October 15, 2017

SHOWBUZZDAILY Season Premiere Review: “Good Behavior”



As TNT continues with its scorched-earth policy of shedding its old-guard mainstream successes (Rizzoli & Isles, Major Crimes) for the more adult, serialized dramas favored by network head Kevin Reilly, pressure is increased on those new shows to perform–not necessarily in the traditional metrics, but with younger viewers and platforms.  GOOD BEHAVIOR wasn’t much of a hit in its first season, but it’s the kind of show TNT wants to be doing, so it has changed very little for Season 2.

Good Behavior is once again an oddball mix of steamy romance, black comedy, domestic satire and strong violence, centered around the unlikely couple of con woman Lettie (Downton Abbey‘s Michelle Dockery) and hit man Javier (Juan Diego Botto).  Both want some form of respectability, but are also drawn to the dark side.  Season 1 was dominated by Lettie’s desperate crusade to win back custody of her son Jacob (Nyles Julian Steele) by having her criminal record cleansed, something she accomplished by selling out Javier to FBI Agent Lashever (the always welcome Ann Dowd), after which she helped him escape.  Notwithstanding her betrayal, and Javier’s knowledge that she did it, the season ended with Lettie, Javier and Jacob on the road together, a very deconstructed version of a family.

The Season 2 premiere, written by series co-creator Chad Hodge and directed by Mikkel Norgaard, found the trio in residence at a beachfront community, where Lettie tried to have Jacob admitted to an elite local private school, with the help of a neighbor (guest star Laura Bell Bundy) who was less ordinary than she seemed.  Despite the trappings of normalcy, Lettie was stealing everything from local stores that wasn’t nailed down, and Javier was fulfilling an old murder commitment–until it turned out that his supposed victim was another hit man hired to kill him.  The violent death of a trusted partner confirmed that someone had a serious desire to see Javier ended, even as Lashever was teaming with Lettie’s extremely accommodating parole officer Christian (Terry Kinney) to track both of them down.

Nothing in the premiere suggested that Hodge had cracked the code on how to make the various pieces of Good Behavior fit together, but the show remains an agreeable hour.  That’s largely because of the skewed chemistry of Dockery and Botto, enriched this season by the not-so-dumb Jacob’s prying into their weird shared life.  At this point, the series isn’t generating much in the way of suspense, and the central relationship tends to repeat the same beats each week, as both Lettie and Javier express outrage at the other’s latest betrayal.  Nevertheless, they’re fun to watch, and the advantage of the show’s near-random mix of tones is that it doesn’t get boring.  Good Behavior seems unlikely to make a leap in popularity this season, but it remains firmly not bad.

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."