The Catch (Sky Living) owes much to the shamelessly glorious Pierce Brosnan / Rene Russo reworking of The Thomas Crown Affair , a sophisticated game of cat and mouse played out in black tie and silk dresses to the backdrop of lavish art galleries and beach side cocktail parties.
Like Hustle, no-one ever gets hurt in the con. Even the biggest mark of them all – private investigator Alice Vaughn – who fell for “Christopher Hall” and planned a wedding with the man who disappeared once she outlived her usefulness – appears to bounce back remarkably quickly from the devastation. Presumably there’s a refund on the dress.
Despite his cruel deception, Hall, really Benjamin Jones, is no heartless rogue, we’re assured. Yes, he led a woman (almost) to the altar so he could access her database and hollow out her business but he still has lingering feelings and regrets – so that’s an equivalence then.
Quickly, for the avoidance of messy emotions that might clog the slick mechanics of this fast-paced series, Alice is over her heartbreak, past her denial and grief and her cynicism and straight to the meat of the story – a succession of sexy set-piece games between Alice and elusive Ben in which their hearts are chess pieces, moved across the board to gain a tiny victory, all set to an urban Sunday morning soundtrack.
You’ll recognise Peter Krause (Benjamin) from Six Feet Under but Alice will take a while. Yes, it’s red-headed Mireille Enos from The Killing . In that she wore frowns and dowdy jumpers in the rain; here she wears slick trouser suits and an unrelenting smile in the sunshine, so that accounts for the mismatch.
The glossy, fast-paced dialogue, split screens, no fat plot, and the wronged but empowered woman are familiar motifs for they are the hallmarks of producer Shonda Rhimes who has been similarly lax with her moral judgments in series like Scandal where the bad guys are judged good guys based on the width of their smile and their facility for tears.
The Catch is flirtation as a long con – probably its most realistic incarnation.