The Haves And Have Nots Review: “The Criminal” – Tyler Perry and Oprah can’t save this show

Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots is a new television drama from the prolific writer, director and producer Tyler Perry. The show follows the complicated dynamic between the rich and powerful Cryer family and the hired help who work in their opulent Savannah, Georgia mansion.


I’m going to put Tyler Perry’s Have and Have Nots on the Own Network on my prayer list. Last night’s episode “The Criminal” has to be the worst written worst acted, worst directed dramatic piece I have seen since the Easter Pageant at Greater Jerusalem Rising Mt Zion Baptist Church. They had an excuse — they were amateurs & only had 2 rehearsals. Come on now, Oprah & Tyler, PLEASE. I love you both; I never tell anyone how to spend money but if you put a little money and just plain ole effort in this show it has at least the potential to be good. I was hoping that this collaboration would bring back the glory days of intelligent quality entertainment such as Living Single, Martin and The Wire.

I guess if O was going to bring that reality ratchedness with Shawty somebody and his 20 baby mamas to the small screen I guess they say “anything goes.” But It makes absolutely no sense to have veteran actresses like Crystal Fox (In the Heat of the Night) and Angela Robinson and the beautiful Tikka Sumpter wasted in this… I don’t even know what to call it. Who is the show runner? Are they blind to the fact that the rape scene with Amanda Cryer was so long drawn out and poorly written at the end there was no sympathy for the victim whatsoever? The teacher’s monologue about bringing the entire faculty to service was just pathetic. I’m saying what rock was this teacher under that doesn’t know this is Judge Cryer’s daughter and he is running for governor and don’t mess with this dumb…okay let me stop. But please somebody in Harpo Production gives Jaclyn Betham (Amanda Cryer) some acting lessons; she says her lines like she is reading a first grade book. Look, Candace, Look, Look …Look…look. I guess I was enjoying the prior episodes because I was too distracted looking at hotties Aaron O’Connell (Wyatt Cryer), Gavin Houston (Jeffrey Harrington) and Tyler Lepley (Benny Young). Many of my friends say they do not like Candace (Tikka Sumpter) because she makes black women look bad.

My theory is everyone knows some straight up gangster chicks of all races just like Candace that manipulate every situation to their advantage. I’m definitely there for it. I actually love Candace and Veronica but their characters must be developed more. The most developed character on the entire show is Hanna Young and her son Benny. Their scenes are realistic and remind me of some of my conversations with my own son. Now I’m going step off my soapbox and do the recap.


Amanda comes home crying to Candace because she has failed yet another exam. She will be kicked out of school unless she passes. Candace comforts her and encourages her to use her God given feminine talents. Candace tells her to dress sexy with some lipstick and high heels and asks the professor if she can retake the exam.

Back at the Cryer house an irate Celine confronts a surprised Hanna about Kathryn Cryer making Hanna the household chief of staff. She then accuses her of sleeping with Jim and states “Jim doesn’t like black women.” (Ha! little does she know). Celine then threatens to tell everyone that Candace is Hanna’s daughter and to be even extra messy taunts Hanna that her kids have 2 different fathers. However Hanna doesn’t know that Celine had slept with Jim a long time ago and basically told Celine that she was tripping.

Meanwhile, Jim and Candace get it on again. Side note: even though Jim (John Schneider) & Candace (Tika Sumpter) have great chemistry, we always meet them before or after sex, which is interesting. I think the show runner is afraid to show intimacy between them because although he is quite handsome he looks WAY older than her. I don’t think they have even had a passionate kissing scene. Anyway, Jim is softening toward Candace and she promises to pay him back the $100,000. I want to know why that even would come out of Candace’s mouth. Why would she pay him back? Because she loves him? Um, no. I want Candace’s identity to be more defined. Allow her to be the sexy beautiful manipulative monster she is with no apologies. Benny borrows Candace’s new car to pick up Darci, a church girl his mom introduced him to, when he is stopped by the police. They accuse him of speeding and search his car where they find 2 kilos of cocaine hidden under the seat. The coke was planted by David Harrington with help of a crooked police detective to set up Candace.

Amanda follow’s Candace advice and wears her seductive clothes and flirts with Professor Cannon and he agrees to a allow her to make up an exam and she passes. Later on, Professor Cannon shows up at Amanda’s apartment and informs her that she had missed a section on the exam. She ask when she can take it and he tells her she doesn’t have to take it but has to give it… as in Up. Then he proceeds to rape her. Afterwards she is lying in bed in a catatonic stupor. Professor Canon tells her if she wants to pass all her classes he has an entire staff or horny professors she can service. Because she is one of the dumbest students he has ever had, the only way she will pass the bar is on her back. He is just as stupid as she is. It seems that if he is a law professor he would know that Amanda’s father is the most powerful Judge in the city. DUH.


Good zingers throughout this episode but hot beefcake guys and clever zingers cannot replace good writing.

The Have and Have Nots airs on the Own Network on Tuesdays at 9/8c.

Photo Courtesy: OWN Network

Written by Denise Walker. 

About Jordan Hickman

When I was in high school, I was watching The X Files in the closet of our basement when I was supposed to be sleeping. My dad caught me and he laughed at me. It was then I knew TV would quickly become an obsession of mine. TV is in a golden era right now, and I'm so thrilled to be along for the ride. I started this website because writing is also a passion of mine and I wanted to combine the two. I'm also a wife and mom, which means I'm not always timely in getting reviews in.

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