Billy Bob Thornton, 2017 Golden Globe winner for best actor in a television drama series, is a veritable “David” in Amazon’s top binge show Goliath. Not only does he slay the merciless corporation and law firm of biblical proportions in which he is pitted against, he slays his character. I mean he absolutely kills in this role. (Hence the Golden Globe.)
The premise of this show is pretty typical. Thornton plays Billy McBride, the show’s unlikely protagonist. He’s a down-on-his-luck, alcoholic divorced attorney. A killer case which he doesn’t want at first finds its way to his humble motel-on-the-beach home/office.
The case seems somewhat forthright. A man works for Borns Tech, a gigantic company which works on Department of Defense contracts. The man is blown up on a Borns boat in the middle of the ocean. We see this explosion from a fisherman’s boat who manages to record some of the explosion.
The explosion is ruled a suicide caused when the man intentionally throws a match down the fuel tank. They even find a suicide note left on the deadman’s computer. Two years go by with no body screaming squat except for the deadman’s sister. (Even his widow believes it’s suicide.)
Eventually the sister manages to get an attorney to believe her and that attorney finds McBride. He promptly turns it down, especially when he sees who represents Borns Tech. Pretty much the Goliath of law firms which just happens to include McBride in their title.
Yes, our down-on-his-luck attorney was once a “rock star” attorney and partner with the Goliath law firm. His ex-wife is still a partner there.
See, pretty typical. But that’s where whatever stereo types by which you may prejudge this story line ends. The unexpected begins happening the second McBride takes on the case.
Even the main antagonist (played by William Hurt) isn’t what you would imagine. He’s a truly creepy individual with a hate for Billy McBride so tangible you can almost taste it. As senior partner and absolute boss at this law firm which employs 1000s of attorneys all over the world, he resides and works in the penthouse of his office building with curtains drawn like some kind of vampire.
He keeps a clicker in his hand, clicking it constantly as if it were a nervous twitch. And so rarely seen outside his office that he appears to be more urban legend to most of his associates than real man. Half his body is scarred from burns, supposedly he got in Vietnam. All of this adds up to an almost superhero arch-villain. Oh yeah, he has cameras EVERYWHERE and watches people without their knowledge. Pretty creepy.
And there’s Billy McBride on the side of the righteous. And almost immediately, the Goliaths begin their systematic squashing of all the little Davids which includes pretty much everybody, including the deadman, his sister, widow and son, witnesses to the explosion, and Billy’s entire legal team as well as his own 17-year-old daughter who gets tasered by a very bad cop. And then at the end of Episode 2, something truly shocking happens and obviously unexpectedly. It literally made me scream out. And from there, the binging begins…. Okay, no more spoilers.
Thornton plays this character with an understated sensitivity. References throughout the series as to why he no longer works for the Goliath law firm brings the same reaction from him. Unspilled tears and a loudly-spoken quietness. It’s no wonder he climbed out of bed with a 3-headed snake law firm and into a bottle.
Every single episode shows the inconceivable uphill battle to fight injustice and win justice and make no mistake……the verdict is surprising. And redemption? Judge for yourself.