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Trial and Error

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In the spirit of true crime documentaries, this outrageous fish-out-of-water comedy centers on bright-eyed New York lawyer Josh Simon, who heads to a tiny Southern town for his first big case. His mission? To defend an eccentric "rollercizing" poetry professor accused of the bizarre murder of his beloved wife. Settling into his makeshift office behind a taxidermy shop and meeting his quirky team of local misfits, Josh suspects that winning his first big case will not be easy, especially when his client is always making himself look guilty.

 
Status: Running
TV Channel: NBC
  • Erik Adams

    Under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t be funny. But there’s a lot talented people hard at work on this show making sure that Trial & Error is presenting nothing that resembles “normal circumstances.”

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Jeff Korbelik

    The humor is a combination of sight gags, slapstick and wordplay. And, again, nobody does it better than Lithgow in all three phases.

    The Lincoln Journal Star Full Review
  • Ray Rahman

    Trial & Error has the kind of good bones and fool-proof premise that could make for a great, long-running sitcom (the plan is to debut a new crime every season). The performances are mostly wonderful--you won’t find me bad-mouthing Lithgow--and the already-tiring true-crime genre was due for a good zinging. It got one.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Glenn Garvin

    Call me crude, immature, and jejune—editors do, all the time—but I cannot help but feel a certain fondness for a show in which characters have names like Judge Horsedich. And any comedy casting Shepherd deserves special recognition.

    Reason.com Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    Consistently funny and with surprisingly engaging twists for a comedy, Trial & Error commits few errors through its first three episodes.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Scott D. Pierce

    It's silly and sometimes slapstick, but it works. And what makes it work is that Lithgow is so good as the alleged murderer.

    The Salt Lake Tribune Full Review
  • Sonia Saraiya

    It’s frequently possible to see the jokes in Trial & Error coming from a mile away, but the commitment of the performers somehow makes even the silliest punchlines very funny.

    Variety Full Review
  • Mark A. Perigard

    In its casting, Trial & Error gets every­thing right.

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • David Wiegand

    This isn’t Noel Coward. In fact, it’s not even “Modern Family,” but it’s funny and gives renewed meaning to the term “comic relief.”

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Ed Bark

    You’ll likely at least be grinning, if not sometimes laughing out loud. Because after a halting start, the amusements are plentiful during the three half-hours made available for review.

    Uncle Barky Full Review
  • Robert Bianco

    A good percentage of the show's jokes land, and the show’s structure (it's effectively a 13-episode miniseries, with each episode ending with a trial-specific cliffhanger) is a welcome variation on the conventional sitcom form. Plus you have Lithgow, giving another master class in comedy.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Neil Genzlinger

    It’s a comedy that, if you can adjust to its deliberate dumbness, grows on you.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    High art it's not, but as breezy, reasonably clever comedies go, this NBC show earns a favorable verdict.

    CNN Full Review
  • Robert Lloyd

    Trial & Error is solid and funny, impressively cast and in no significant sense groundbreaking.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    I laughed out loud at this kooky, uneven spoof, whose jokes are almost inevitably about how profoundly stupid the characters are. Sometimes, idiocy is the ticket.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Hank Stuever

    It’s not nearly as funny as either ["The Office" and "Parks and Recreation"], and it sometimes sacrifices its most promising potential (making fun of true-crime serializations) to pick off easier targets (making fun of the South). ... Lithgow’s effort rubs off on his energetic co-stars, who elevate the material and give it a spark it otherwise wouldn’t have.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Gail Pennington

    Although the premiere is funny, succeeding episodes (two will air each week) hit the same quirk-centric jokes pretty hard.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Jen Chaney

    Trial & Error can be amusing at times. But too often, it feels like everyone involved in this series might tear a ligament in their effort to achieve what is supposed to be effortless wackiness.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    On Trial & Error, the answer a little too often is to lean on the fish-out-of-water moments that Josh encounters in a town full of yokels so clichéd they might have come from a bottle in the writers' room marked Southern Stereotypes: Just Add Water. ... But it's Lithgow, as the hopelessly self-centered, sneakily endearing suspect, who steals every scene he's in.

    Philadelphia Daily News Full Review
  • Ken Tucker

    Lithgow is superb every time he’s on-camera, but Trial & Error has its own trial-and-error growing pains to go through before it either settles into something you want to watch every week, or a novelty that doesn’t sustain itself.

    Yahoo TV Full Review
  • Sophie Gilbert

    If it can shift its sights to a more demanding target, there’s potential here for a fresh and ingenious new kind of comedy. But it requires sharper writing to make murder funny than the show currently possesses. There’s more to satire than simply taking a serious subject and stuffing it full of gags.

    The Atlantic Full Review
  • Matt Roush

    This deeply silly sitcom may be guilty of overplaying its hard to score cheap laughs, especially at the expense of Southern-yokel sterotypes and running gags that quickly run out of gas. But with the glorious John Lithgow at its center, [...] it's wise to recuse oneself from delivering a verdict too quickly. [6-19 Mar 2017, p.21]

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • Verne Gay

    A featherweight entertainment with a good cast, some charm, and not nearly enough laughs.

    Newsday Full Review
  • Bruce Miller

    “The Jinx” constantly surprised. Trial & Error seems like it’s just going through the motions.

    Sioux City Journal Full Review
  • Dan Fienberg

    The series has yet to find any pairings or relationships with any real repartee or comedic chemistry, so the show is a lot of individuals elevating tired material with strong line readings, including guest stars like Bob Gunton, Cristine Rose, Ginger Gonzaga and Patricia Belcher.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Rob Lowman

    It’s great to see Lithgow, who won a Golden Globe earlier this year for playing Winston Churchill in Netflix’s series “The Crown,” but there’s not much challenge here for him and too few laughs.

    Los Angeles Daily News Full Review
  • Mark Dawidziak

    Trial & Error is more a case of hit and miss. Wildly uneven, it tries way too hard to be eccentric, often following big laughs with wearisomely forced and labored moments.

    Cleveland Plain Dealer Full Review
  • Jon Negroni

    Maybe a few new characters and a plot shakeup could be enough to invigorate what is, for now, a mostly forgettable piece of work.

    We Got This Covered Full Review
  • Chris Cabin

    The result is a familiar yet no-less-depressing annual occurrence on network TV: a comedy built for vague amusement rather than real laughs.

    Collider Full Review
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Episode Guide For Show: Trial and Error
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