Have you seen the latest show to premiere on NBC? John Grisham finally makes it to prime time with the adaptation of The Firm; one of his earliest bestselling novels (1991). The television series features Josh Lucas (Mitch McDeere), Juliette Lewis (Tammy Hemphill), with John Grisham behind the scenes as Executive Producer. The Firm was first brought to the big screen in 1993 featuring Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman.
I am a big John Grisham fan, his books just click with my reading level/speed, and I actually own every one of his books. I can’t remember which book was the first I read – The Rain Maker or The Firm – either way I have read them all and love the suspense and characters of Grisham’s earliest works.
The Firm catches a young Harvard grad at the top of his class and looking for a career where he can make a big statement as a lawyer. Mitch McDeere doesn’t come from much money, unlike his sweetheart who’s father is president at a small town bank. Ray is Mitch’s older brother who ends up in prison on manslaughter charges. A small Memphis firm catches Mitch by offering him a salary 20% more than any other, a luxury car, and a comfortable life in the South as a tax lawyer on the fast track to riches. The firm turns out to be a front for the Chicago mob family and Mitch wants out. Here enters the FBI agents who inform Mitch that any lawyer that tries to leave the firm ends up dead. Mitch finds a way out by turning in the firm for over-billing it’s clients.
This is where the movie screws up the book plot. Mitch and Abby run off into the sunset and return to Boston (the book has a much better ending, but I won’t ruin it for ya).
The prime time version of Grisham’s story line is a continuation of the movie, 10 years down the road. Mitch and Abby (who looked much better when I read the book) went into protective custody when the mob put out a hit order on Mitch and his family and Abby confessed she was pregnant. The couple, Mitch’s brother Ray, and his sweetheart Tammy head off into witness protection and skip around. The television series picks up 6 months after Mitch and the gang settle into D.C. where he opens his own firm and tries to build a name for himself.
I’m usually leery when mixing book and film versions of good story lines. I never know where to go. Katy Jane (my favorite English gal) threw in her two cents and we came up with this conclusion. Watch the film, then read the book. Since the film is usually a let-down, reading the book after will give ya a delightful surprise. Unless of course you’re like me and love setting down with a good book and waiting for the plot to unfold with each turn of a page.
Anyway, I’m not yet sure what to think of this new show. I’m still trying to figure out how NBC will connect the characters and where they’ll take the plot. What are your thoughts?
Do you prefer to read the book or what the film first? Or do you stick to one or the other?