THE BODY POLITIC
Teleplay By: Jason Rothenberg & Bill Robinson
Story By: Jason Rothenberg & Bill Robinson & Peter Horton
Draft Date: January 30, 2009
Category: Jury's Out
Please see the first paragraph of Pilot Script Review - The Vampire Diaries for my disclaimer about why this is Jury's Out. Though, as a congressional soap opera, the characters are in their 20s... the same rules apply. I believe that only a presentation is being shot, however.
This is a project that, I'm told, was saved from the brink by casting Minka Kelly in the lead. I agree. Minka is definitely an up-and-coming TV star, and while Friday Night Lights didn't rocket her up in the stratosphere, this starring role could be the ticket.
Please note, all character names subject to change (and I believe they have since the draft I read).
Minka plays Lily Foster, a 25-year old whose mother just passed away. She leaves home, and boyfriend David, and heads to DC in search of... something unspecified (at first) that her mother told her in her "open in case of death" letter. We find out that Republican Senator Robert Webster is Lily's father. Lily, too, is a Republican. Not that I expect the politics of BP to be anything remotely like The West Wing's, but it's refreshing that not all of the characters are Democrats / liberals... and having the lead be a Republican, I think, is rather ballsy on the script's part. In addition, Lily is a moderate Republican... a dying breed!
Lily arrives in DC rather unprepared for the world of staffer-being and without many connections. She also arrives when a Democratic Senator (Adamson) who was going to be made into the Attorney General dies from a heart attack, and the President (not seen, presumed to actually be Obama, though we get info to and from him via Lucky Evans - Brian Austin Green's character and an advisor to the President) needs to tap someone else to be AG. There's a choice, essentially, between Webster and Senator Ellen Buckley, a Democrat. Politics politics politics (if Webster is appointed, the governor of his state will likely pick a Democrat, giving the Democrats a filibuster-proof 60 seats in the Senate). There's also a plot about Buckley killing a foreclosure freeze bill to get back at a Democrat senator endorsing the Republican for Attorney General.
That's all backdrop for the sex lives and romances of our younger characters (who, IIRC, all wind up living together, or at least in the same building as I don't think Jessica would live with her assistant... but such small details escape me).
First, there's Jessica Sharp, a career-minded and rather bitchy legislative aid to Adamson who is having an affair with him. With him dead, (a) she has a problem on her hands because she was "in the act" when he died, and (b) she needs a new job. So she sleeps around (with Lucky, even).
Then there's Charlie Morris, a Washington Post reporter (Jason Dohring). He plays the game, and Lily believes he's betrayed him by using her as a source, though he actually didn't.
Third is Ben McGrath, the heartthrob, ex-Navy officer, currently working for Senator Buckley. He and Lily have bad romantic timing, but clearly are hot for each other.
More minor are Miles, Jessica's assistant, and Eve Cooke... perky.
There's room to grow here. After all, the background for the relationship drama is a world of backstabbing, backroom deals, alliances, etc.
So... enjoyable. My favorite of the three "Jury's Out" CW pilots... on the other hand, politics on youth-oriented network CW could be stretch (vampires and models are an easier sell).