Crime shows ‘Company You Keep’, ‘Will Trent’, ‘Alert’ reviewed

Crime pays, if you’re network television, and especially if you’re network television, where dealing with bad guys has a long and rich history and continues to have a dominant presence. On a basic level, NBC is like “Law & Order” and whatever else Dick Wolf has going on, and CBS is just “NCIS” and a bunch of sitcoms.

There is, among these shows, an inevitable embrace of the obvious, given how many thousands—hundreds of thousands—of hours such stories have logged over the years. Many lack “seriousness”, even when dealing with serious matters, a weightlessness that helps make them noteworthy week after week. Issues are resolved over the course of an episode, even when longer arcs are attached; it’s character and not cliffhangers that draw you back. Life is messy, they say, but it mostly works out – except for the body in the library, of course.

The winter season has added some new false crime stories to the broadcast catalogue, pushing some of the same buttons – action, suspense, romance (which is also suspense) and sitcom – with varying degrees of weight, in different aesthetic tastes. Each has its charm, its tacky premise, its attractive TV-sized cast.

In the likeable “The Company You Keep,” an action-romance premiering Sunday on ABC and developed by Julia Cohen of the Korean series “My Fellow Citizens!”, Milo Ventimiglia plays Charlie Nicoletti, a con man from a family of con men. One night in the bar of a great hotel, he meets Emma Hill (Catherine Haena Kim), whose politically high-ranking family has no idea that she works for the CIA – and neither will Charlie in the two episodes be out for review. (She also won’t know his line of work, except for the true fact that he owns a bar.) Each is at an emotional low point: Charlie and his family have just been ripped off by his girlfriend, who ran off with the 10 million the dollars Nicolettis wove out of a pack of Irish gangsters, and Emma has discovered that her boyfriend is cheating on her.

But as expected, they spark something in each other, share trust. She tells him that she has defined herself in opposition to her family (even though, at 35, she has just moved back in with them); he tells her that he is defined by his. He is basically working class, with only a high school diploma; she’s upper crust, with a degree from Stanford. But they both favor the Stones over the Beatles. And inevitably they move from the bar to the bedroom and, through the montage’s services, into a relationship.

Charlie and Emma are both very good at what they do, and while you might think, having seen this type of setup before, that Charlie and his relatives would be enlisted, or blackmailed, by Emma to use their powers for Well, that hasn’t happened yet. Although the tracks they’re on will cross once a season, at the moment it’s a cat-and-mouse game neither of them realize they’re playing.

Ramón Rodríguez stars in ABC’s latest police procedural, “Will Trent.”

(Danny Delgado/ABC)

At the same time, and as in most shows where criminals act as heroes, Nicolettis’ victims are worse criminals or just worse people – sociopathic, violent or just plain entitled. (You can’t cheat an honest man, says the philosopher.) Besides, the family—Sarah Wayne Callies is Charlie’s older sister and Polly Draper and William Fichtner are his parents—was about to give it all up, and that’s just what their latest caper has gone wrong that keeps them reluctantly in the game. (The Irish mobsters want their money back and they’re not kidding; Felisha Terrell plays their icy representative.)

Airing since January (and also streaming on Hulu), ABC’s delightful “Will Trent,” adapted by Liz Heldens and Daniel T. Thomsen from the novels by Karin Slaughter, stars Ramón Rodríguez as the anonymous agent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Will is out of school for eccentric detectives, with a complicated background, having grown up in the foster care system and with a case of dyslexia that has rendered him functionally illiterate—but given him compensating super-perceptive powers. He can read a crime scene as you read this sentence.

On top of his lone-wolf tendencies—he doesn’t want another chair in his office because someone might come in and sit on it—he’s also persona non grata among the Atlanta police for his part in bringing down some corrupt officers, including the mother of new partner Faith (Iantha Richardson). Meanwhile, he is in a long-term on-and-off relationship with homicide detective Angie (Erika Christensen), whom he has known since they were in the same group home. Angie is also in a troubled recent partnership, with Mike (Jake McLaughlin), a married detective with whom she once had a drunken one-night stand; now she is on the mend and serious about it.

As Will, who is compulsively tied to three-piece suits, Rodríguez is elegantly deadpan but not humorless — in fact, it’s a fundamentally funny show that moves to dark places — and while he’s literally buttoned up, he finds room to relax of, with Christensen, who is particularly soulful, and Betty, who is a chihuahua.

Also airing since January (and available to stream on Hulu as well) is Fox’s “Alert: Missing Persons Unit,” whose colon-spliced ​​title echoes the “CSI:” and “NCIS:” franchises, as well as “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” A fairly straightforward procedural, with a more than usual emphasis on the domestic relationships and entanglements of its detective heroes, it’s at once the most conventional and the strangest of these shows. Created by John Eisendrath and Jamie Foxx and set in the titular missing persons squad of the Philadelphia PD, the series stars Scott Caan as Jason, formerly married to and working again with Nikki (Dania Ramirez), who is now involved with fellow detective Mike ( Ryan Broussard).

A man at a computer while two people stand behind him

Dania Ramirez, Scott Caan and guest star Petey Gibson in Fox’s police procedural “Alert: Missing Persons Unit.”

(Philippe Bosse)

Jason and Nikki’s marriage broke up after their son was taken years before, but now Keith (Graham Verchere) has returned, just as mysteriously as he disappeared – or is it Keith? Daughter Sidney (Fivel Stewart) isn’t so sure, and we’re given reason to believe her. With Keith’s apparent return, Jason temporarily moves back in with Nikki (the ex-spouses are friendly and, as is so often the case with TV cops, the house is big), which makes Mike jealous, however much Nikki is. assuring him that there is nothing to worry about, or that they dip into a storage room for a quick workplace sexual interlude. Still, guys, you know – they can be competitive.

The family at work notably includes Adeola Rolle as Kemi, whose amazing command of computers either contrasts or complements her nonchalant retelling of past lives and the various spiritual practices, including egg-and-lime-and-candle rituals, she inflicts on worried parents and spouses. It’s an odd concept, but Role, who has screen presence to spare, manages to sell it.

The challenge of the show is to entertain a variety of reasons why a person might disappear – and nothing as simple as a kidnapping for ransom, a runaway or a child taken by a divorced spouse. And then the emphasis is on complicated schemes and psychoses. (Real-world nods include a Jeffrey Epstein-type if name-dropping Elon Musk certifies him as a creep.) Most episodes largely involve ticking suspense and guns-blazing action, with the occasional ethical or professional debate among our differently-tempered heroes.

While series like this are smaller than what you’ll find on premium platforms, and if you don’t ask them to be different than they are, can enjoy a bit of silliness and tolerate a plot hole or two, they’ll fill an hour, and possibly many weeks of them, pretty good.

‘The company you keep’

Where: ABC

When: 22.00 Sunday

Streaming: Hulu

Rating: TV-14 (may not be suitable for children under 14)

“Will Trent”

Where: ABC

When: 22.00 Tuesday

Streaming: Hulu

Rating: TV-14 (may not be suitable for children under 14)

‘Alert: Missing Persons Unit’

Where: Fox

When: 21.00 Monday

Streaming: Hulu

Rating: TV-14 (may not be suitable for children under 14)

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