The Guardian (Television 2001-2004)

4 Kernels

Complicated Character Extraordinaire
The Guardian (TV)
Stars:  Simon Baker, Alan Rosenberg, Dabney Coleman,
Wendy Moniz
Nick Fallin.  Could there possibly be a more complicated character than this dude?  Psychologists must have loved watching this creation on television with his multifaceted personality.  He can be a tongue-tied child at one moment and a savvy attorney the next as he argues your case in front of the judge. He’s intelligent, closed off, and barely communicates. To top it off, he’s a former drug addict going through a very reluctant rehabilitation.

The story begins when Nick, who was arrested for misdemeanor drug possession, is sentenced to 1,500 hours of community service.  He’s the rich kid, who had everything.  His father is the big-shot attorney in Philadelphia who owns his own firm. He sent Nick off to boarding school at the age of 12 when his mother died.  His father is no better in expressing an ounce of honest emotion than Nicholas. The man can barely lift his head for two seconds to give his son eye contact, or if he does, he’s pushing his bare palms over his nearly bald head.  

Even though Nick Fallin is a complicated mess that sometimes you want to shake by the shoulders and bring out of his shell, you sort of feel bad for the guy. I’ve had this overwhelming motherly urge to give him a hug and tell him it will be okay.  Simon Baker plays his role very well.  His facial expressions, his eye movements, the way he shrugs his shoulders, uses body language, or lifts the corner of his mouth up in his usual non-verbal responses tells you exactly what he’s going through. When he smiles, it flashes for a brief moment and then gets reigned back lest you think Nick could really be happy.  At times you think you have him figured out and then reacts differently and frustrates the hell out of you. On top of his inability to communicate and express his feelings, he is emotionally cut off from others. His greatest flaw is his denial that he doesn’t have a problem, which he clearly does.

His community service begins working with child legal services in representing children in court.  At first his arrogant pride puts him far above that kind of work. He’s awkward to the point he’s clearly challenged in dealing with emotional situations, especially those of kids. As the show progresses and the children make a difference in his life, you slowly learn that Nick Fallin is nothing more than a soft-hearted teddy bear deep down inside, with a rock-hard shell.  He just can’t show it unless wild horses drag it out of him, or a particular woman.

As the season progresses, the child community service loses its funding and becomes legal aid for adults.  Once again, he’s challenged because he has to deal with adults as well as children. He falls for a woman in the office, but can’t bring himself to tell her he cares until its too late.  His relationship with his father is tested to the core, and he once again dabbles in drugs for a short time to numb the pain he cannot express.  

All in all, after watching the first season, I’m going to tune in the others.  It’s a great show.  Actually, a bit educational as well, especially learning what the legal guardian does for a child in court.  As far as Simon Baker, he’s nice to look at.  In some of the shots, he looks very young.  He’s supposed to be 32 in the series, but he reminds me at times of a 23 year old.  It’s interesting to see how he’s matured in his current work in The Mentalist.

The other characters, as usual, have their own lives that suck you in, gut none are really as interesting as Nicholas.  It’s worth the watch.  Of course, it only took me 12 years to finally get around to it, but what the heck.  Better late than never.

UPDATE:  I’m nearly done with Season 3.  I’m going to miss this series.  The best episode – when Nick and Lulu fight and then he finally…yes, finally, grabs her in the heat of passion and kisses Lulu after they both yell at each other, “screw you!”  Priceless.

LAST UPDATE:   The series finale was a huge disappointment to me.  The writers could have done a wonderful job ending the series with a decent closure. Instead they focused upon a sub-plot regarding capital punishment that took up too much time from the lives of Nick, Lulu, his father, and Alvin.  

I wanted to kill the writers of the show.  Okay, I get that all things come to an end, but not giving Nick and Lulu a happily ever-after relationship really disappointed the hell out of me. You are led to believe their relationship is healed, and suddenly Lulu turns cold toward him when he’s finally come to a place of responsibility and healing. 

Nick has bent over backwards to heal their relationship, care for their baby, purchase her a house, set up a trust fund, and go to counseling.  Everything she asked for, he did.  The woman had too much control over his life and heart and gave him nothing in return but pain and rejection. I wanted to slap Lulu in the hospital bed for not loving Nick, when it’s clear that all the viewers fall in love with his repentant character.  I’m not sure if the writers knew that the season was not being renewed or not when it was written, but if they did….badly done…badly done.  I got the impression they really didn’t care to end it on a high note.