May 20, 2016

SHOWBUZZDAILY Season Finale Review: “The Catch”


After three sets of series creators and two pilots, THE CATCH certainly zeroed in on its inspirations:  To Catch A Thief plus The Thomas Crown Affair, with a touch of Soderbergh’s version of Ocean’s ElevenThe Catch longs for fizzy romantic intrigue, with light (but opulent) crime stirred alongside flirtatious banter between glamorous people, against a visual background of split screens and elegant wipes.

Imitation fizz, though, isn’t really fizz at all, and The Catch remains almost totally earthbound.  The problem starts at the top.  Mireille Enos, as private investigator Alice Vaughn, and Peter Krause, as the lover who conned her, whose name may or may not be Ben Jones, are both skilled performers, and it’s fun to see Enos play a role that’s the polar opposite of her gritty, haunted detective on The Killing, and to watch Parenthood‘s concerned dad Krause as a smoothie.  But this story requires overwhelming chemistry between its leads, because most of the plot turns only make sense if we believe that these intelligent people would do idiotic things due to their uncontrollable feelings for each other.  Enos and Krause come across more as collegial than crazy in love.

Showrunner Allan Heinberg, who came aboard after the less ritzy first pilot, also lowered the emotional stakes.  The original story had Alice as a forensic accountant whose company was looted by her fraudulent fiancee Ben, and who furiously wanted revenge, but in the revamped Catch, Alice almost immediately reclaimed all that money back, leaving only her pride hurt.  This made sense in the abstract because this version of the show was designed to put the two leads back into each others’ arms, but it all made Alice a much mushier character than she’d been before, and Ben a toothless one.  Heinberg also hasn’t managed to do much with Alice’s colleagues at her now-PI firm, despite throwing Rose Rollins’ Valerie and Elvy Yost’s Sophie some B stories.  When we learned about Ben’s criminal partners, they turned out to be archly British, in the persons of Sonya Walger (Margot, the only character with any edge), John Simm (her brother Rhys) and Lesley Nicol (their mother Sybil), and even though they occasionally killed people, none of them was particularly menacing.

Tonight’s 2-hour season finale, written by Heinberg and directed by Rob Greenlea (Hour 1) and Kevin Dowling (Hour 2), had all the double-crosses one would expect from a piece in this genre, and more comedy (Ben and Rhys had to impersonate gay wedding planners) than was strictly necessary, as Sybil, despite having absolutely no reason to trust Ben, used him as her point person to rob her LA counterpart, and Margot schemed against everyone.  Mostly, though, it endorsed Ben and Alice’s great love, which culminated with him walking away from an escape to a tropical island without US extradition laws, and instead freeing Alice from Margot’s frame-up by confessing that he had actually stolen the multi-million dollar painting on Alice’s bedroom wall.

It was all so cuddly as to be dreary (there was romance for Valerie and Sophie, too).  The Catch hasn’t done well in the ratings, and if it didn’t hail from the Land of Shonda (she’s an uber-producer here, not one of the show’s creators), it might well have been canceled–as it is, it’s being held for midseason.  By then, Heinberg or whoever takes the next shot at the material will need to apply some heat to this luke-warm would-be souffle.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."