The best moments in The Catch, Shonda Rhimes’ midseason stand-in for How To Get Away With Murder’s “TGIT” time slot, are the ones in which my TV lover Peter Krause registers the briefest flickers of… something. Love? Regret? Gratitude for being so convincingly sexy no matter the role? Whatever. It works for him, and maybe I’m a sucker but these flickers — which might just be eye ticks thanks to his con man character’s vast palette of colored contracts — could be enough to keep me tuning in. How long can this “cat and mouse” thing really last, anyway? Six episodes, maybe nine? I can’t be that busy. The Catch is set firmly in Shondaland, a magical realm full of alluring, defiant women and the tragic men who love them. There’s a love triangle already, and two opposing, exceedingly well-dressed workforces fighting for…they don’t even know what anymore. Money, they guess. Purpose? Ha. Money? Love? We’re not totally sure what the workforces are up to as they operate outside the law, but the less we know about all that the better, as it tends to detract from the fashion. In The Catch, the work is not the point; the look and feel are the points. I want the Mireille Enos/Peter Krause relationship — sure, he swindles away her life savings and swanky client list, but their gazes of longing are so intense! — to be the point. What I’m saying is there’s no need to pace this thing out with a dreaded case of the week. I want the only case of all the weeks to be this: Are these two people chasing away love or running towards it? Enos kicks off the premiere by seducing some art thief in a barely recognizable sweet yet husky voice (Meredith Grey enhanced for auto-tune?) and I’m immediately drawn in. Whoever this lady is, I want her hair, wardrobe, and energy — all a far cry from Enos’ role as Sarah Linden on The Killing. But as the hour goes on, I don’t really understand her character, ace private investigator Alice Vaughan. Is she serious or breezy? What kind of dummy would hand a check for $1.4 million to a single human being? And if she’s so good at her job, how is she able to trust anyone? Why did she not collect any intel on her fiancé of a whole year? The guy never showed his face in photos! That’s not even allowed through security, let alone in life!
Krause’s character is a bit easier to buy. I believe that he’s a big swinging dick going through a midlife crisis as soon as he sets off his Lamborghini’s alarm to distract any looky-loos on his way to collect a flash drive in a public square — the dulcet tones of Pitbull’s “Fireball” ramping up in the background. I believe he actually loves Alice and is torn between two lives: his con man alter-ego Christopher Hall and whoever the guy underneath is. “Ben,” apparently. We could have a real Dick Whitman/Don Draper situation on our hands (SACRILEGE), but I somehow doubt the show will go there. I wish they would. These are two great actors with so much “dark undercurrent” potential, so I think that’s where I’m disappointed so far. I love how slick the show looks, but the lightness of it all is unsettling. As of now, I’m in it for the modern art porn, showers, and cake. Anyone else?