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Series Premiere Preview: ABC’s Red Widow [VIDEO] 

Photo credit: ABC/Sergei Bachalov
Photo Credit: ABC/Sergei Bachalov

Warning: This is a preview review with some plot spoilers.

Y’all already know we’re serious in our affection for Hell on WheelsAnson Mount, so his inclusion in the cast list for ABC’s midseason replacement, Red Widow, got our attention. I’m happy to tell you it’s a great companion for Revenge, which it will follow starting next week. Tonight, it premieres in Revenge‘s slot at 9 pm/8 c.

It’s based on a successful Dutch TV show and follows Marta Walraven, the elder daughter of the Petrovs, a Russian immigrant crime family, who has roped her husband into the family business. Her brother tries to expand that business beyond pot to cocaine by ripping off another distributor and then her husband is shot dead in their driveway. (This is not a spoiler given the title of the show and ALL of the previews). She’s left to pick up the pieces and either dive headlong into crime or get the hell out with her family.

The pilot establishes the who’s who in a long list of players in the Petrov family, and the casting is A+ across the board. Aside from a ne’er do well brother, Irwin (Wil Traval), we have a newlywed sister, Kat (Jaime Ray Newman), a crime boss father, Andrei (Rade Serbedzija) with a very young girlfriend, a mother who’s still pissed off about the divorce, and close friends and business partners who are now suspects.

The opposing crime boss, Schiller, from whom the cocaine theft sets the pilot in motion, is ER‘s Goran Visnjic. My first impression is that he isn’t all that, but the talk around him is that he’s the biggest of the big bads and even his name makes folks twitch, so we’ll see how that plays.

In her first U.S. series role, Radha Mitchell plays Marta and the pilot puts her through her paces. She’s happily married, loves her husband, worries about her kids, and tries to keep the peace in her extended family so they can get through a wedding. Aside from her brother’s boneheaded move, the other thing that sets the pilot in motion is her youngest son’s decision to take dad’s gun to school.

The school intervenes ahead of the cops so that the family isn’t investigated, but it puts enough of a scare into Marta that she gives her husband, Evan (Mount), an ultimatum that they have to get out of the business. He doesn’t tell her what her brother’s done to escalate things but he seems to agree.

After the wedding, he tells her yes but also explains that getting out means getting all the way out–leaving their home and her family and taking their kids and going. She thinks on that for a minute and decides it’s worth it and says yes and they seal the deal in a rather smoking fashion. The bliss is short-lived when Evan is killed the next morning.

Things spiral from there when then Feds arrive and tell her Evan was on the edge of a deal with them. She has to wrap her head around what that meant and whether it’s true and how to course correct. So she does the only thing she can–she faces Schiller and he makes her a very interesting offer that kicks off the first season.

We don’t have a whole lot of Mount in the pilot, but I’m hopeful we’ll get flashbacks. We do see him once more after Evan dies, when Evan leaves a video for Marta.

The show is set in San Francisco but filmed in Vancouver, so casting-wise and location-wise we’re in for a treat. Familiar Canadian faces in the pilot include Suleka Mathew and Camille Sullivan. We also have Lee Tergesen, whom I adore and am thrilled to have back in a series

The American series was adapted by Melissa Rosenberg, who wrote that little film series you might have heard of, based on the “Twilight” books.

Red Widow will premiere on ABC tonight in Revenge‘s timeslot at 9/8 c with back to back episodes and then settle into 10/9 c slot next week.

Find out more about the Red Widow premise:

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