Stay Tuned: ‘The Catch’ keeps its sense of fun in season 2
Season one of “The Catch” focused on private investigator Alice Vaughan (Mireille Enos) tracking down her fiancee Ben Jones (Peter Krause), who conned her out of millions of dollars and disappeared. At the end of the season, Alice caught her man or rather, he turned himself in to wipe the slate clean and win her back. With the chase over and Alice and Ben on the same side, the show had to rethink its storyline. The season 2 result is a romantic comedy with a dash of procedural -- think crazy capers instead of serious investigations. Thanks to a strong supporting cast, particularly John Simm and Sonya Walger, the tonal shift works.
When John Simm appeared last season as Rhys Griffiths, the money man behind Ben’s schemes, the show was instantly more fun. Rhys is mischievously dangerous and Simm keeps the character likable instead of unhinged, which also gives the show room not to take itself too seriously. Simm’s interactions with Krause give Krause a chance to play with his straight man character and their scenes are often funny, a credit to Simm’s charm and Krause’s sarcastic wit.
The other standout is Sonya Walger who plays Rhys’ sister Margot Bishop who is now in charge of their family’s crime business after unseating their mother by setting her up to be arrested. Where Rhys is all about dangerous antics, Margot is a formidable villain with a serious agenda. Yet Walger keeps the character appealing with a dark sense of humor. When the family syndicate comes under siege, Margot suspects her mother is behind it. Leaving to confront her in prison, she tells her lover that she is going to do what all girls dream of doing at one time or another: Kill her mother. It’s a line that could easily have gone wrong but with Walger’s delivery, it’s funny.
In the first season, the character of Ben was styled as a James Bond-type con man but Krause never quite fit that mold and the character suffered for it. This season, Ben is more of a skeptical participant in crazy schemes and Krause seems more comfortable. His chemistry with Enos is not on fire but it’s solid enough to make them an engaging pair. For her part, Enos is good as the stylish, smart and bold Alice, who like the other characters, is given more room to be less serious this season. The introduction of her brother played by T.R. Knight (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and a mysterious former fiancee opens the door to more backstory, which will give Alice needed layers.
Danny Yoon (Jay Hayden) and Sophie Novak (Elvy Yost), investigator and resident hacker at Alice and her partner Val’s (Rose Rollins) company, are still stuck in a will they or won’t they cliche that’s growing a little tired but they are likable enough.
Character driven plots are the show’s strongest element and if the series doesn’t let the caper aspect of the storyline get too farfetched, the change in tone toward romantic comedy and away from procedural should make for an entertaining sophomore season.
“The Catch” is on Thursdays at 10 p.m. EDT on ABC.
-- Melissa Crawley is the author of “Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television’s ‘The West Wing’” and the recently released “The American Television Critic.” She has a Ph.D. in media studies and is a member of the Television Critics Association. To comment on Stay Tuned, email her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @MelissaCrawley.