Michael Desiato is not Walter White but he seems to be. Like him, he will have to unfold and live a life on the sidelines, not cooking methamphetamine, but cleaning up the traces of the crime that, through carelessness and fatality, his adolescent son committed. Also like White, Desiato knows perfectly the manufacturing technique of what will allow him to survive in his detour. Wherever White had chemical formulas – like the diligent high school teacher that he was – Desiato has alibis, like the skilled and respected judge he is. So yeah, everyone who’s fascinated by Breaking Bad will like Your Honor (Movistar +) because Bryan Cranston couldn’t have chosen his comeback better. The one who has returned is but another Walter White, and with him, his terrifying and fascinating path to perdition.
Everything in the life of Judge Desiato works with the perfection of a Swiss watch: he anticipates the testimonies of the cases of the day and gathers evidence to be able to refute them at the slightest suspicion of a lie. Until Adam (a desperately wretched Hunter Doohan) crashes head-on into the brand-new motorcycle of Rocco Baxter (a fleeting Benjamin Wadsworth), the son of a local mobster. In the middle of a suffocating asthma attack – the first 40 minutes of the series are, in many ways, heart attacks – caused by fear while driving through the 9th district of New Orleans where his mother was shot just a year ago, Adam loses from sight of the asphalt for a second and accidentally kills Rocco, fleeing the sinister in full post-traumatic shock.
From that moment on, father and son enter two abysses of a very different nature, excellently well traced by a script that, however, falls into the trap of convention and the archetypal brush stroke of the mafia family – no mafia after Tony Soprano seems good enough, but in this case the effort to give it a real entity is minimal. The father tries to hold on to every burning nail he comes across, and this is every story he hears told, because the best lie is one that is made up of little truths, and no one better than a judge, used to dismantling alibis to move in that other dark and gloomy universe of the improvised criminal.
The son, as in an umpteenth reinterpretation of the unbearable guilt of Raskolnikov, the protagonist of Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, is dying to confess and be tried in order to free himself from the weight of the dead – which gives rise to a powerful and cathartic scene in the autopsy room in twilight as Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart plays, which heightens the existential depth of a series more focused on procedure than on feel. Unable to bear loneliness in his descent into hell, Adam will play with the idea of exposing himself and will use art – photography – to feel the relief of a perhaps more or less veiled confession outside of the efforts of his diligent father, indifferent at all times to their suffering.
And it would seem that this black and white of the relationship between father and son, the attempt of that other Walter White determined to walk on the wild side to save someone who perhaps does not want to be saved, but whom he has proposed, Without asking, saving – because it’s the only thing left for him and because he knows that, whatever happens, if the Baxters find out, he will be lost – is perhaps, along with the way in which the stories we live surrounded by, the stories that others weave for us, allow us to move on when there is no possible grip on the unexpected in an unrecognizable life, the best of the first work that the British Peter Moffatt (The Village) writes for the United States.
Based on an Israeli miniseries, the initially self-closing Your Honor – which, according to Moffatt, has « the best ending he could imagine » -, it nevertheless skates in everything that has nothing to do with Cranston and the brilliant nuances of his performance, in which the ghost of White is reflected, what is necessary, so that the lover of Breaking Bad enjoys the reunion, at the same time that the character is propelled in a different direction – that of father-child duty and the still prevailing male isolation. Irregular in its denunciation of institutional racism –and little criticism in regard to the relations of interest between gangs and policemen– and corruption –almost a story toy–, the weight falls on the frenetic suspense that is not quite well dosed and the interpretations.
Although the latter also depend heavily on the plot –especially, the almost parodic ones of all the members of the Baxter clan, and even the rival gang, Desire, and the policemen who play along with them–, there are, like the of the detective Nancy Costello – an always admirable Amy Landecker (Transparent) – that magnify, despite its transience, every scene that they touch, also due to the indescribable number of nuances of their performance, which far exceeds the intention of the series, taking her to the place where she could be if she had not made the decision to travel an excessively traveled path, that of the eternal struggle of good people in the face of a fatal error against hopeless bad guys.