So Help Me Todd – The Tooth is Out There (Series Finale) – Review: A Phenomenal Hour, a Sad Farewell

Spoilers

Watching the final episode of “So Help Me Todd” was a bittersweet experience. It delivered everything fans love about the show, but the knowledge that it was the finale and ended on a cliffhanger made it incredibly sad. There’s much to be said for this unique, charming series, but mainly, “So Help Me Todd” was truly a breath of fresh air on the TV landscape, offering something unique and heartwarming.

“So Help Me Todd” revolved around the unconventional partnership between Margaret Wright (played by Marcia Gay Harden), a meticulous and no-nonsense lawyer, and her son Todd (Skylar Astin), a laid-back, clever private investigator. The mother-son dynamic was at the heart of the show, blending drama and comedy seamlessly. Their interactions were often humorous but also heartfelt, creating a feel-good atmosphere that resonated with viewers.

 

The chemistry between Skylar Astin and Marcia Gay Harden was a standout feature. Their on-screen relationship felt authentic, drawing viewers into their world. Harden’s portrayal of a tough but loving mother contrasted beautifully with Astin’s charming and slightly rebellious son, making their dynamic both relatable and entertaining.
 

There were 3 main reasons the show stood out:

1. Authenticity: Unlike many shows that feel formulaic, “So Help Me Todd” had a genuine, down-to-earth vibe. The humor wasn’t forced, and the drama was grounded in real, relatable family dynamics.

2. Feel-Good Factor: In an era where TV often leans towards dark and gritty themes, this show offered a refreshing change with its light-hearted yet meaningful storytelling. It was the kind of show that left viewers smiling at the end of each episode.

3. Balance of Drama and Comedy: The show masterfully balanced serious legal and investigative plots with comedic moments, keeping the tone light without undermining the gravity of the cases being handled.
 

CBS’s decision to cancel “So Help Me Todd” in favor of reviving yet another police procedural, “S.W.A.T.,” is a clear indicator of how the business side of TV can sometimes overshadow creative storytelling. While police procedurals have their own dedicated fan base, the uniqueness of “So Help Me Todd” offered a much-needed variety in programming. The cancellation sparked disappointment among fans who appreciated the show’s unique charm. The outcry from viewers is a testament to how much the show resonated with its audience. It’s not just about ratings; it’s about the connection and joy that a show brings to its viewers.
 
“Co-Pilot” – SO HELP ME TODD. Pictured: Skylar Astin, Scott Prendergast, Marcia Gay Harden and Michael Spiller. Photo: Bettina Strauss/CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
 

Tonight’s episode perfectly showcased everything great about the show. We got the witty banter between Todd and Margaret, and Todd and Lyle, along with a heartfelt case at the center of the hour, all wrapped up with a lot of heart. The Wright family may not be perfect, but they have come a long way in two seasons, winning over the hearts of viewers.
 

Last season ended with Margaret achieving her dream of becoming a named partner at the law firm. This season, she learned that sometimes the things you desire most aren’t everything they seem. Becoming a named partner came with a price, and in tonight’s episode, we finally learned what that price was. As we discovered last week, someone in the firm had been bribing a judge, and tonight, while Margaret worked to keep the struggling firm afloat, Todd uncovered who was behind the scheme.

Todd informed Margaret about Merritt Folding bribing judges in a hilarious cold open where the two were at a spa together, complete with eye patches and hair wrapped in towels. Margaret told Todd that he cannot proceed with these serious allegations without proof. It turned out they were doing a demo at a cosmetic company called “La Brilliance” to see Reese Walters, dubbed “America’s Mom,” speak. She needed a new attorney for a case, which could bring significant money to the firm. The hilariously talented Robbins twins returned to the show and they were the ones that tipped Margaret off about Reese needing a lawyer.

Back at the office, Todd took Margaret to the empty 28th floor owned by the firm, where there were several signs with different named partners. The floor was receiving mail addressed to the Portland Philanthropic Society. Judy, who had been squatting there, told Margaret that she and Todd were dating. Todd was embarrassed and quickly rushed Margaret out. This scene showcased the immense growth Todd has undergone in two seasons. He started season 1 as a broken man, taken advantage of by his business partner, with his private investigator license revoked, no job, and living in his sister’s garage. Now, he had earned his PI license back, had his own place, and had goals for the future. It is almost ironic that he was embarrassed about dating someone like Judy when he was once like her. Susan pointed this out when he confided in her, remarking that Judy was just like Todd when they were dating. This was a perfect moment of reflection for both of them. Todd realized how judgmental he was being, and Susan recognized just how far Todd had come.

