THE CATCH: Thursday 10PM on ABC
THE CATCH may have set a record for the number of times a series can be rebooted by the launch of its 2d season, yet it remains stubbornly lite rather than airy, ShondaLand’s little red choo-choo that has never quite made its way up the hill.
Showrunner Allan Heinberg’s Season 2 reshufflings include the removal of Jacky Ido’s Interpol/FBI agent character from the regular cast, the promotion of gangster Rhys Griffiths (John Simm) to series regular, and the introduction of two major recurring guest stars: ShondaLand veteran T.R. Knight as Tommy Vaughn, irresponsible brother of our heroine Alice (Mireille Enos), and ex-Suits star (and possible lead of a Suits spinoff) Gina Torres as FBI agent Justine Diaz, a key player in one of Season 2’s new developments: con man Ben Jones’s (Peter Krause) shift to undercover Fed con man.
The season premiere, written by Heinberg and directed by Rob Bowman, devotes much of its time to an overly-complicated set-up to that move, which gets Ben out of the federal charges he was facing at the end of Season 1, and allows him to continue his romance with Alice. However, the British crime family that had embroiled Ben in Season 1 isn’t going anyplace . As noted, Rhys is now a regular and sort of Ben’s side-kick, and Rhys’s sister Margot Bishop (Sonya Walger), who now runs the family business, has hired Alice to track down a mysterious foe by the end of the hour. Meanwhile, Tommy carries his own storyline, having returned to Alice’s life because he’s somehow been made the beneficiary of a $3M bank account. He also brings the promise of a romantic triangle with Alice’s junior associates Danny (Jay Hayden) and Sophie (Elvy Yost).
There is, in short, a lot going on; if only any of it were particularly interesting. This new incarnation of The Catch has the same problems as the earlier versions. Enos and Krause, perfectly charming leads, lack the kind of passionate chemistry that the show requires, conveying a romance that feels more like the bond between a suburban couple with kids in middle school than a passionate, daring liaison. The plotting mistakes familiar twists for complexity, and the dialogue isn’t nearly as sharp as it needs to be. Despite all the work that’s been done, The Catch remains a weak link in the ABC/ShondaLand Thursday line-up, although certainly superior to its network competition Training Day and The Blacklist: Redemption. With those kind of low-key adversaries (and ABC’s many other problems), it’s not impossible to imagine The Catch surviving yet again–in which case, it will be back to the drawing board one more time. Perhaps around Season 5, the pieces will finally fit.