Conceived as a part of Amazon Video’s original content development, Sneaky Pete is a crime-drama/dark-comedy created by David Shore and Bryan Cranston. The show’s pilot that was released back in August, 2015 had garnered positive reception from the viewers, prompting Amazon to order a full season of the show. After taking a long while to finish production, the first season of Sneaky Pete, comprising ten episodes, was finally made available for streaming this January. Though it did not come with the baggage of high expectations, Sneaky Pete turned out to be a satisfying show for the ones who were waiting for it. Sneaky Pete is funny, dramatic, and entertaining, all at once.
Sneaky Pete follows Marius Josipovic, an imprisoned conman who is actually on the run from a crime boss named Vince to whom he owes money. When it’s time for Marius to leave the prison, he assumes the identity of his cellmate, Pete Murphy, and goes to Pete’s long-estranged family with the aim of finding a haven from Vince. Marius/Pete joins the family bail-bond business hoping to steal the money he owes Vince and save his brother who is being held hostage by Vince.
Though Sneaky Pete’s pilot had an interesting premise, it also had the possibility of wearing thin soon. It felt like the show would take the route of a procedural and eventually be riddled with clichés. The characters were the typical ones you see in any story about a conman. But from the second episode it was clear that the writers had taken all these concerns into account. Once the stage was set, Sneaky Pete started giving off entirely different vibes that quickly turned the show into an engaging “race-against time” humorous crime-drama that viewers had hoped it to be.
Sneaky Pete’s seemingly typical supporting characters weren’t typical anymore. Pete’s seemingly innocent grandparents and cordial cousins all now had secrets to hide. Most of the supporting characters were given story arcs that tied into the main plot in meaningful ways. As the season progresses, it becomes clear how these individual character arcs are relevant to the show overall. The story moves forward with Marius making plans with his old allies to devise a scheme to save himself and his brother while surviving numerous escapes from his foes and preventing Pete’s family from learning his identity. The show then caps with several cool twists that ties everything up together and leaves the door open for a second season. Sneaky Pete’s finale is the show’s best part and elevates it to an intense, dramatic, and fun climax and even has an emotional dimension that works out well.
The show’s talented cast was another reason for its success. Giovanni Ribisi had a certain style and charm in his portrayal of Marius/Pete that grows on you along with the character. Pete’s grandmother was played by Emmy winner Margot Martindale who delivered a great performance as Audrey Bernhardt. Marine Ireland, Peter Geret, Michael Drayer all did great jobs in their respective roles. But it was Bryan Cranston’s performance as Vince, the antagonist.
The obvious comparison anyone would make here is to Cranston’s own performance as the infamous Heisenberg from Breaking Bad. But Vince Lonigan has a class of his own. He is an unusually terrifying villain for an otherwise lighthearted show even with its “crime-drama” background. The writers have created Vince in such a way that he is most horrid when he is not on screen and is being spoken about by other characters. The final sequence of episode four (“The Fury”) where Vince tortures Marius’s brother, Eddie, is one of the most intense scenes in the whole show and was exceptionally played by Bryan Cranston.
To conclude, Sneaky Pete is a fun, engaging show that will clear any apprehensions about it within the first couple of episodes. Featuring a fast-paced plot that culminates in a great ending, the show also boasts a stellar cast and interesting characters. Sneaky Pete would be a great show to watch if you are in the mood for something funny and thrilling with an engaging storyline.Bryan Cranston Marius Josipovic Sneaky Pete