Mireille Enos cleans up nicely as the sleek star of ABC’s new thriller, “The Catch.”
She’s traded in her soggy Pacific Northwest look from “The Killing” in favor of the killer dazzle of a Los Angeles private detective whose specialty is catching high-stakes con artists.
Premiering Thursday, the series began life as a drama about a forensic accountant. Better heads prevailed, including producer Shonda Rhimes and creators Jennifer Schuur and Helen Gregory, who gave Alice Vaughan (Enos) and the script a sassy makeover.
Vaughan is good at her job because she knows that it takes a con to catch a con, and she can con with the best of them – albeit on the right side of the law.
She not only has a great job, but a great personal life. Alice and Ben Jones (Peter Krause) look like a walking magazine cover when they’re together and she’s trying on wedding dresses.
And then, it all falls apart when Ben completely vanishes from her life. In less than a day, every trace of him is missing from her apartment. His office is entirely empty. She can’t raise him on his cell phone and it’s as though he never existed, because, in a way, he never did. Ben turns out to be master con artist who has disappeared with all of Alice’s money. He has other secrets as well – so many, in fact, that we aren’t even sure if he’s a complete cad or may have a streak of authenticity.
For a moment, Alice is thrown off her game, but as she gets back on track with her career, she’s determined to track Ben down and get her money back. Hell, it turns out, hath no fury like a woman conned, so it’s a matter of professional pride for Alice.
The pilot episode is fast-paced and gleaming, a kind of “To Catch a Thief” for the 21st century. Enos is terrific, managing the seeming impossible: to go from adoring fiancee to avenging private-eye angel in a flash. She’s well partnered with Krause, who is an entirely convincing liar when Ben and Alice are still together, and equally credible when his ruse is revealed.
The show moves so fast, you may not realize its logical flaw until after the episode ends. At that point, it may occur to you that if Alice is so great in her job, why wouldn’t she have had even the slightest doubt about Kieran’s identity before he took her for a ride? Love is blind? That worked in the 1940s and in “Catfish,” but it’s a little hard to swallow when the mark is supposed to be exceptionally gifted at sniffing out con artists.
In the end, it probably won’t matter. Alice is going to get her man – we’re sure of that. The fun isn’t in “The Catch” – it’s in the chase.
“The Catch” airs at 10 p.m. Thursday on ABC.