The Catch: How is Shondaland’s Latest Creation?


I’m a total Kool-Aid drinker when it comes to the land of Shonda (whose logo is very appropriately an exciting roller coaster). I recently classified her book, The Year of Yes, as a must-read. That said, I wasn’t all that excited about her company’s new show, The Catch. The preview basically had the exact same storyboard as a perfume ad:

Tall, willowy white lady walks around in expensive dress.

Man in suit peeks at her from around a Grecian pole.

Lady walks mysteriously up stairs.

Man remains intrigued.

[Perfume name.] [The Catch.]

I decided to pass on the show until Hulu innocently popped it into my NEXT FOR BECKY queue the other day. Fast-forward to me completing the show in about 3 days. That was the fastest I’ve completed any Shonda Rhimes show. To be fair, I watched How to Get Away with Murder week-by-week and Grey’s Anatomy is mammothly long.

The Catch stars milquetoast yet elegant Mireille Enos, who is basically Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) aged like a fine wine and with ginger hair. There must be something about this archetype of super-skinny, J. Crew model ladies that appeals to Shonda Rhimes in particular, because I don’t think I’ve seen either of them in much else. (Shonda also talks about casting Ellen Pompeo in her book, so I know it was her!)

Blandness aside, it’s cool to see a protagonist who isn’t like 27 being the object of desire without it being constantly alluded to in the dialog.

The Catch centers on a private investigator (Alice), who has the perfect engagement. That is, until she finds out that her fiancé is Mr. X, the con artist she’s been chasing. But as we quickly learn, Alice is pretty funky, and she’s willing to take a walk on the wild side for him.

Her fiancé, Christopher, is played by Peter Krause, who I would describe as a Colin Firth-type who isn’t as socially crippled by his own crabbiness. They have legitimate chemistry, which is fun.

The Catch dispenses with a lot of the nitty gritty, unpleasantry of other P.I.-driven plot lines. This isn’t Jessica Jones, where characters have to drown their stab wounds in cheap whisky once they return to their ransacked apartments. This is the Apple version of a crime drama: clean, upbeat, and fairly conflict-free.

Just because there isn’t much actual conflict doesn’t mean there’s no DRAMA.  There’s jealousy, there’s misunderstandings about who is and is not gay, and there’s lots of fast-walking while talking (wouldn’t be a Shondaland production without it).

The office where Alice and her glamorous fellow investigators work is very hip. It looks like an ad agency where people drink rosé at 3 p.m. and there are free manicures. Their lives as P.I.s are also very comfortable. They find the occasional dead body, but they do it in designer shoes.

I’m not faulting The Catch for this level of clean bubbliness. It’s kind of what I need after a long day of reading the horribleness happening in the news. While it is easy breezy, the characters still have real depth and conflict, and I’m curious to learn more about them in season 2.

The finale of The Catch is a little preposterous. I found myself unable to understand why the characters are being so sloppy during a major con. It’s just confusing. That said, I’ll consider the finale an exception and not the rule.

For the most part, I enjoyed The Catch. This may be a case of low expectations being easily surpassed. I mean, it was more interesting than watching a 10-hour-long perfume ad. Let’s see if season 2 can improve upon a surprisingly good thing.