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John Hanlon Reviews

TV Reviews

Take Two

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Castle‘s executive producer David Amann has returned to the airwaves with another crime show revolving around an unlikely partnership. Take Two, which feels like a sister show of Castle, stars Rachel Bilson and Eddie Cibrian.

Rachel Bilson stars as Sam Swift, an actress whose television program has shot her to superstardom. Her outlandish behavior, however, has sent her to rehab. She needs to recover her image.

Sam believes her next role could do that. She’ll be playing a private investigator so in a bid to gain some insight into the role, she teams up with private detective Eddie Valetik (Eddie Cibrian), a former police officer who operates his own struggling business.

The first episode focuses on this new partnership, a partnership that Eddie inevitably resists until he can’t say no anymore. While Eddie is detached and methodical, Sam is charismatic and impetuous.

The first episode feels rushed as the duo work on solving the case of a missing teenager. The teenager, a recently-relocated Midwestern girl, suddenly disappeared from her new apartment. Sam enthusiastically embraces the case. On television, she played a tagline-spouting police officer so she thinks she’s well-suited for the case. Of course, Eddie knows that police work is different than how it’s portrayed on television.

The set-up is formulaic and the pilot episode’s simplistic dialogue never really stands out.

However, the show’s second episode hints at a more promising future for the duo. In the episode (which was also provided for review), the duo’s chemistry becomes more pronounced. Bilson, who rose to fame as Summer on The O.C., makes this show her own imbuing her character with an upbeat charm that continually annoys Eddie.

It also helps that the second episode rounds out the cast more, introducing Alice Lee as Sam’s assistant Monica. With Monica working alongside Eddie’s assistant Roberto (Xavier de Guzman), the show seems to be finding its footing with a solid cast.

As a summer show, Take Two feels superficial but also reliable. It settles into its routine smoothly, setting up a few nice dynamics to play with. One only wishes that the writers strived to do more with the premise. If the cases continue to offer interesting twists (as both of the first episodes do), the program could establish itself as a solid ABC drama.

It helps that Bilson brings a joyful exuberance to the character. Sam may be a celebrity but she’s always there talking to different people and making choices that Eddie would never consider. The show also contains an uplifting message showing Sam on a road to recovery and it finds her finding personal redemption in helping people.

As the show continues, one hopes that her character will continue to mature and with it, the show itself could develop into something more.

Review by: John Hanlon

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