Verdict: Ironside

So last week Ironside premiered on NBC last week, I being out of town did not get to check it out until this weekend so here is my look at Ironside. The basic premise is that there is a cop who is in a wheelchair who runs his own team and solves crime. The questions that definitely come up is how he ended up in a wheelchair and why he is still a cop. I was only slightly curious about the show to begin with, but was curious how they would handle a cop in a wheelchair.

The general thing about the first episode is it is not bad, but it does not do anything different. Blair Underwood does a fantastic job as the main character Robert T. Ironside who is a tough cop who is dealing with being a copy while dealing with the fact that he is paralyzed from the waist down. At the same time it does not bring in anything new to the genre to make it interesting enough to pull me away from my other crime shows. 

Police Procedural

So the first episode is definitely setting the series up as a standard crime of the week that is being solved. A crime happens and we watch as Detective Ironside and his team work to solve the crime. At times breaking the rules to try and get at the truth, which is similar to a lot of other crime shows. Now we do find out that Ironside has his own team and building to work with, which he says he got through the court of law. So we find out that he has forced his way back in to the force and is leading his own team. It could create an interesting dynamic, but it is a side note because it is obvious that he is still respected.

Some of the more interesting moments are how Ironside is treated or talks because he is in a wheelchair. He does his job well and at various points he mentions that he has to do things differently. He can no longer chase down subjects or intimidate them in quite the same way, but he finds a way. Some of it is interesting, but they definitely do not treat him too much differently for being in a wheelchair, which is nice, but it makes it the same as a lot of other shows.

The Incident

So throughout the first episode we get to see flashbacks of what happened to Ironside to get him in the wheelchair. It turns out that what actually happened is his former partner and him chasing down a criminal they had been tracking for a really long time. The shot that paralyzed Ironside came from his partner. They were both chasing down the criminal and gone separate ways and ended up both shooting at the suspect, but the partner accidentally hit his partner. Now Ironside is in a wheelchair and his partner is so messed up he cannot be a cop.

The partner is very public about the fact that he cannot cope with what happened. He is drinking too much and an absolute mess. Ironside even bails him out of jail and confronts him. The partner does not know how Ironside copes with the situation the response is simply I have to. Ironside at first seems like he has it all together, but in reality he deals with it because he has to keep it together. To keep going and keep working so he does not let his wheelchair define him. This is where we could get some ideas that could create some interesting dynamics. Partly because I am not sure that Ironside has fully forgiven his partner.


So in the end I really do not think I will continue watching this show. It is not bad, but did not have enough of something different to make it interesting. I know it is a remake of an older show and it would be interesting to look at that comparison, although I will not be taking the time to do that. In the end I think the wheelchair is not used as a gimmick which is nice, but the characterization does not give enough to make it different from a host of other police procedurals already on television.

2 responses to “Verdict: Ironside

  1. Living the Geek Life

    I think for me, it would have helped if the main character had been more likeable. None of the cops were particularly interesting or likeable.

    However, you’re right, while Underwood did a good job, there’s just nothing here to make it worth my time over all the other police dramas around the tube.


    • That is true. He is kind of arrogant about his position and he is good. At the same time we never really get to connect with any of the other characters they are just window dressing for Ironside’s story.


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