TV Review: ‘The Catch’

The Catch TV Review ABC
Courtesy of ABC

Having already undergone behind-the-scenes and cast changes, ABC’s “The Catch” arrives with something of a “troubled” label affixed to it. Yet the network’s latest drama to fall under the aegis of producer Shonda Rhimes mostly just feels tired, like a TNT caper show that futilely seeks to derive energy from visual gimmicks, like split screens and slo-mo. Based strictly on the premiere, the show is hardly a disaster, but nor does it offer much incentive to see what maze-like corners this cat-and-mouse game will explore.

For fans of “The Killing,” it is rather jarring at first to see Mireille Enos looking so glammed up, far from the drab, pained persona she sported throughout that series. Here, she’s the driving force in a high-class private investigation/security firm — think Olivia Pope, with better judo skills — that thwarts thieves and charlatans, and is currently on the tail of an unidentified con artist who has bedeviled the gumshoes with his elusiveness.

An elaborate sequence that uses Downtown L.A. as a backdrop sees Enos’ Alice Vaughan and her requisite crack team of colleagues try to set up their man, Ben (played by Peter Krause), only to have him cleverly avoid them. And lo and behold, when Alice gets home, who does she find in her shower but her fiancé, who happens to be — wait for it — Ben again.

Jennifer Schuur, who created the show before leaving last summer, still gets credit on a script directed by Julie Anne Robinson, and the pilot snips along briskly enough, exposing Ben’s scam in the opening hour. That doesn’t give Alice much time to get over her pain about being fooled and misled before she must seek to retaliate, setting up a chess match between two formidable adversaries, the wrinkle being that we have already seen them engage in the Shondaland-style, perfume-commercial version of hot sex.

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The main problem is that we’ve seen this movie many times before, down to the feds being on Ben’s tail and the suspicions harbored by his partners in crime Margot (Sonya Walker) and Reggie (Alimi Ballard), who can’t help but wonder if he became a bit too attached to Alice for his (and their) own good.

“Are you ready to play?” the promos ask, setting up what ABC clearly hopes will be a sexy, frothy addition to its Thursday lineup, one that can pick up where the fading “How to Get Away With Murder” left off.

Still, even with all those split screens, there’s seldom anything to see here that’s truly compelling, and ABC’s heavy reliance on replicating the Shondaland formula is making it feel, well, formulaic. As a consequence, despite the show’s modest charms, when faced with the more pressing question, “Are you eager to watch?,” the answer is one that “The Catch” pretty well fumbles.

TV Review: 'The Catch'

(Series; ABC, Thurs. March 24, 10 p.m.)

Production

Filmed in Los Angeles by Shondaland in association with ABC Studios.

Crew

Executive producers, Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Allan Heinberg, Julie Anne Robinson; co-executive producers, Sherry White, Kate Atkinson, Helen Gregory, Kevin Dowling; supervising producer, Scott Collins; producers, Joanne Toll, Oanh Ly; director, Robinson; writer, Jennifer Schuur; story by Atkinson, Gregory; camera, Jeffrey Jur; production designer, Jessica Kender; editor, Matt Ramsey; music, Chad Fischer; casting, Linda Lowy, John Brace, Jamie Castro. 60 MIN.

Cast

Mireille Enos, Peter Krause, Alimi Ballard, Jay Hayden, Jacky Ido, Rose Rollins, Sonya Walger, Elvy Yost

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  1. I tried to watch it. This one-note actress in the lead is what drags the whole thing down with her mousy “I think I’m about to cry” manner and perpetual skittishness like she’s about to be slapped. Her performance is a 180 from what they want you to believe about her character. And the troweled on make-up ages her badly. About as much as the 70s style of it.

  2. sasha gorochov says:

    Doesn’t matter if the show will go on or not, I am done watching it with this actress in lead role. She is really ugly – a specially her heavy eyes and teeth, it is really hard to watch her in general and Impossible to imagine to have romantic relations with smart and very charming men. This duo has zero chemistry. Older age is not a problem, she is just very hard on eyes and not attractive at all. I would continue to watch the show without her.

  3. Saeed Neerob says:

    Loved it! Dont know why it stopped! Only 10 episodes? How on earth that can be even possible? Is it break and strat soon? or is it wont be started?

  4. We completely enjoyed the season; watched it on Hulu. The bantering between the cast, the tongue in cheek, the suspense, the twists, the charming “bad boy.” It reminded us of NCIS in many ways.

  5. Jared Black says:

    I enjoyed the entire season of The Catch. But thanks anyway.

  6. I love this show — it’s clever, dynamic and really well cast. I couldn’t wait for each new episode. Can’t understand why the Variety critic gave it a lacklustre review. I give the critic’s review two thumbs down!

  7. Anne says:

    Thought id like it but i was soooo wrong its silly and manipulative

  8. Karen Gaston says:

    I think you’re missing the fact that the two top stars are dynamic together! I am over 70
    and can hardly wait to see them together
    each week. Peter’s facial expressions make me smile!!!

