At some point in time an executive at ABC Studios said, “I think Daredevil would be perfect for Netflix.” That man or woman should be given a raise, because all 13 episodes of the show’s first season come together to form an incredibly entertaining product. Charlie Cox in the starring role does a commendable job as Matt Murdock, and most of his supporting cast delivers solid performances (particularly Vondie Curtis-Hall as Ben Urich).
One of the best scenes that sums up what Daredevil is all about involves courtroom closing arguments in the third episode. Matt and his law partner, Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), must give an honest defense for a dubious client.
Mr. Murdock says:
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, forgive me if I seem distracted. I’ve been preoccupied as of late with questions of morality. Of right and wrong, good and evil. Sometimes the delineation between the two is a sharp line. Sometimes it’s a blur. And often it’s like pornography — you just know it when you see it.
A man is dead. I don’t mean to make light of that. But these questions — these questions — are vital because they tether us to each other, to humanity. Not everyone feels this way. Not everyone sees the sharp line, only the blur. A man is dead. A man is dead, and my client, John Healy, took his life. This is not in dispute. It is a matter of record. Of fact. And facts have no moral judgment. They merely state what is. Not what we think of them. Not what we feel. They just are. What was in my client’s heart when he took Mr. Prohaszka’s life — whether he is a good man or something else entirely — is irrelevant. These questions of good and evil, as important as they are, have no place in a court of law. Only the facts matter.
My client claimed he acted in self defense. Mr. Prohaszka’s associates have refused to make a statement regarding the incident. The only other witness, a frightened young woman, has stated that my client was pleasant and friendly, and that she only saw the struggle with Mr. Prohaszka after it had started. Those are the facts. Based on these — and these alone — the prosecution has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that my client wasn’t acting solely in self-defense. And those, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, are the facts. My client, based purely on the sanctity of the law, which we’ve all sworn to uphold, must be acquitted of these charges. Now, beyond that, beyond these walls, he may well face a judgment of his own making. But here, in this courtroom, the judgment is yours and yours alone.” — Daredevil: Episode 3: Rabbit in a Snowstorm.
The fascinating thing about Daredevil is that each character has their own cross to bear, and over the course of the first season viewers get to see how they stumble, fall, get back up again, and continue moving forward while trying to find the righteous path. For Matt that means figuring out how to bring criminals to justice when the system designed to do just that has been corrupted.
Matt Murdock is aided in that task by his Catholicism and a priest he speaks to for guidance. He even jokes with Claire during an exchange in “Cut Man” from Episode 2:
Claire: I find a guy in a dumpster who turns out to be some kind of blind vigilante who can do all sorts of weird shit — like smell cologne through walls and sense whether someone is unconscious or faking it. Slap on top of that he can take an unbelievable amount of punishment without one damn complaint.
Matt Murdock: That last part is the Catholicism.
Daredevil’s writers strike a fine balance throughout the season in terms of addressing Murdock’s faith. It is very much a part of who he is, but it never becomes preachy, nor is it denigrated. This is a welcome surprise; covering themes found in Hubert Van Zeller’s “Suffering, The Cross of Christ and Its Meaning For You,” will only make Daredevil a better show.
While Mr. Murdock draws strength from his spirituality, it is also stressed that all of us need friends and family to lean on in tough times. The crosses we carry can be heavy, and the body is often weak. Without trusted allies, many of us would not be long in this world.
Matt delivers this message during Episode 11’s “The Ones We Leave Behind.”:
Matt Murdock: I had a really shitty night. The kind where you think you’ve seen the bottom of humanity, but the pit keeps on getting deeper. You know? I can’t do this alone. I can’t. I can’t take another step.
Karen: You’re not alone. You never were.
In short, Daredevil is a great fusion of crime drama and superhero fare. If you have Netflix, then it’s worth checking out. If you don’t have Netflix, then you may want to consider getting it when Daredevil’s second season arrives.
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Glück, Auf, meine Heimat!
Excellent blog entry Doug.
I absolutely loved Daredevil. It is not just a good superhero tv show it is a brilliant tv show in its own right.
It was well written, well acted and every character was well thought out and their motives were understandable.
I am looking forward to season 2 and hope that the other Netflix Marvel series in the pipeline are of a similar standard.
I’m glad you liked the show, Andrew. An added bonus to Daredevil’s success will be that more Marvel properties will be looked at to become Netflix series. I’m hoping that future shows will be crafted with as much care as the first season of Daredevil.
AKA Jessica Jones will be out later this year. I’m hoping Daredevil isn’t a one off and this is good as well.
Episode 2 or 3 not sure which had one moment that went a little political. The Doctor in the hospital made a rant to Ben about too many patients due to people that did not want their kids vaccinated. I am not disagreeing with the doctor but it was a moment that made me say “Marvel has to make a statement again”. The scene was not necessary and they went out of their way to make a jab based on opinion. The doctor could have just said they were busy.
I have only watch the first 5 episodes but so far I really like it.
This whole first season is Exhibit A in the case against political hacks who write the comics. They cast off conservative customers like as if we won’t be happy with anything they write, when that isn’t true. ABC Studios/Marvel put out a product called Daredevil that just-so-happened to make the gentrification of Hell’s Kitchen a major part of the show. In terms of politics, I think it’s safe to say that one strikes a nerve with liberals. Do I care? No. Daredevil is a good show. If it was written by certain comics industry professionals we all know, then there’s a good chance it would have been so over-the-top and bad that I would have stopped watching.
If Foggy Nelson suddenly decides he wants to become Franny Nelson in Season 2, then I’ll stop watching. That’s something the comic book writers would do just to capitalize on other stories that are making headlines.
Daredevil will become a black female for season 2. If you have a problem with it you must be a woman hating racist.
No, it’s not “for the good of the plot.” Why do you ask?
I have heard so many good things about this show. I don’t have Netflix as of yet, but I hope there’s a DVD release soon. I enjoy Mark Waid’s very light and forthy run on the title, but I do miss the kind of tone represented in the clips I’ve seen from this
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I know that I’m supposed to at least pretend to be a serious adult, but I had a fangirl squeal over the “That bit’s the Catholicism” quote. I feel like Cap has to quote Chesterton in “Civil War” now. It would only make it better if Tony Stark didn’t get the reference. Better still? If Cap just grinned and said, “Look it up. It’s a book.” (Because some forms of education only take you so far, kids.)
Cap break the wall looks at the audience and says look it up its in a book…that would be great!
I think the audience really doesn’t expect Cap to say something snarky for some reason… well, just because his sense of humor tends toward self-depreciating doesn’t mean he doesn’t have one. ;-P