Giovanni Ribisi stars in a new crime and drama series as Sneaky Pete. Originally commissioned by CBS for the pilot, they took a pass in its launch. Several months later, as part of their drive for more content, Amazon Studios picked up the pilot and released it for streaming on August 7, 2015. Receiving the go ahead about a month later, show writer David Shore and director Seth Gordon are presumably working on the full season now.
In the pilot we are introduced to Marius, a con artist doing time and about to be released from jail. His shady past is about to catch up to him, having crossed a crime boss, so he decides to take on the identity of his cell-mate Pete, played by Ethan Embry. Believing Pete’s family, with which there has been no contact for 20 years or so due to a fight between his mother and grandparents, may have significant funds being in the bond trade. He is disappointed to find out they are in fact running a mom and pop bail bonds service. When his own brother lets him down, Marius-come-Pete decides he needs to stick to the role he’s playing. The tight-knit clan is harder to infiltrate than he though, being he didn’t have much of a family growing up.
The pilot was filmed with movie-quality cinematography. There are no special effects of which to speak, but the action scenes are compelling in their drama. It is filmed partially in New York City and presumably set somewhere else in New York State – it isn’t very clear where the family farm is located. The writing is engaging and believable, with excellent acting by several familiar faces, along with some new ones. Margo Martindale steals her scenes as the loving, but suspicious, grandmother. Though we don’t expect to see much of Mr. Embry, he is as adorable as always in his portrayal of the real Pete.
The full season will undoubtedly give us more background on how Marius came into his life of crime. He’s clearly gregarious which makes manipulating people easier, but it takes more than just a drug-addicted mother to send someone down such a path. It will also be interesting to see if he’s able to salvage his relationship with his brother and save his skin from the NYC crime boss. Further, Pete’s family has troubles of its own. Marin Ireland gives a vulnerability to Julia, Pete’s cousin, though she has to be tough while she’s trying to take the lead role in the family business. Her younger sister makes some poor choices while fighting teen ennui, which will likely lead to some interesting times for the family. Cousin Taylor, played by Shane McRae, is a cop and obvious foil for Marius. There also appears to be some chemistry between Marius and Julia, which will no doubt be awkward as long as he’s passing himself off as Pete.
There are any number of reasons Marius will have to keep up the pretense throughout a whole season. If it goes beyond that, the writer has already made provision for the real Pete to be released from prison in two years. This can cause any