm hooked. :)


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