Written by Jihan Dempster
There’s a new installment to the series of primetime hits that contribute to the Thursday night fire that is Shondaland. Alice Vaughan (Mireille Enos) is a badass private investigator for the LAPD who takes pride conniving criminals into their demise. The pilot opens with a flirtatious Alice making her rounds through an art gala, connecting with her first victim. She takes him to a room where she introduces him to a private piece, bamboozling him into thinking he’s a special guest. As she leaves him to his destruction, it’s a spectacle when she takes him down and rescues the artwork he so slyly figured he could heist from the event. At that moment, we are introduced to the type of superwoman Alice will be for this series.
The relationships between characters are lighthearted and funny. Alice’s private investigator team is witty and close knit. They are just as excited about her upcoming wedding as she is and assist in all of the preparations as if they were family. Benjamin (Peter Krause), who she knows as Christopher, her successful and equally charming fiancé is just as successful and this match seems like it was made in attractive heaven. With the triumphs in Alice’s career, we would assume this would be the icing on the cake to her perfect life until we learn that her husband-to-be is conning her right behind her back. With a quick departure from the beginning of their lives together, he breaks the news to Alice that he wants to run away with her. When Alice doesn’t oblige, she returns home to a house full of empty closets and a disconnected phone of her lover. $1.4 million dollars in savings is gone, erased with every trace of Benjamin.
Retracing her steps, Alice quickly realizes Benjamin was conning her from the day they met. According to her memory, con men request nothing from their pawns and give and give and give. Her close colleague Valerie (Rose Rollins) reminds her that the only thing Benjamin asked of Valerie was her hand in marriage. This seems like an ample argument to Benjamin’s awkward request for Valerie to elope. It makes it seem like he truly did fall in love with her. This could be foreshadowing a conflict of interest in his disappearance. These often dazed and distraught looks from Benjamin reveal that maybe there is deeper involvement romantically toward her than just being another pawn in his game.
As the episode progresses, the day to day of a private investigator is revealed and we see Alice’s dissent into treating Benjamin as another one of her culprits. We see their feelings get wound between business and romance as they fight with missing each other and trying to complete both of their jobs.
Shonda Rhimes is notorious for breaking boundaries with African American female roles in her shows, but The Catch trumps the stereotypes of Shonda only being able to cater to one demographic. Like in Grey’s Anatomy, Rhimes intertwines actors of all races within the plot.
Overall this is great pilot episode. We often deal with heavier material within ABC’s TGIT set, and so for the latest show in the series of Thursday night Shondaland, the lighthearted script does us well. The cast is sexy and they efficiently mix angst within romance and angst within being the best federal team well. I am curious to see the scene progression and how Enos is able to play cat and mouse with Alice and Benjamin. It definitely has me interested in watching again and seeing the growth of the plot. There’s just enough spice for one episode without getting too dramatic or too vague to lose your interest.