“The Tooth is Out There” – SO HELP ME TODD. Pictured: Heather Morris as Judy Maxon. Photo: Michael Courtney/CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Todd and Margaret returned to their office, where Francey informed them that everyone had taken a planned sick day. Margaret assigned Todd to work reception to fill in. Beverly was not impressed with how Margaret had handled the situation and told her that it’s over—the ship is going down. The accountant informed her they have enough money to survive the summer, and that’s it. Beverly apologized to Margaret for putting her in this position, explaining that she was testing her and it was made clear that she was aware of what’s happening with Folding. Todd realized that the 28th floor was a facade to maintain appearances. Folding was making it seem like a fake charity, the Portland Philanthropic Society, which was hidden behind a Mobile Dentist, offering free dental work to those in need.
 

Meanwhile, In a surprising yet hilarious turn of events, Allison asked Susan to serve Margaret with a subpoena. Allison was suing Margaret for using her as a medical expert without payment, demanding $87,000. Allison, still struggling to find stability in her life, used this as a way to assert power over her mother. The cancellation of the series hit Allison’s character the hardest. This was her season to hit rock bottom, and viewers will now miss the chance to see her rebuild her life, step out from her mother’s shadow, and blossom into her true self. At the end of the episode, she picked up a Private Investigator book she had gifted to Todd, which piqued her interest. Would her new life have included following in her brother’s footsteps? It would have been hilarious to see the two competing to be the best at it. Would Todd have been upset that his sister was overshadowing him, or would he have embraced it and worked with her? Viewers will never get the chance to find out.
 

As for the case, Margaret met with Eve from La Brilliance, initially assuming Eve was an executive seeking her legal services for the company. However, Eve revealed that she was actually a victim, desperate for Margaret to represent her in a lawsuit against La Brilliance. Eve, a widow with three children, begged Margaret to take her case, explaining that a benefactor was covering the retainer. Touched by Eve’s situation, Margaret agreed to help. Margaret then met the benefactor, a venture capitalist who exposed the abuses perpetrated by Reese against the staff at La Brilliance. The benefactor was part of a sisterhood of powerful women dedicated to supporting those without resources. She offered Margaret a place in their exclusive circle and their future business if she won the case. Meanwhile, Gus had been signed on as opposing counsel for La Brilliance. Despite anticipating some awkwardness, both agreed to play fair. Gus warned Margaret that La Brilliance would do everything to crush her, but Margaret was confident in her ability to win.
“The Tooth is Out There” – SO HELP ME TODD. Pictured: Skylar Astin as Todd Wright and Marcia Gay Harden as Margaret Wright. Photo: Michael Courtney/CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
 

At the same time, Lyle and Todd pretended to be a married couple at La Brilliance to gather intel on Reese, delivering a quintessentially hilarious Lyle and Todd moment. As the ultimate frenemies, their dynamic shone brilliantly in this scene. Mistaken for “manscara” models, hilarity ensued when Lyle applied mascara, prompting Reese to want him as the cover boy.

 

The show also cleverly involved Margaret in Todd’s schemes. Margaret drove the getaway car for Todd and Lyle, but afraid of being recognized, she wore a mask from Todd’s bag of props. When Todd returned and saw his mother in an old hockey mask reminiscent of Friday the 13th, he screamed, a moment that surely had viewers laughing at the sight of the typically composed Margaret embracing the absurdity with her son.
 

The mother-son hilarity continued on their drive back to the office when they spotted the mobile dentist on the road. Todd and Margaret scoped him out, with Todd instructing Margaret to use the improv rule of “yes, and.” The dentist offered free exams, revealing he was funded by an unknown benefactor. The van was rundown, unlike the image on the Portland Philanthropic Society website. The so-called dentist admitted he flunked out of dental school while examining Todd’s teeth, repeatedly asking if he wanted procedures like fillings or root canals. Margaret, following Todd’s “yes, and” instruction, played along, resulting in a tense moment as it seemed Todd was about to undergo botched dental surgery. He finally managed to escape the shady van, much to the relief and amusement of viewers.

After some sleuthing, Lyle discovered that the dentist was funded by the Portland Philanthropic Society, with the money originating from a Swiss bank account. Crooks donate, Meritt Folding pays off the judge, and it was all concealed under the guise of the fake charity, International Mouths of Joy. Lyle received an encrypted photo of the man behind the sham charity. With this evidence in hand, they just needed to wait for the picture to decrypt.

