'Betrayal' series premiere react: Where's the passion?

Betrayal.jpg

Image Credit: Jean Whiteside/ABC

With a title like Betrayal, a time slot after Revenge, and beautiful protagonists like lawyer Jack McAllister (Stuart Townsend, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) and photographer Sara Hanley (Hannah Ware, Boss), I expected this show to beat us over our heads with outlandish passion scene after passion scene until our eyes bled.

But what we got was a very tame soap opera with none of the high-wattage emotional displays. The premise sounded promising: Jack and Sara are each married with kids and start an affair. But it turns out Jack will become the arch legal nemesis of Sara’s husband in a high-profile murder trial. Dun-dun-dun.  The biggest problem was that the two main characters lacked the chemistry needed to sustain this story of forbidden romance. Their dialogue was stilted, there were too many ad hoc meet-cutes, and there was the issue of the weird sex scenes – both of which were spliced with legal negotiations scenes. Unnerving for the viewer to go from one buttoned-up shot to another buttoned-down one.

Here’s a rundown of the main characters:

Sara Hanley: She’s a photographer with a passion for high art. On a photo assignment she stays at a hotel with Jack instead of taking the train back to her family. Has one son, Oliver, with Drew.

Jack McAllister: He’s the personal counsel for a powerful family and is fond of the extended stare (but doesn’t come close to Michael Vartan in Alias). Jack is the first one to approach Sara at her gallery show.

Drew Stafford: He (played by Chris Johnson) is Sara’s husband and a prosecutor. He doesn’t like fussy neckties, he’s ambitious and angling for a State Attorney position, and shows the slightest suspicion at Sara when he asks about the stranger she met at her gallery show.

Thatcher Karsten: A powerful businessman (played by James Cromwell), he needs Jack more than ever when his mentally challenged son T.J. (played by Henry Thomas) is accused of murdering Thatcher’s brother-in-law. The brother-in-law’s body is found thrown over a bridge with two gunshot wounds.

Cheesiest lines: Both from Jack – “We can meet there. Real quick. You know, like a drug deal,” and the terse but terrible, “You make me wanna connect.” (Did a robotically-controlled Twitter account generate these lines?)

Best line: When Drew finds out Jack is the defense attorney: “I’m gonna crucify him.”

What did you think, PopWatchers? Will you keep watching?

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