• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Feb 24, 2011
  • Season #: 1
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 9 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Reviewed by: Ginia Bellafante
    Feb 24, 2011
    100
    It is the seamless weaving of Marshall's personal biography with the story of his tenure as chief counsel for the N.A.A.C.P., where he worked to challenge the separate-but-equal doctrine used to justify racial segregation in the decision of Plessy v. Ferguson, that keeps Thurgood a work of such enthralling theater and television.
  2. Reviewed by: David Zurawik
    Feb 23, 2011
    90
    It's just plain good--fast-paced, emotionally engaging and even transporting at times. Much of the credit goes to Fishburne's performance, but there other important factors, like the way in which Stevens' script captures Marshall's liberating sense of humor, and the rich look of the overall production.
  3. Reviewed by: Keith Staskiewicz
    Feb 23, 2011
    83
    Fishburne's gravitas helps do the Supreme Court justice...justice.
  4. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    Feb 24, 2011
    80
    Students of Marshall's life and times won't find any new information here, but the personal shadings are crucial because they humanize what might otherwise have been dry textbook details. Stevens and Fishburne find a strong emotional through-line for Marshall's greatest triumphs: the desire to right injustices visited upon Marshall, his family and his people.
  5. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Feb 24, 2011
    80
    While he can be matter-of-fact, bemused and self-deprecating, he never loses a sense of forcefulness, purpose and pride. As Fishburne obviously understands, the story requires no hand-waving or rhetorical embellishment.
  6. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Feb 23, 2011
    80
    Fishburne captures Marshall's larger-than-life qualities, and in his playwriting debut, Stevens endows his portrait with a ripe sense of humor.
  7. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Feb 24, 2011
    70
    The play's conceit doesn't work particularly well on film and it doesn't help that the performance took place at the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater before an unstudent-like audience. But as static as the staging sometimes feels, Fishburne is more animated than he's gotten to be in a while, delivering a performance that's as funny as it appears to be heartfelt.
  8. Reviewed by: Diane Werts
    Feb 23, 2011
    67
    Thurgood feels more "important" than dramatic. Part of it is Stevens' then-I-did-this structure, more focused on biographical bullet points than the flesh-and-blood human behind them. And part of it is Fishburne, who despite coiled power--his Ike Turner in "What's Love Got to Do With It" was Oscar-nominated--resonates here as a cool character rather than a fiery one.
  9. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Feb 23, 2011
    50
    It probably works better onstage, but Stevens should know that what you do to achieve suspension of disbelief in a theater is not what you do to convince an audience that what it is seeing in a film is real.

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