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Benched is a single-camera comedy about a high-powered corporate lawyer's fall from grace into the rough-and-tumble world of the public defenders. From ABC Signature Studio, it stars Coupe as Nina Whitley, a distinguished corporate lawyer who has given up everything in her climb to the top. However, when she's hit with her ex-fiancé's engagement announcement and learns that she hasn't made partner at her high power firm, Nina snaps -- breaking vases and burning bridges.Now that Nina is shunned from the corporate world, the only place she can get a job is at the Public Defender's office: home to the underfunded, understaffed, overworked, "if you can't afford a lawyer, one will be provided... " lawyers. In addition to her new clients, Nina must learn to connect with her co-workers, including the roguish Phil, the idealistic Carlos, the useless empathetic Cheryl and the dedicated intern Micah. If that didn't sound tough enough for Nina, she'll also be going head-to-head with her ex-fiancé, Trent, the rising star of the District Attorney's office.

Status: Ended
TV Channel: USA Network
  • Alexa Planje

    From the writing, to the cast, to impactful details like the spot-on styling and sets, Benched exudes confidence and commitment.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Melissa Maerz

    Benched is more lightweight [than Enlightened], but it's encouragingly funny thanks to Coupe, whose attempts at anger management showcase impeccable comic timing.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Maureen Ryan

    It's rare to come across a comedy that displays such admirable focus and delivers such smartly packaged slices of diverting escapism. More, please.

    The Huffington Post Full Review
  • David Wiegand

    The show’s humor is grounded in Nina’s fish-out-of-water career adjustment to a far less glamorous job and world, which may sound rather obvious, but works because of terrific writing by co-creators Michaela Watkins and Damon Jones.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Neil Genzlinger

    This may all seem assembled from a paint-by-numbers kit, but it clicks nicely, thanks to a lively group of supporting players who include Fred Melamed as a judge and Jolene Purdy as an intern.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Alan Sepinwall

    Good as Coupe is, the rest of the ensemble needs to come into sharper focus in a hurry for most of the comedy to work. But she's a strong foundational piece.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • Gail Pennington

    The more it settles down, the better it gets, although "better" remains relative.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • David Hinckley

    It’s a breezy, amusing half hour with a lead character whose insecurities poke through her confident exterior.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Tim Goodman

    Most of the other characters on Benched remain unformed, so early offerings seem middling and temper that hope--but hey, maybe you have better batteries.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    Benched isn’t awful, but it’s much too formulaic.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    Te pilot episode was written by Michaela Watkins ("Trophy Wife") and Damon Jones ("Peep Show"), who write to Ms. Coupe's comedic strengths while also peppering the background with amusing comic gags (viewers who pay closer attention will reap the most laughs from "Benched"). A second episode sent for review was less funny than the pilot and the plot was also a head-scratcher.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    Aside from the occasional line that’s slightly bluer than what can be gotten away with on most network fare, there’s precious little here to distinguish the series.

    Variety Full Review
  • Lori Rackl

    At least this courtroom comedy is better than “Bad Judge.”

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Mary McNamara

    Benched is nowhere near as funny as it thinks it is, mainly because Watkins and Jones seem to believe that the endless humiliations of a thin, attractive, previously well-compensated blond woman are all it takes to make people laugh.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
Episode Guide For Show: Benched