  9. The story lines are great and clever. I sit on the edge of my seat. There is something likable about each character even if they are killers, but Reese does not follow through with his personality, he was much more cold blooded and now soft? That was a bit confusing but I like him better with a soft spot. I agree that there was too much unnecessary sex. I didnt expect it and had to send my daughter out of the room. I do hope it continues, the last two shows were better without all the sex and more substance. I hear there will be a season 2. And btw the guy who said Mireille was too wrinkly and he would not watch it because of that well I am proud of channel 7 for choosing someone a little older , middle age women can be sexy, smart and savvy!

  10. Thurzday Next says:

    I don’t know what this reviewer is on about. I love the show. It’s slick, sexy, and mature. I love the diverse cast, and am assured of the quality of storytelling by the fact that Shonda Rhimes is attached to it. I still love and watch Grey’s Anatomy because the characters have evolved naturally. Ms. Rhimes knows what she’s doing and I’m onboard!

  11. Gggirl says:

    We Strongly DISAGREE!!! We LOVE ABC’s “The CATCH”!!! About 12 of us so far have formed a nite of watching the show!! We All agree we’re sick of the violence, the wolf & devil – worship & vampire CRAP! ABC has tried 2 previous shows w Peter Krause we LOVE Him & Miriel Enos’s Chemistry, the entire cast!!!!!

  12. Brandi says:

    I absolutely disagree. I’ve been captivated with this show at the onset & look forward to watching it each week.

  13. Aline Roberts says:

    The Catch should have reunited Mireille Enos with Joel Kinnaman!! He would have been fantastic as “Christopher/Ben”.

  14. Sapphrina de Felina says:

    I thoroughly enjoy this show as it reminds me of a bit of the Dirty Sexy Money that Peter Krause was in a few years ago…I like the cat and mouse AND the split screen camera directions of the show as well as ALL the cast members. I don’t have any bad things to say about this show except that I think that it should finish out the whole Season before they decide to cancel because of all these bad reviews from people. I think that there are a lot of other shows on TV right now that I don’t think should have gone past the first Season let alone a second or third, but I will be content with a FULL Season of this show!! Remember, this is an adult show with adult themes…

  15. concerned citizen says:

    I am very disappointed with ABC TV allowing a lesbian sexual encounter to occur on the Catch. I am not against people being gay or about supporting the rights of minorities. But I draw the line there. Showing sexual encounters of gay or straight is corrupting and confusing young people in our society. TV stations should not be able to exploit sex for ratings or profit, especially showing women or men having sex on public TV.

    When you look up the percentage of people in America that are gay, they represent only 4% of the population. To present this way of life as the norm gives children a confusing message. They have plenty of time to chose their sexuality when they get older.

    ABC TV is using political correctness to mask there true intention to sell air time to make profits.
    Gay people might think I am attacking them, but I believe blatant sexuality regardless about who it is
    with should not be permitted on TV period. Censures do your job and bring back stricter rules about what can be permitted to run on public television. You are allowing the fabric of our society to be destroyed over profiteering TV stations. There is no moral high ground. If you think there is you are delusional. This is a pure profit play on the part of TV.

    • Mabs says:

      “Concerned citizen” my ass. You sound like an outdated, antiquated elder of yesteryear who considers him/herself one of the “silent majortiy” (myth) who thinks everyone thinks like you and what you see in current events is simply a misguided tiny fraction of mainstream — you couldn’t be more delusional. And honey, I’m not a young whippersnapper…50-yr lady from Texas who’s been rolling her eyes at societal hangups since the ’70s. It’s time you grow up sweetheart.

    • Brandi says:

      Welcome to 2016. I hate to break it to you but this is what is normal in the world. Nothing against gay my ass – you are unequivocally homophobic

    • plzstopoldppl says:

      mmmm. seems a smudge homophobic. anywho, TV is supposed to be exciting and captivating. there are tons of ~milder~ things to watch OR even do in your case. if I were you I’d go back reading your bible and stay away from 20th century technology as it seems like it might offend you too harshly. ever consider butter churning?

    • Arthur says:

      Ditto – But, to be fare, ABC has already lost this battle. With Cable TV, plus all the sex our kids could ever want on the internet, I’m afraid ABC has to join or die. I hate it that we live in this kind of world, but the truth is -it is what it is… And for the major networks its no longer a mater of “should we allow this kind of TV to air”, but rather, “Are we too late” -Thanks for your post, if more of the 96, who are not guy, would stand-up and voice their opinions the other 4, who are guy, would lose this battle and we’d no longer see this on regular TV. But what has happened here is the 96 who aren’t has joined the 4 who are and our kids are the losers

  16. Violet Verly says:

    I will not watch this show for many reasons, but mostly because of the lead actress. She is very angular, her face is too wrinkly. There are so many beautiful actresses, why use someone that makes it hard work to watch? Also its time for ABC to move on from Shonda Rhimes, the only reason Gray’s Anatomy worked was because of the great lead actors, the rest of the shows bummed. How to get away with murder is extremely boring, I could not watch it after the first few episodes. Scandal started ok, but very soon became a gummy melancholy with murder here and there. This new show has no appeal and its just another sad excuse for TV drama.

