The first season of Amazon’s Goliath was good. It was like a typical David E. Kelley show … but with swear words. In the second season, Kelley passes the showrunning duties to Clyde Phillips (Dexter) and Phillips raises the bar considerably. Not so much with the swear words but with the story and the performances (although there are still plenty of swear words).
The 2017 Golden Globe winner for his performance as Goliath’s Billy McBride, Billy Bob Thornton delivers another flawless performance. Billy McBride is a seemingly lackadaisical, washed up and drunk lawyer. Don’t be fooled, he’s a brilliant and cunning, albeit often hung-over, lawyer. In this second season, Thornton’s McBride is not only a lawyer but also serves as ringmaster around the story and the other actors. It’s a brilliantly nuanced performance.
McBride has his typical crew with him, Patty (Nina Arianda) and Brittany (Tania Raymonde) with his daughter Denise (Diana Hopper) playing more of a role this season; all are great. Similar to the first season, the supporting cast and cameo’s in Goliath are amazing, Lou Diamond Phillips (not aging so well), David Cross (the wig, awesome), Paul Williams (yep, still alive), Ana de la Reguera (sublimely devilish) and Mark Duplass (brilliantly diabolical as a real estate developer and political patron with a very odd sexual quirk and a love for H.R. Puffnstuff … at the same time). The performances of the cast give Thornton a run for his money, but he’s a formidable ringmaster.
Season two involves a Mexican cartel, a real estate developer and politics. It may sound timelier than it is; and like Bosch before it, Goliath takes place in Los Angeles. Where LA was the secret sauce in Bosch it is here too … it’s just less tasty. In Goliath, LA serves as the subtle architect of the mayhem McBride unearths during the LA mayoral election.
Goliath has a few unsettling murders this time around and while not graphic, they are unnerving. However, to be fair, in real life empathy and kindness aren’t traits of a successful Mexican drug cartel, or politician, so they shouldn’t be on television. Consider yourself warned.
In so many shows today, you get whacked all over bejesus with music but with Goliath music is conspicuously absent. So when it does show up, like Dire Straits “Romeo and Juliet”, you take notice of its purpose. In this case, as both a sweet moment for Patty and harbinger. Its inclusion here is artful and brilliant, much like the song itself.
After a mostly forward moving narrative (a few flashbacks, Goliaths one stumble), episode seven takes a delightfully David Lynchian turn that leaves you as unsettled as Billy McBride is in the episode. Like most things by David Lynch, you have to let the episode wash over you and trust it will come together.
At eight episodes, Goliath is like a great rock and roll album, all killer and no filler … and leaves you wanting more.
Is season two of Goliath worth your time? Yep. It’s virtually flawless.
Originally published at TheLatest.com, June 18, 2018.