One of fall 2015’s network premieres, this show captured my fancy because of its leading lady. Charity Wakefield is a familiar face whose talents I first saw in the ITV miniseries Sense and Sensibility. Being the period drama aficionado that I am, and of course, a TV show nut, I did want to discover what The Player was all about.
The Player, the Complete Series (2015) NBC TV Review
Since he left the United States military, Alex Kane (Philip Winchester) lives a quieter life. He now works private security for the Vegas elite, and is trying to figure out a complicated relationship with his ex-wife, Ginny (Daisy Betts). Still in love, Alex and Ginny agree to work on their relationship because, though the law says differently, they don’t want to not be together. Then on the same night, armed men break into Ginny’s home.
This results in the death of Ginny, and Alex accused of murdering an assailant.
Bailed out of jail by a mysterious and powerful man who calls himself Mr. Johnson (Wesley Snipes), Alex finds himself recruited into a game of cat and mouse. He’s handpicked as the new “Player” in a high stakes game that involves betting on the lives of people. Outraged, Alex refuses to go along until he learns that Mr. Johnson knows something about Ginny. With the resources of “The House” (a massive computer system) and its engineer, Cassandra (Wakefield) at his disposal, Alex engages in a dangerous game of life and death.
TV shows seem to come as quickly as they disappear from our screens. This sleek, slick NBC serial falls into the same trap. Cashing in its chips at a mere 9 episodes (cut from a normal order of thirteen), this was over before it could shine. The principal and cutting-edge storytelling is definitely here, it just didn’t appeal to a large enough audience to ensure its survival. Flaws and all, I thought this was a dynamic little show that was as intriguing as it is compelling. Both feelings tie into Alex’s journey in discovering the secrets of his wife’s checkered past.
TV SHOW REVIEW | The Blacklist, Season One (2014)
Apart from his “day job,” Alex’s side project revolves around uncovering the circumstances of his wife’s death. He’s blinded by love for her which is what makes his quest to uncover the secret (saying more than this wanders into spoiler territory) poignant. But then, I realize I’m biased since I like this actor. A fan of his I became when seeing him on another short-lived series, Crusoe and later in a miniseries. Also, adding to the stylish atmosphere of this one is Charity’s presence. Her Cassandra is not only another complex puzzle with a mysterious past, but she also has a killer wardrobe. Also appearing recurring among the cast as familiar faces are Nick Wechsler (Revenge), and familiar TV actress KaDee Strickland.
Another reason this appeals is its executive producers, who also have The Blacklist credit to their name. Something I suspect show runners were hoping would have scored them some points. As I said, I thought this one was interesting. From the first episode in which the story pulls us into a curious web of potential to the final episode there is something about The Player that I like. Unfortunately, the TV powers that be weren’t primed to give this a second deal because audience numbers remained unimpressed. As a result, many a question goes unanswered. Still, if you don’t mind this, and want something with no long-term strings attached, this is a fun show to binge watch over a long weekend.
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CONTENT: There is 2-3 implied sex scenes in the series. One shows a couple undressed sitting under a mound of blankets talking. Various minor profanities may be scattered about (my memory is a bit hazy there), and of course, there is violence. The range includes everything from heavy weaponry to brutal hand-to-hand combat. The show is TV14.