    • Sandra A. says:

      Please re-cast Alice. I cannot watch another minute of her lack of chemistry with Peter Krause. She has such a menacing frown and is not playful or sexy. She’s trying too hard and I find it unentertaining to watch her. Not a good match for Peter. He is spot on and deserves a better match. The writing is all over the place too! This could be a terrific series with some major changes.

  17. Arthut Graham says:

    I have to agree with a lot that has been said thus far about ABC’s willingness to cancel a TV series just about the time that we are really getting into it, and are ready to tell all our friends. One such example was this headline “‘Pan Am’ Canceled: ABC Series Officially Grounded” -right when the show was sincerely getting good, and there has been many more like it since.
    I know that many of the fans from ‘The Killing’ is reluctant to get into ‘The Catch’ because they, like me, are afraid of waking up to a simulate headline. It’s much safer to wait and catch it on the net -after we have seen that the show has made it. But fan of Mireille Enos also know that if we don’t watch it that we are only increasing the chance of the show getting the foot, so what are we to do?
    It always takes three or four episodes of any new series for the viewers to become fans… Then it takes those same fan a while to begin letting their friends know how much they are enjoying watching it. But ABC, with its quickness to move a show to a new time slot, then kill it, hardly gives it the time needed. Come-on ABC, you have a winner with this leading actress if you will give her time.. So don’t do that to The Catch -don’t do it! Allow time for the critics to have to eat their words.

  18. SoCalGal says:

    We watched because this was offered in “Castle’s” slot for one week. Found there was little charm in the show, especially Peter Krause’s performance. He seemed aloof and not mysterious, but rather like the whole exercise pained him. This was no recreation of the chemistry between Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo in the remake of “The Thomas Crown Affair”. Not even close. Found it painful to watch after a time.

  19. singsongsoy says:

    Viewers seem to be tired of Shonda Rhimes formula soap-opera writing. They start off well then end up a mess i.e. Scandal. Until she can fix her broken shows, few are inclined to view any new ones.

  20. alyshia says:

    My only disappointment is in the hyper critical reviews.. Really enjoyed the first epi and the steamy sex scene ; )

  21. Sal alder says:

    The excellent actors just don’t seem appealing or challenging or interesting in these roles. Seems dull. And a few million dollars stolen from some corporations seems so minor compared to billions in corporate fraud or nuclear bombs threatening American cities. Fell asleep half way through.

  22. While the premise of the series is intriguing (unknown guy meets private detective and completely fools her). the second half of the first episode was completely silly. The guy dumped the detective just one day before he was going to commit the most important crime of his life. Why didn’t he wait for two more days, commit the crime, and then dump the gal? Generally the first episode of a series is supposed to be flawless; if this is an omen of what is to come, kiss this series goodbye.

  23. Karen Ward says:

    Not sure why critics are so quick to dismiss this show.. I love the “love of the counterpart” premise of the show .. The sound track is spot on and actors are having a good time and so am I !

  24. JJC says:

    This might be a really great show, but your “BACKGROUND” music is WAY TOO LOUD! Quiet it down or people I know and I won’t be watching any more episodes!

  25. GUSTAVO ALCALA says:

    MIRELLE ENOS AS ALICE RESEMBLES MEREDITH FROM GREYS ANATOMY AND ABBY FROM SCANDAL . ALICE IS AN OLIVIA POPE CLONE DOWN TO THE HYPER SPEECH /WALK AND WRITING CASES ON A GLASS WALL ALA SCANDAL. THIS SHOW IF SUCCESF
    UL WILL REPLACE THE FAMILY ON ABC SUNDAY. ABC WILL RENEW FOR FALL ITS A NO BRAINER SINCE ABC LOVES SHONDA RATINGS EVEN IF ITS A STINKEROO.

  26. C.perry says:

    Personally I stopped supporting SR she can’t stay consistent with substance, she has favorites she cater to and her writing of each show she’s done is like wash day repeats itself, too similar with different character names

  27. Henry Whitney says:

    We too were disappointed at the cancellation of KIngs and Prophets. We thought it had a “future”.

  28. Chad wright says:

    I knew there was a reason that I don’t watch abc! Can’t believe you greedy people pulled of kings and prophets after just TWO EPISODES!!!!!! IM VERY UPSET WITH THAT!!!!! Greed, not making enough money!! You already play to many commercial’s! There are people who want to learn about parts of the bible and this was a perfect show to let folks know about king David. Hope you loose many viewers over this. I know I’ll never watch abc again, that’s a fact!!!!!!!!!!

    • dee says:

      I agree! I have seen it time and time again by ABC to the point where I hesitate before watching a new show. I don’t want to become invested in it only to see ABC has cancelled it.

      Seriously, TWO episodes? Why not wait and allow people to do a binge day OR show each episode on an ABC sister channel a few days after it is shown on ABC.

      I’m sick of it.

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