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The Player, the Complete Series (2015)


The Player

One of fall 2015’s network premieres, this show captured my fancy because of its leading lady. Charity Wakefield was a familiar face whose talents I saw in the ITV miniseries Sense and Sensibility. Being the period drama aficionado that I am, and of course, a TV show nut, I wanted to tune in to see what the slick actioner of The Player was all about.
 
Since he left the United States military, Alex Kane (Philip Winchester) has lived a quieter life. He now works private security for the Vegas elite, and is trying to figure out the complicated relationship that is with his ex-wife, Ginny (Daisy Betts). Still in love, Alex and Ginny agree to work on their relationship because, though the law says differently, they don’t want to not be together, all on the very night that armed men break into Ginny’s home.
 
This results in the death of Ginny, and Alex being accused of murdering one of the assailants. 
 
Bailed out of jail by a mysterious and powerful man who calls himself Mr. Johnson (Wesley Snipes), Alex finds himself recruited into a game of cat and mouse. He’s been handpicked as the new “Player” in a high stakes game that involves betting on the lives of people. Outraged, Alex refuses to go along quietly until he learns that Mr. Johnson might know something about Ginny. With the resources of “The House” (a massive computer system) and its engineer, Cassandra (Wakefield) at his disposal, Alex engages in a dangerous game of life and death. 
 
TV SHOW REVIEW | The Blacklist, Season One (2014)
 
The Player

 
TV shows seem to come as quickly as they disappear from our screens. This sleek, slick NBC actioner is one such show. Cashing in its chips at a mere 9 episodes (cut from the normal thirteen order), this was over before it really was given a chance to shine. The principal and cutting-edge storytelling was definitely here, it just didn’t appeal to a large enough audience to ensure its survival which is, by and large a disappointing outcome. Flaws and all, I thought this was a dynamic little show that was as intriguing as it was compelling. Both feelings tie into Alex’s journey in discovering the secrets of his wife’s checkered past.  

Apart from his "day job," Alex’s side project revolves around uncovering the circumstances surrounding his wife's death. He’s blinded by his love for her which is what makes his quest to uncover the secret behind her past (saying more than this wanders into spoiler territory) so, oddly enough, poignant. But then, I realize I’m biased since I do like Philip as an actor. A fan I first became when seeing him on another short-lived series, Crusoe and later in a romcom miniseries. Also, adding to the stylish atmosphere of this one is Charity’s presence. Her Cassandra is not only another complex puzzle whose past is never completely revealed, she also gets a killer wardrobe. Noticing the costuming in a contemporary piece may see odd, but when a female lead dresses as sharp as this, the fashionista in me cannot help but notice. Also appearing recurring among the cast as familiar faces are Nick Wechsler (Revenge) and familiar TV actress KaDee Strickland 
 
The Player
 
Another reason this appealed is its executive producers, who are credited with The Blacklist, which I suspect show runners were hoping would have scored them some points. As I said, I thought this one was interesting. From the first episode in which we’re pulled into a curious web of potential (though some might this concept a gray line, morally) to the final episode in which many a question is left unanswered there was something about The Player that I liked. Unfortunately, the TV powers that be weren’t primed to give this a second deal because audience numbers remained unimpressed. Still, if you don’t mind seeing nothing resolved, and are looking for something with no long-term strings attached, this is a fun show to binge watch over a long weekend.  

CONTENT: There is 2-3 implied sex scenes scattered throughout the episodes. One shows a couple undressed sitting under a mound of blankets talking. Various minor profanities may be scattered about (my memory is a bit hazy there), and of course, there is violence. The range includes everything from heavy weaponry to brutal hand-to-hand combat. The show is rated TV14.
 
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