Showtime's Thriller 'Your Honor' Puts Bryan Cranston in Another Bad Nightmare

Let's see him wriggle his way out of this jam.

Skip Bolen/Showtime
Skip Bolen/Showtime
Skip Bolen/Showtime

To find out which platform this show is streaming on in Australia, head to flicks.com.au.

Like Liam Neeson in Taken, Bryan Cranston has a very particular set of skills: He’s great at playing flustered, projecting a sense of weary authority, and dramatizing the agony of getting squeezed in an ethical vice of his own creation. Across five seasons of AMC’s Breaking Bad, Cranston’s teacher-turned-kingpin Walter White put on a masterclass in wiping away fingerprints, disposing of evidence, and desperately covering his own ass. If you need someone to lie with purpose, to summon gravitas with a pained grimace and a sweaty brow, Cranston is the first guy you call.

Your Honor, a 10-episode limited series that debuted on Showtime on Sunday night, finds the Malcolm in the Middle dad back in his profoundly uncomfortable comfort zone. Following a respected New Orleans judge who bends (and, yes, breaks) the law to protect his son, the show from writer Peter Moffat (the creator of the BBC’s Criminal Justice, the source material for HBO’s The Night Of) scans as an ideal star vehicle for Cranston, who also serves as an executive producer. But, with so many twist-filled premium cable crime dramas to choose from at the moment, is it worth checking out? After checking out the first episode, I did my best to deliver a verdict below.

Skip Bolen/Showtime
Skip Bolen/Showtime
Skip Bolen/Showtime

What is Your Honor about?

Adapted from the Isralei miniseries Kvodo, Your Honor has a classic prestige-pulp legal thriller premise. Cranston plays Michael Desiato, a grief-stricken New Orleans judge still recovering from the tragic death of his wife and the mother of his son, Adam (Hunter Dooha). In the first half of the premiere, Adam drives his Volvo to the city’s Ninth Ward to pay his respects to his late mother by leaving flowers and a photo near what the viewer assumes is the place of her death. Leaving the area and suffering one of those dramatically convenient asthma attacks, he gets in a car accident while reaching for his inhaler, killing the teenage son of a local mobster.

What Adam does next sets up the rest of the series. Though he attempts to provide mouth-to-mouth and dials 911 on a busted cell phone, he ends up leaving the scene of the crime. He drives home and washes his bloody clothes, eventually coming clean to his father, who initially plans to take his son in to confess. But when Michael realizes who Adam killed and how much danger he could be in, he decides to protect his son, a choice that will likely put him on a tragic path. Again, there likely are enough echoes here of Breaking Bad here-the soul-corrupting secrets, the “family first” moralizing, and the pulse-pounding stress-to draw in the Cranston faithful.

Skip Bolen/Showtime
Skip Bolen/Showtime
Skip Bolen/Showtime

Who else is in Your Honor besides Bryan Cranston?

It’s understandable to think of Your Honor as the “Bryan Cranston hour.” His face is prominently featured in the advertising, he’s got the most dynamic role, and the premiere ultimately swings around a pivotal decision he makes towards the end of the episode. But he’s not the only heavy-hitter in the cast, and he spends most of the first half running through the streets of the city with a hooded sweatshirt covering half of his face, so don’t expect to see him in every scene.

Rounding out the cast, Michael Stuhlbarg of A Serious Man has the potentially juiciest non-Cranston part as Jimmy Baxter, the father of the boy Adam hits with his car and the boss of the “most vicious crime family in the history of this city.” (Stuhlbarg played an almost supernaturally compassionate father in Call Me By Your Name, so it should be fun to see him as a violent criminal mastermind here.) Hope Davis plays Baxter’s shocked wife and Isiah Whitlock Jr. appears as one of Michael’s colleagues with political ambitions. Margo Martindale, Carmen Ejogo, Maura Tierney, and Amy Landecker reportedly pop in for supporting turns as the series progresses.

Skip Bolen/Showtime
Skip Bolen/Showtime
Skip Bolen/Showtime

Are you going to want to keep watching Your Honor?

Though Your Honor will likely benefit from the many Breaking Bad allusions it received in the press, the comparison is ultimately an unforgiving one. As effective as Cranston is in the main role, offering fatherly guidance and folksy wisdom, the show has a plodding quality that undermines the inherent tension of the premise. As with many high-end crime dramas, the show stretches too many sequences to the breaking point. (If this were a Law & Order episode, the entire plot of the first episode would unfold in less than five minutes.) You feel like you’re always a few steps ahead of the characters, which can be the kiss of death for a series like this.

In the best cases, like with the aforementioned The Night Of or HBO’s Gillian Flynn adaptation Sharp Objects, that patient pacing allows a writer to paint a vivid picture of a specific location or dig deep into the fractured mental space of a character. The expanded scope encourages rewarding detours, eccentric twists, or bursts of dark humor, something Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan specializes in. Despite an evocative setting and an impressive cast, Your Honor is too methodical and dour for its own good. By the time Cranston finally springs into action, it feels like too little too late. Need help finding something to watch? Sign up here for our weekly Streamail newsletter to get streaming recommendations delivered straight to your inbox.

Dan Jackson is a senior staff writer at Thrillist Entertainment. He’s on Twitter @danielvjackson.


Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.


Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.


BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

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