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Conman Marius is sick to death of hearing about his cellmate Pete’s life growing up on a farm with his grandparents who he hasn’t seen for over 20 years. Thankfully, Marius doesn’t need to listen much longer as he’s about to be released from prison whilst Pete still has to serve a further two years for his failed robbery. After speaking to his brother on the phone, Marius realises’s that those he conned, prior to being sent down, are still after him and they want their $100,000 back. Unable to return to the city without looking over his shoulder, Marius decides to do what he does best and takes his wealth of information about Pete’s life and turns up at Pete’s grandparents’ farm posing as Pete. He thinks he’s onto a winning streak as he quizzes them about their ‘bond’ business that Pete often talked about but is dismayed when it turns out the family business is bail bonds, a business which they’re only just surviving in. Marius finds himself dragged further into Pete’s family when he takes on a job at the bail bonds and helps out Pete’s cousin Julia to track Abraham Persikof who’s been done for tax evasion. However, as Marius discovers, Persikof is more than just a tax evader, he’s a powerful criminal known to Marius and so he must tread the fine line between helping Julia to catch Persikof without being spotted by the crook whilst maintaining his cover as Pete.
The pilot for SNEAKY PETE is an entertaining drama which sees a con artist use his criminal skills to not only embed himself within a family, but also to catch other criminals for the good of his new ‘family’s’ bail bond business. Though it’s debatable how long Marius can keep up the charade, he seems to be settling into his new home with Pete’s grandparents with a family unit that care, something he never had as a child. Working alongside Pete’s cousin Julia sees him discovering more than he anticipated about Pete’s family and their financial hardship and for once it seems like Marius actually cares about someone else other than himself as he appears to soften towards the family. A couple of exchanged glances between Marius and Julia also point to a potential romance down the line, though for Julia it would be wrong (though not illegal) liking her ‘cousin’ except Marius is not her cousin Pete. It’ll be interesting to see how these various threads unfold down the line.
Throughout the entire episode, all I could think of was Bryan Cranston once mentioning his nickname when he was younger was Sneaky Pete. So imagine my suprise and delight when Mr Cranston appears as a rich businessman who Marius has robbed. Trust me, this is not a guy you want to mess with! It turns out Cranston co-wrote the pilot and proposed series and also serves as Executive Producer.
I thoroughly enjoyed the pilot. It had a fine mixture of humour, action and suspense with Giovanni Ribisi leading the way as the likable conman Marius. When we first meet him, he’s a cocky know-it-all who excels in his chosen profession but as the episode unfolds, we see a softer, gentler side to Marius and a hint at what he experienced growing up which lead him to the path he finds himself on now.
SNEAKY PETE has the potential to be an energetic slice of entertainment, providing that blend of crime, drama and comedy that’s missing from our screens. I sincerely hope a full series gets green-lit off the back of the pilot as I look forward to discovering how long Marius can con Pete’s family for and what adventures he may find himself involved in working on the right side of the law with the bail bond company.