TV review: Cop drama ‘Battle Creek’ explores familiar territory

Winters (left) and Penn take a rest from solving crime.

Three stars

Battle Creek Sundays, 10 p.m., CBS.

One of the perks of creating a show as popular and acclaimed as Breaking Bad is that even your castoffs become hot commodities. Breaking Bad’s Vince Gilligan developed Battle Creek for CBS in 2002, when the network passed on it, but now it’s been refurbished and given the green light, thanks mainly to Gilligan’s involvement. He rewrote the pilot along with House creator David Shore, who will be the showrunner, and the solid but unexceptional procedural seems more in line with Shore’s talents.

It takes place in the small city of Battle Creek, Michigan, where a burned-out police detective (Dean Winters) finds himself teamed up with a smooth-talking, upbeat FBI agent (Josh Duhamel) who heads up a new local field office. The pilot features familiar buddy-cop banter and a forgettable case about a pair of drug dealers getting murdered. But Gilligan and Shore bring wit and liveliness to the dialogue, and the supporting cast is full of talented actors, including Kal Penn, Janet McTeer, Liza Lapira and Damon Herriman, which bodes well for the development of a well-rounded ensemble. Battle Creek is unlikely to inspire the same kind of praise and devotion as Breaking Bad, but it’s an entertaining exercise in typical TV crime-solving.

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