“The Tooth is Out There” – SO HELP ME TODD. Pictured: Skylar Astin as Todd Wright, Tristen J. Winger as Lyle and Heather Morris as Judy Maxon. Photo: Michael Courtney/CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

One of the most heartbreaking scenes of the episode was when Francey informed Margaret that she had been offered a new job, one that tripled her salary and included six weeks of paid vacation. Margaret, desperate to keep Francey, disparaged the new firm and made promises she knew she couldn’t fulfill due to their current financial situation. The real heartbreaker came when Francey revealed that the new firm would only hire her if she was fired from Crest, Folding, and Wright, thereby releasing her from her contract. When Margaret refused, Francey, who had suppressed her feelings for so long, finally let it all out. Rosa Arredondo delivered an outstanding performance, capturing every nuance of Francey’s emotions. Francey had been Margaret’s steadfast supporter from the beginning, yet recently, Margaret had taken her for granted, failing to show the appreciation she deserved. When Francey finally expressed her feelings, Margaret conceded and fired her. It was undoubtedly tough for Margaret to hear, but every word Francey said was true.

As Margaret’s case unfolded, Harry informed Margaret he had crucial information for her case, but Gus warned her that discussing it with Harry would be unethical and could jeopardize the entire case. Despite Gus’s warning, Harry persistently texted Margaret, insisting he could help. She eventually met him in a parking garage where he presented a confidential document, but she refused to accept it. As she drove off, Harry shouted “Grenfell syndrome.”

 

Desperate, Margaret begged Allison for help in understanding Grenfell syndrome, trying to strike a deal, but Allison wanted her day in court. Eventually, Allison revealed that Grenfell syndrome affects people recovering from serious burns, requiring endless surgeries at great expense. This led Margaret to realize that a woman named Diana, who worked for Reese, had been severely burned and was hidden in Cape Verde, her identity erased from the records. In court, Margaret called a current La Brilliance employee who confirmed everything, allowing Margaret to win her case.

“The Tooth is Out There” – SO HELP ME TODD. Pictured: Mark Moses as Harry and Marcia Gay Harden as Margaret Wright. Photo: Michael Courtney/CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Gus saw Harry give Margaret a thumbs up, realizing she had spoken to Harry despite his warnings. This breach of ethics strained Gus’s trust in Margaret, making him question what else she might do to win a case or save the firm. Margaret and Gus had been building a strong relationship, but this incident undoubtedly put a strain on it—a storyline viewers will unfortunately never see resolved.

After her win, Margaret was elated, thrilled that she had single-handedly saved the firm, blissfully unaware of the collateral damage she had caused. She eagerly called Francey, hoping to bring her back now that she had won the case. At the same time, she promoted Susan to senior associate, just as Susan was about to accept an offer from another firm.

 

Margaret then excitedly told Todd about saving the firm, only for Todd to reveal the decrypted photo, which shockingly showed Margaret herself. It turned out that the owner of the fake charity upstairs was Margaret. All the checks she had been signing were funneled into the criminal enterprise. She realized that former firm partner Song didn’t embezzle funds; Folding had used him to continue his fraudulent scheme. By making Margaret a named partner, Folding set her up to take the fall if things went wrong. As Margaret was overwhelmed with shock and rage, Merritt Folding appeared at the firm for the first time in public. The viewers only saw his legs before the screen went black.
 

The ending left so many unanswered questions. How would Todd have revealed to Ariel that Folding was the broker without incriminating his mother? Were Susan and Francey really going to leave the firm? How would things change between Gus and Margaret now that he saw what she was capable of? Todd finally decided to give Judy a chance—would that relationship have lasted? And what did that mean for his connection with Susan?
 

Sadly, unless another network steps in to save the show, our questions will remain unanswered. Hopefully, a network executive will recognize what a fantastic show this is and give it the second chance it deserves. There are still so many stories to be told, and things were just getting started. Fortunately, creator Scott Prendergast, has been gradually revealing his grand plans for the characters, offering some closure. For now, that will have to suffice.

“So Help Me Todd” may be gone from the airwaves, but it certainly left a lasting impression. It reminded us that TV can be both entertaining and heartwarming, and that sometimes, what viewers really want is a show that makes them feel good. Here’s hoping that networks take note of the audience’s voice and bring back more shows that capture the magic and authenticity that “So Help Me Todd” so effortlessly delivered. Well, Toddies, for the last time, I would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below or engage with me on X at @middleofcanada. Farewell, So Help Me Todd, you were one of the good ones.

CRISTINA ALMEIDA
Cristina manages the site and reviews several shows. She is an Elementary
School Counsellor by day and avid TV buff by night. True Crime, thrillers,
dramas and dramedy’s are her favourite genres. When she is not at work or
managing SpoilerTV, she loves spending time with her two dogs, a Chihuahua
Pug mix named Holly and Terrier mix named Penny. She also loves Travelling
to visit family.

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