Tuesday, February 28, 2017

TV Tuesday: Sneaky Pete

Last summer, Amazon released a pilot for a new show, Sneaky Pete. My husband and I watched...and loved it! But then, there were no more episodes. We were thrilled to hear they finally posted more episodes in January and have been enjoying this unique show with a great cast, about a conman who steps into someone else's identity.

The first episode opens in prison, with a guy named Marius, played by Giovanni Ribisi (who will always be Pheobe's brother from Friends to me), getting really sick of listening to his cellmate, Pete, reminisce about his idyllic childhood on his grandparents' farm. Then, Marius realizes there is an opportunity here. He'll be getting out soon (and Pete is serving a long sentence), and he'll need a place to hide out from the gangsters that will come after him as soon as he's released. So, he changes tactics and encourages Pete to talk, describing the farmhouse, telling him all about each member of the family, and more. It seems that Pete's grandparents have a lot of money hidden in a safe in their bail bonds office, which could help Marius pay off his debt to the gangster and finally be free.

So, when Marius is released, he heads to Pete's grandparents' house and presents himself as Pete. Since they haven't seen Pete since he was 8 years old, they have no reason not to believe him. His grandfather, played by Peter Gerety, welcomes him home with open arms, while his grandmother, played by Margo Martindale, is a bit suspicious at first. His cousins - Julia, played by Marin Ireland, and Taylor, played by Shane McRae - have fond memories of playing with Pete as kids, so they are thrilled that he's back. Grandma and Julia even begin to teach the phony Pete the bail bonds business. Marius kind of likes being a part of this family.

Meanwhile, back in NYC, Marius' brother, Eddie, is in big trouble because the gangster Vince, played by Bryan Cranston, is using him as leverage to try to get the money that Marius owes him. Marius always protected his little brother growing up, so he's frantic to pay Vince off and keep his brother safe. However, his scheme to get at Grandma & Grandpa's money runs into a few snags.

With each episode, Marius gets deeper into his role as Pete, with plenty of close calls and being constantly worried that someone will figure things out, particularly his teenage cousin, Carly, who is quite sneaky herself. Meanwhile, he's trying to get at that money and keep tabs on Eddie. Oh, and he - Marius, not Pete - is supposed to be checking in with his parole officer in NYC regularly (played hilariously as a positive-thinking zealot by Malcolm-Jamal Warner). To keep things interesting, it turns out that Pete's family has some secrets of their own.

We are really enjoying this show. The cast is superb, the writing is excellent, and the twisty plot is very, very clever. It's always fun when you, as the audience, knows more than the characters in the midst of the story. It is suspenseful and action-packed and will keep you guessing, but it is also full of warmth and humor. There are 11 episodes so far in this season, and I see that IMDb already has a season 2 listed for 2018.

Since this is an Amazon Original series, it is available only on Amazon Prime (link below).



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