Alice Vaughan (The Catch)

Created by Allan Heinberg, Jennifer Schuur & Helen Gregory
Based on a treatment by Kate Atkinson

So there was this TV show, The Catch (not to be confused with a failed 2005 pilot of the same title), executive produced by TV miracle worker Shonda Rhimes (which seems to be her only contribution to the project). But, given the dearth of decent P.I. shows at the time (2016), I felt obliged to check it out and, well, I’m almost embarrassed to admit, but I (almost) got hooked.

This honey trap of a show followed the adventures of ALICE VAUGHAN, a Los Angeles P.I. specializing in forensic accounting, who seems to have it all: a to-die-for apartment with closets full of fabulous clothes, her own fabulous upscale Los Angeles detective agency (Anderson-Vaughan Investigations) with “the best client list in town,” $1.4 million in savings, a large coterie of sexy, attractive and fabulous friends, business partners and employees, plus a rich and an occasional steamy (for network television) romp with suitably studly and fabulous fiancé, Christopher Hall (Peter Krause).

Life is good.

No wonder Alice is smiling all the time. In fact, everyone in the show seems to be smiling all the time — it’s annoying. And a little creepy, giving off a sort of Jonestown vibe, like the entire cast has been doused with Joker gas.

That is, until Alice discovers (in the very first episode) that darling Christopher, her hunky hubby-to-be, has been running a long con for over a year, and has bilked her out of her life savings. And that’s just part of the scam–he also plans blackmail her wealthiest clients with the information he’s accessed from her agency’s files.

Which causes everyone to frown, at least for a while. And then Alice and her crew roll up their designer sleeves and launch themselves into battle to track down Christopher and protect the agency’s clients.

The catch is that both Alice and Christopher still have feelings for each other. And so the game of cat-and-mouse begins…

Whether it would be enough to sustain the show remained to be seen.

It certainly looked slick and stylish, like a gang-bang version of The Thomas Crown Affair, and the premise was sound, although a little far-fetched. We’re supposed to believe a super-smart hot shot genius investigator can be totally taken in, for months and months, without any alarm bells ringing? And that none of her hot shot investigators, each of whom is supposedly also brilliant, noticed anything hinky either?

Hell, at one point, Christopher evades Alice’s entire crew of big-brained associates, including Alice, by… walking by them with a hat and sunglasses on. In broad daylight. Clark Kent would be proud.

It’s all essentially fluff wrapped in meringue–a lot of shiny happy people looking shiny and happy while doing nasty things to each other. While wearing wonderful clothes.

I watched faithfully, hoping the soap opera conniptions would settle down, and we’d have some genuine human reactions, but no, it was twist after twist after twist, each more outlandish than the last, without the plot ever actually going anywhere. Or at least far enough to matter.

The show was based on a treatment by novelist Kate Atkinson (creator of the decidedly most down-to-earth Jackson Brodie), and the initial script was written by original showrunner Jennifer Schuur (who left before the show ever aired, citing “creative differences”). Atkinson is one of the executive producers (so far), so I figured there might be some good stuff yet to come.

Certainly, Rhimes’ track record for generating frothy hits (Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Getting Away with Murder, etc.) suggests The Chase might be with us for years to come, but I wouldn’t be counting on it to deliver much more than a mild-mannered (but nice looking) fantasy.

UPDATE: Well, what do I know? The show was renewed for a second season, although so far I’ve had absolutely no desire to watch it.

UNDER OATH

  • “Somehow they even have bad guys who look like underwear models.”
    Robert W. Anderson, IMDB

TELEVISION

  • THE CATCH
    (2016, ABC)
    Series
    23 60-minute episodes
    Premiere: March 24, 2016
    Created by Allan Heinberg, Jennifer Schuur, Helen Gregory
    Based on a treatment by Kate Atkinson
    Writers: Kate Atkinson, Helen Gregory, Allan Heinberg, Jennifer Schuur, Ameni Rozsa, Danny Tolli, Lyndsey Beaulieu, Jim Campolongo, Jon Dorsey, Gregory Goetz, Oanh Ly, Sherry White, David Hemingson, Rina Mimoun, Alexander Newman-Wise, Morgan Pollitt
    Directors: John Scott, Rob Greenlea, Jann Turner, Kevin Dowling, Bill D’Elia, Regina King, Mike Listo, Julie Anne Robinson, John Terlesky, Rob Bowman, Allison Liddi-Brown, Sharat Raju, Steve Robin, Nzingha Stewart
    Production company: Shondaland
    Starring Mirielle Enos as ALICE VAUGHAN
    with Peter Krause as Christopher Hall/Benjamin Jones
    Sonya Walger as Margot Bishop
    Jacky Ido as Special Agent Jules Dao
    Rose Rollins as Valerie Anderson
    Alimi Ballard as Reginald Lennox III
    Jay Hayden as Danny Yoon
    and Elvy Yost as Sophie Novak

    • SEASON ONE  Buy on DVD | Watch it now!
    • “Pilot” (March 24, 2016)
    • “The Real Killer” (March 31, 2016)
    • “The Trial” (April 7, 2016)
    • “The Princess and the I.P.” (April 14, 2016)
    • “The Lar·gan Gambit” (April 21, 2016)
    • “The Benefactor” (April 28, 2016)
    • “The Ringer” (May 5, 2016)
    • “The Package” (May 12, 2016)
    • “The Happy Couple” (May 19, 2016)
    • “The Wedding” (May 197, 2016)
    • SEASON TWO | Watch it now!
    • “The New Deal” (March 9, 2017)
    • “The Hammer” (March 16, 2017)
    • “The Dining Hall” (March 23, 2017)
    • “The Family Way” (March 30, 2017)
    • “The Bad Girl” (April 6, 2017)
    • “The Hard Drive” (April 13, 2017)
    • “The Birthday Party” (April 20, 2017)
    • “The Knock-Off” (April 27, 2017)
    • “The Cleaner” (May 4, 2017)
    • “The Mockingbird” (May 11, 2017)
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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