Michelle: "We need a better class of clients."
A pair of former Secret Service agents now operating as Washington, D.C. private eyes, SEAN KING and MICHELLE MAXWELL are the stars of a string of thrillers by David Baldacci.
And Surprise! Surprise!
Most of their cases are politically charged, involving very important people: senators, presidential candidates, foreign dignitaries, first ladies and the like, and just chockful of potentially earth-shaking implications.
They meet cute in Split Second (2003), bonding over their similar but unconnected career-ending lapses of judgement while protecting political big shots, and by Hour Game (2004), they're a team, professionally if not quite romatically.
The series proved popular enough to be spun off into a television series on the TNT network, set to premiere on June 10, 2013. Preliminary reports are that the novels' high level corridors of power intrigue has been toned down, while the will they?/won't they? romantic shenanigans and wisecracking banter is played up, capitalizing on the good looks and apparent chemistry of the two leads, Jon Tenney and Rebecca Romjin. Apparently they're aiming for that Nick and Nora/Moonlighting vibe.
Sean's supposedly the older and wiser one. He became a lawyer after being turfed out of the secret service, and he's the designated slacker (you can tell by the permanent three-day beard), the laidback one prone to sloppiness, forgetting to pay bills and prone to leaving his gun behind when it's needed. He's still a member of the bar, but he now devotes himself to the struggling detective agency he and Michelle run out of a boathouse on the Virginia shore.
Meanwhile, Michelle's the A-type, thoroughly professional, a (mostly) by-the-books kinda girl, dedicated and a tad too serious. It's suggested in the first episode that she takes her kayak to the office every morning.
There is definitely some chemistry going on there and neither Tenney or Romjim are hard on the eyes, but the two mostly strike poses a lot, while snapping off one-liners at each other. They're not given much else to do -- the plots I've seen so far are pretty much connect-the-dot affairs full of convenient coincidences and suddenly recalled memories, A to B narratives about as unpredictable as gravity.
And of course there always has to be at least one designated wingnut in any detective show these days, so we have the addition to the agency of Edgar, a pencil-obsessed idiot savant computer whiz with all the social skills of a Visigoth. I'm not particularly PC, but there's something about Edgar's portrayal that too often borders on offensive -- if the endless milking of Monk's OCD for laughs ever sort of bothered you, you might want to give this one a pass.
Still, given better scripts and a little less reliance on schtick, plus some actual cases to solve that aren't linked to some smothering personal story arc, and they might have something. But I'm not holding my breath...
David Baldacci ihas published over two dozen novels, all of them national and international bestsellers, and his books have been translated into more than 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries; over 110 million copies are in print worldwide. He was inducted into the International Crime Writing Hall of Fame in 2011. He lives with his family in Virginia.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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