For those of us who have been, uh, equivocal about recent seasons of Scandal, The Catch so far has been a breath of fresh Shonda air: Cases of the Week rather than tedious season-long arcs about B-613; dialogue instead of monologues. The Case in this second episode, ‘The Real Killer’, could hardly be said to be making TV history, mind you: a good-looking younger man, Jeffrey Bloom, is acquitted on a technicality of the murder of Edith, his rich and much older wife. He thus inherits her $40m estate, which he can share with his new wife Rebecca, a journalist who met and fell in love with him while he was in prison awaiting trial. Jeffrey maintains that he’s innocent, and asks Alice’s company to clear his name, which leads them to Edith’s embittered son Peyton, whose alibi for the night of the murder turns out to be shaky.
Not in any way an original set-up, but I found myself pointing the finger at each of the suspects in turn as the story unfolded. It could be said that the episode 1 themes were hammered home with little subtlety, but there was nonetheless a fair amount of enjoyment to be had in watching the rhythms of a successful con – getting the mark to think that s/he is coming up with the ideas that the conman/woman has successfully introduced. For Alice it’s personal, in the way that just about any case would be personal at the moment: she needs to prove herself after being the victim last week; in addition, there’s no chance of missing the heavy-handed way Alice is compared to this week’s victims, also duped by someone they loved.
Meantime, Ben and his colleagues have started work on the deception of a Saudi princess. Interestingly, it feels to me as if the other team members are better-defined at the moment than the elusive Ben, although he’s had more screen-time: Reggie, recognising the dangers that Ben’s love for Alice have introduced; and Margot, who I would not allow to give me a wet shave were I having evident difficulty tearing myself away from another woman. Brrr. It may, of course, also be that Peter Krause isn’t quite right for the part. I’m not sure yet.
Anyway, my verdict of last week still stands. I’m not going to claim that this is great TV, and it isn’t going to change your life. But it’s early days, the supporting cast on both sides has promise – I’d like to know what Dao’s deal is as well – and it’s fun. Also, Mireille Enos gets to wear some great clothes, in particular that 60s mini dress.