• Network: TNT
  • Series Premiere Date: Jun 22, 2010
  • Season #: 1 , 2
Metascore
57

Mixed or average reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 18
  2. Negative: 3 out of 18
  1. TNT's new Memphis Beat has a great soundtrack and a pretty good cop drama in between.
  2. But even as the cop genre seems beyond saturation, along comes TNT's Memphis Beat, a series with a fresh character in a fresh environment with a fresh look and sound that proves, against all odds, that good actors and agile execution trump format every time.
  3. 75
    If you're looking for a new cop drama to serve and protect your entertainment interests, leave the rookies alone to ripen, and go for a ride-along with Jason Lee's Dwight. Blue suede shoes not required.
  4. 75
    While it sounds old hat, the who, what, when, where, why and how of this police procedural doesn't go the usual-suspects route. This show really keeps you guessing. And the soundtrack, by blues singer Keb'Mo, will keep you entranced.
  5. "Treme" and "Justified" are too slow even for Slow Television. Memphis Beat is easier to follow, and certainly more lively.
  6. Memphis Blues has a similar feel to "The Closer" at the same stage. The secondary characters are not yet developed, and the show feels fairly pat. But it has the necessary ingredients for a lightweight, innocuous procedural.
  7. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    67
    A by-the-book cop show without much bite or heft. But it's got Memphis and Lee.
  8. 63
    The premiere feels sort of like "The Closer" but doesn't clinch the deal. I'm just not sure what to make of Jason Lee without his Jason Lee-ishness. But there's a crackle of eccentric touches, including an abundance of Elvis impersonators and the charmingly off-kilter Celia Weston as his mother.
  9. The players have all done fine work in other venues, but the story isn't here. The network that "knows drama" needs to step it up a beat.
  10. 50
    Except for the setting, there really isn't much to distinguish Memphis Beat from hundreds of cop shows past and present. As a matter of fact, it's far more like them than it is different.
  11. Reviewed by: Michael Landweber
    50
    The bar is set reasonably low for police procedurals and there is no reason to think that Memphis Beat can't clear it eventually. However, to "save" Memphis, maybe what the show needs is to let loose and have a little bit of fun.
  12. 50
    The Memphis location is meant to add distinction, but it doesn't quite work. The setting and the musical references seem oddly artificial, right down to Lee's stage performance, for which his voice has been dubbed.
  13. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    50
    While I like how Lee's laid-back style translates to a police drama, there's not enough here to separate the show from the umpteen other slightly-quirky-guy-solves-crimes cable dramas.
  14. More often it is labored and belaboring, from the eccentric station-house staff--including Abraham Benrubi, wearing Willie Nelson's old pigtails, as a Chickasaw desk sergeant, and DJ Qualls as a slack-jawed Cletus of a patrol officer--to the Elvis imitators on the street and Dwight's constant promotion of Memphis as "sacred ground" to people who, after all, live there too.
  15. Reviewed by: Geoffrey Berkshire
    40
    Everything about Beat, from the accents to the Elvis impersonators lining the police station, from Hendricks' after-hours hobby singing at a bar to his underdeveloped co-workers, suggests a series working too hard to achieve the evocative atmosphere and offbeat characters that come so effortlessly in FX's superior Southern-set drama "Justified."
  16. 37
    Lee and co-star Alfre Woodard deserve better than Memphis Beat, which can't quite overcome the cliches that frequently bog it down.
  17. 37
    The show suffers from severe tonal problems as it struggles to balance local eccentricities and strained comedy with an overly graphic approach to its plot-driving crimes.
  18. 30
    As drama, Memphis Beat is a dreary failure, a formulaic cop show distinguished only by its poor execution.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 97 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 16
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 16
  3. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Feb 10, 2011
    10
    This show is SO much fun. A recent episode closed with Jason in a duet singing a song that started, "One night of sin. That's what I'm now paying for." So honky-tonk and amusing! A recent episode that started with a courtroom scene was priceless. Full Review »
  2. Nov 11, 2010
    10
    I really enjoy Jason Lee in this role.......I've only seen two episodes and want to see many, many more......I'm taping them from now on........ He's a very good singer......Sexy!! I too,, would watch it every night if I could.........Please keep it going!!! Full Review »
  3. Sep 7, 2010
    10
    i thought this show was great! it had a little of everything. i can't wait until it goes to dvd and back on tv. the cast had a perfect chemistry and the music was great. Full Review »