The Catch: Slick, Smart Mystery/Soap!

THE CATCH - "Pilot" - Alice Vaughan (Mireille Enos) is LA’s top private investigator - and the one woman you don’t want to mess with.  But when her fiancé (Peter Krause) cons her out of millions and disappears, Alice goes on a private mission for payback.  No matter where it leads or the secrets she must keep along the way, Alice will stop at nothing to catch her man.  From the producers of “Scandal,” “Greys Anatomy” and “How to Get Away with Murder,” “The Catch” is a one-hour drama starring Mireille Enos, Peter Krause, Alimi Ballard, Jay Hayden, Jacky Ido, Rose Rollins, Elvy Yost and Sonya Walger. It is executive-produced by Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Allan Heinberg and Julie Anne Robinson. "The Catch" premieres Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 10pm ET/PT on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Richard Cartwright) MIREILLE ENOS, ROSE ROLLINS, JAY HAYDEN, ELVY YOST
THE CATCH – “Pilot” –  (ABC/Richard Cartwright) MIREILLE ENOS, ROSE ROLLINS, JAY HAYDEN, ELVY YOST

Alice Vaughn runs the best private investigative firm in town. Her clients are high rollers, the one percent of the one percent – at least to judge by the swank offices and her posh penthouse suite. She’s engaged to be married to a handsome, charming guy – but when he suggests they elope, she discovers he’s not what he seems to be. And now she has to catch him.

That’s the most basic distillation of The Catch (ABC, Wednesdays, 10/9C). Of course it’s more complicated than that…

Alice’s company – which her partner Rose Rollins (Valerie Anderson) runs so that she can be in the field – has been after a very cagey quarry they call Mr. X. They pinpoint a suspected partner in his corporate espionage but Mr. X. is, in fact, one step ahead of them the whole way and even though they catch his source, he gets away scot free.

It’s only when Alice arrives home after her bad day that we meet her fiancé, Christopher Hall (Peter Krause) and see that he is Mr. X (not a spoiler – it’s in most of the TV spots for the show).

Shortly thereafter, we meet his real partner, Margo Bishop (Sonya Walger), and their cleanup man, Reggie Lennox (Alimi Ballard) – and Mr. X. takes everything (her life savings, the company’s client list, access codes…), leaving Alice and her firm high and dry. The only flaw in his brilliantly executed plan is that he seems to have actually fallen in love with her.

THE CATCH - "Pilot" - Alice Vaughan (Mireille Enos) is LA's top private investigator - and the one woman you don't want to mess with. But when her fiancé (Peter Krause) cons her out of millions and disappears, Alice goes on a private mission for payback. No matter where it leads or the secrets she must keep along the way, Alice will stop at nothing to catch her man. From the producers of "Scandal," "Greys Anatomy" and "How to Get Away with Murder," "The Catch" is a one-hour drama starring Mireille Enos, Peter Krause, Alimi Ballard, Jay Hayden, Jacky Ido, Rose Rollins, Elvy Yost and Sonya Walger. It is executive-produced by Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Allan Heinberg and Julie Anne Robinson. "The Catch" premieres Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 10pm ET/PT on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Richard Cartwright) MIREILLE ENOS, PETER KRAUSE
THE CATCH – “Pilot” – (ABC/Richard Cartwright) MIREILLE ENOS, PETER KRAUSE

Further complications arrive in the person of an FBI agent (formerly Interpol), Jules Dao (Jackie Ido) – who’s tracking someone he believes they are also after…

The series premiere was written by Jennifer Schuur (from a story by Kate Atkinson and Helen Gregory) and directed by Julie Ann Robinson. It’s a technically excellent piece with some serious brass and sass – and a premise that leads to a situation that’s not so much cat and mouse as cat vs. cat.

More than anything I’ve seen in a while, Robinson uses split screens to attack a scene from several different perspectives – setting up an opportunity to see events from the points of view of both Alice and Mr. X (whom Reggie refers to as Ben). This adds to the cat vs. cat idea and gives us reason to understand both sides of the ongoing game.

Like the other shows from Shondaland, The Catch is filled with an intriguing cast of characters – played by a diverse, sexy and extremely talented actors. Like those other Shondaland shows, it also burns through a lot of plot.

Only one episode was available for review, but it’s a humdinger of a premiere for the series – fast-paced, smart and sexy fun. Should the rest of this mid-season show’s episodes equal the fun level of the premiere, The Catch will be a great ride.

Final Grade: A-