TV Review: ‘Rogue’

TV Review: 'Rogue'

Rogue” is an unfortunately distinctive name for such a me-too crime series — one that mistakes nudity, violence and profanity for edge and daring. DirecTV has cut its teeth with shrewd acquisitions — including the final season of “Damages” and “Hit & Miss” — but this original effort to play in the pay-cable game skews toward the ho-hum, guy-oriented offerings on Cinemax, without quite the unabashed sleaze factor. While that might be a way to further bond the satcaster to male subscribers, there’s nothing remotely rogue about it; more like just following the crowd.

Thandie Newton lends some star power to the proceedings as Grace Travis, introduced in the chaotic, disjointed two-hour premiere as an undercover cop who has won the trust of a ruthless mob boss, Jimmy Laszlo (Marton Csokas). When a deal goes wrong, though, her young son becomes collateral damage, driving a wedge between the cop, her husband (Kavan Smith) and daughter.

Hell-bent on some mix of justice and revenge, Grace continues to play a dangerous game by seeking to stay in the mob’s orbit to unearth the killer, along the way discovering both the good and bad guys have potential moles within their organizations, to be filed under “Hard to find good help these days,” and “Hey, who doesn’t have headaches?”

Created by Matthew Parkhill, “Rogue” employs six casting directors in three locales and still comes up with a rather indifferent bunch of regulars beyond Newton, who is the latest in a line of TV detectives with impossibly good cheekbones.

Other than having a black woman as the protagonist, though, this feels like any number of similar movies and series, where cops must decide how far they’ll go (do cocaine? Shoot a guy the boss has tied up?) to protect their cover and get the job done. More fundamentally, the show’s naughty bits feel particularly gratuitous. So if a scumbag cop is going to have a confidential informant, she might as well have sex with him and walk into rooms naked. Think of it as more bang for the buck.

The disappointing part of “Rogue” is that DirecTV had exhibited some taste and desire to play in the big leagues via its acquisitions, only to fall back on a tired mob premise.

Granted, the metrics used to measure success for these exercises defy simple ratings, as distributors provide original content in part to solidify their hold on subscribers.

Still, with the bar set so high in the premium space, it’s less clear whether mediocre programs yield such benefits. Although Sarah Palin helped place the term “Going Rogue” in the political lexicon, after spending a few hours with this working mom, “Skipping Rogue” might be the preferred option.


(Series; Audience, Wed. April 3, 9 p.m.)

Cast: Thandie Newton, Marton Csokas, Ian Tracey, Joshua Sasse, Ian Hart, Kavan Smith, Matthew Beard, Claudia Ferri.

Filmed in Vancouver by Entertainment One and Green Room Entertainment. Executive producers, Nick Hamm, John Morayniss, Michael Rosenberg, Steven Marrs, Chris Long, Patty Ishimoto; co-executive producers, Robert Petrovicz, Isibeal Ballance; supervising producer, Matthew Parkhill; directors, Brian Kirk, David Frazee; writers, Parkhill, Jesse McKeown; camera, Kieran McGuigan; production designer, Ricardo Spinace; editors, Alex Mackie, Andrew John McClelland; music, Jeff Toyne; casting, Corinne Clark, Jennifer Page, Kelly Valentine Hendry, Victor Jenkins, Libby Goldstein, Junie Lowry Johnson. 120 MIN.

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  1. Oneofone says:

    You have zero credibility. Thandie Newton is not American. Idiot.

  2. benjitek says:

    One of the worst shows I’ve ever suffered through on television. Though it might get better, but could only last halfway through the 3rd episode. I’d rather listen to fingernails scraping on a chalkboard ;-)

  3. Carlos San Christobel says:

    I love you Matt Parkhill. Your show, so real … so vital … men telling men, shouting at them, that this is the way it is going to be! and women, so many beautiful women, women who rip their shirts off at the slightest provocation. I am Guatemalan. I come from a small Guatemalan farming village where we live for these kind of shows.

  4. G Denike says:

    What’s interesting and not been flagged is that on IMDB (pro), only two writers are listed. My guess is that they had seven writers in the room. It’s worse with directors. Only one director is listed. Where are the rest? Even the director who shot the pilot is not listed. His name is Brian Kirk, but he is not listed — or has chosen not to be listed. What is going on? Would it have to do with the reviews? Did the production company blame the creatives? Or is are the creatives hoping to dodge the bullets?

  5. Tom says:

    It’s hard to say if the character is sympathetic or not. There was a lot of shouting, that’s for sure. a lot of swearing, too. i think they were going more for searing swearwords, shouted, really belted out …

  6. Frank says:

    Please, this is an awful human being and totally unsympathetic.

  7. jeff says:

    I think your being nice, this show is laughable. “Maybe if we said the f-word one more time?”. Sooo bad.

  8. Andy says:

    (Oops – that’s Thandie Newton. Curse you, auto-correct)

  9. Andy says:

    Point of order: Thandie Newtis NOT an African-American!

  10. Eliza says:

    Wow. We see the same show? Was layered, nicely shot, true performances … Cop show people will love it. Sorry you’re not one.

  11. jkinla says:

    I also disagree. I saw the Hollywood premiere and thought the show was solid and found myself eager to see the next episode.

  12. roy says:

    I disagree! I thought it was pretty slick with a great cast and it left me eager to see what happens next. Are you feeling a little jaded maybe?

    • Bob.B says:

      I watched it last night in Hollywood. Guys may love Tandie because she is hot, but I think women will love the show for her character too. I’m in for the season.

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