Is it possible to love someone and not trust them at the same time? What if both scenarios are possible when that person has been proven to protect and deceive you at the same time? What happens when a relationship has reached the point of no return? Is revenge the only option? That’s part of the premise behind ABC’s new show “The Catch,” which had one woman at the top of her professional game to only be toppled by the person closest to her. Can she recover from the betrayal? That remains to be seen.
“The Catch” followed Alice Vaughan (Mireille Enos) who was considered a top corporate private investigator at Anderson/Vaughan Investigations in Los Angeles that no one wanted to cross on any given day for fear of her wrath. Unfortunately, she ended up being betrayed the one person she thought she could trust: her fiance. Alice thought that she had what she wanted in running a successful private investigating firm with her partner Valerie Anderson (Rose Rollins) who took care most of the day-to-day business while Alice was doing most of the field work. She realized that she might be able to have it when she met Christopher Hall (Peter Krause) who came to the firm as a potential client, but he backed out of doing business with them after developing an interest in Alice. After a year or so of dating, the couple became engaged and Alice is shelling out the bulk of her life savings to buy a new house with her future husband. Within a 24 hour period, Christopher is gone and so is Alice’s money. She also finds out that he was also the bad guy that she was chasing: Mr. X, a corporate con man always one step ahead of them for good reason. He had insider information from Alice that he used to take her company’s client list as well. Christopher’s disappearance revealed that he was an international con man being hunted by FBI Agent Jules Dao (Jacky Ido) who has been chasing him all over Europe for years. Dao even left Interpol to join the FBI to catch him, but he decided to seek Alice’s help in catching her wayside former fiance. Unfortunately, they don’t even known where to look for Christopher, better known by his true name Benjamin Jones. Ben is a man of way believable disguises who blend in just about anywhere and make even the most cynical trust him, but he made a huge mistake with this con. He fell in love with his mark: Alice, which could prove to be a deadly mistake if his partner Margot Bishop (Sonya Walger) found out. She was fond of Ben and would be unwilling to let him go professionally and personally. All of Margot and Ben’s crimes were of the multi-million dollar variety, which made breaking up the business impossible. Ben’s fellow partner Reggie (Alimi Ballard) might have to be tasked with an assignment too bloody for Ben to handle if the truth about his feelings for Alice became known. Will Ben be able to keep his secret or will his emotions get him caught instead?
In terms of questions, the biggest one remained whether the show had the makings of being another Shondaland staple on ABC’s Thursday night line-up because the show’s tone is a lot lighter than Shonda Rhimes’ other shows. Ultimately, the show’s somewhat comedic tone could help it stand out in the long run because viewers will sometimes need a distraction from the usually murder oriented shows that plague the airwaves. The series premiere also gave the show a potential vibe that it could turn into one of those “cat and mouse” plots where the two leads dance around each other; legally and literally, for the bulk of the season. Sure, the premise has been done before to a point on the big and small screens, but the show has come at the right time just as the weather is starting to warm up. It fits right in for the moment, but if the show were to move to the fall that would be a risky proposition. The network would be better leaving it in the spring and summer months. The series premiere gave the possibility that it could turn into a televised version of “The Thomas Crown Affair,” but let’s hope that the show’s resolution for the leads won’t be as clear cut for a while to give some element of surprise. Unfortunately, the show has got to work on finding a way to better tie in the weekly routine cases with Alice’s weekly chase of Ben. The first episode’s case involved a painting being stolen that somehow tied into Alice’s personal life perfectly. A little storyline improvements here and there could make that work easily enough. The show also needs to work on making viewers see why Alice was able to fall for Ben and still avoid the signs that he was conning her. Some perfectly timed flashbacks could do the trick. The supporting cast also needs some time to be fleshed out on both sides of the law. Alice’s firm employees and Ben’s con artist partners need to serve more of a perfect than providing background fodder for the main story. Let’s hope that happens as the season progresses. Only time will tell if that’s the case.
As for breakout performances, Enos, Krause and Walger led the pack as their very different characters proved to be the driving force behind the series premiere. Enos’ Alice was in a similiar tone of her character from “The Killing,” except she wasn’t plagued by sadness and was able to have a sense of humor in even the darkest of times. She appeared to happy for the change of pace and tone from her previous show’s overtly murky setting. It was nice to see Enos’ Alice crack a smile, even if it was for a brief moment. She had a believable rapport with Rollins and Krause that helped to showcase Alice at her strongest and her weakest at the same time. Enos’ strongest scene came early in the premiere when she found out that her fiance had conned her. The look of shock on her face as she walked through his empty office explained everything she felt without her having to fully convey it. Krause, on the other hand, was the biggest surprise because he usually played roles where he was the more straightlaced one of the cast. This time around he played a man who was significantly more complicated than his usual roles. He presented Ben as the perfect man, until he had got what he wanted from a mark. After his goal was accomplished, he would disappear without a trace. Krause showcased Ben’s vulnerability in an early scene in the premiere when he begged Alice to run away with him because he wasn’t eager to con her at all. Their relationship became real to him, even when it entirely wasn’t based on the truth. Walger’s Margot wasn’t in the premiere much, but she could prove to be a potential foil in the Alice/Ben romance. Her few scenes showed that Margot had no scruples and could be trouble for Alice down the line. It also helped that Krause had a rapport with both Enos and Walger that could prove to be tricky down the line. It should be interesting nonetheless.
“The Catch” premiered on March 24th and airs Thursdays at 10:00 pm on ABC.
Verdict: Enos and Krause have a breezy chemistry that helps to propel the show, but the cat and mouse story between them could have the potential to run stale if the writers aren’t careful.
TV Score: 3 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)