The Player Recap NBC

Is NBC's The Player a Winner?

NBC this Thursday at 10/9c dealt its third new drama of the fall, The Player. Will the Las Vegas-set thriller take your money?

The Player stars Philip Winchester (Strike Back) as Alex Kane, a G-man turned  Vegas security expert who is recruited by the calm ‘n’ cool Mr. Johnson aka The Pit Boss (played with great flair by Wesley Snipes) and his colleague Cassandra aka The Dealer (Charity Wakefield) to stop predicted crimes, while the world’s ridiculously wealthy wager on the outcome.

Nudging Alex to take this gig as “The Player” is the chance to avenge the death of his ex-wife Ginny (recurring player Daisy Betts), who was (seemingly?) murdered during a home invasion after Alex proved to be a wrench in the works for a visiting dignitary’s would-be kidnappers.

As Cassandra explained, the infrastructure for the “game” was set up decades ago, and continually upgraded as personal surveillance became more and more intrusive. Now, the system is able to predict crime, while those who are so rich they have lost interest in more mundane gaming wager on the outcome. Alex is at first understandably skeptical of the gamut he has been caught up in, but Cassandra and her impressive, high-tech resources soon enough prove to me indisputable.

Alex then wrestles with the morality of it all, “wagering on crime,” but a couple of factors nudge him into signing on for the “lifetime appointment” as The Player. For one, Cassandra notes, the next Player might not care as much about a sheik’s daughter being abducted or killed. Secondly, as Alex realizes during a visit to the morgue, all may not be as it seems when it comes to his wife Ginny’s murder, seeing as the corpse he visits is missing her ring finger tattoo….

That suspicion is all but confirmed for us, the audience, in the final scenes, where 1) a look of concern washes over Cassandra’s face after Alex warns that he will take down those who took his wife from him, and 2) we eavesdrop as Cassandra deletes old photos of Ginny doing a doctor’s good work overseas… with the blonde Brit at her side!

Winchester is having a lot more fun here than his Strike Back partner Sullivan Stapleton over on NBC’s Blindspot, and he’s well suited for this primetime action hero role. Whatever you may think about Snipes’ filmography, he’s highly entertaining to watch as the confident Mr. Johnson. (It’s the little things, like how he mimics that one cop’s stance toward the end.) And though I was undecided about Wakefield at first blush, upon my third viewing I warmed up to her — as much as anyone can warm up to her thus far icy-ish Dealer.

What did you think of The Player?

 

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55 Comments
  1. Pati says:

    Phillip Winchester is so good looking 😍 The show is kinda silly but it was fun. I really liked the girl, and Wesley. He doesn’t really do well with wives. I didn’t like his name Alex Cane ugh. I’m gonna keep calling him Stonebridge, it’s like he left section 20 and is a little less uptight lol,

  2. Kafiyahbelloi@yahoo.com says:

    Best pilot of the season in my opinion. Everything else has been some level of blah except for this. It reminds me of POI, but not to the extent of copying it. It borrows some elements and then has its own elements as well. I hope it lasts!!!

  3. Dean says:

    It reminded me a bit of that show with Josh Holloway and Marg Helgenberger last year but seemed more believable since he got his info from a person watching his misson from the homebase instead of just thinking about it in his head. Plus the female sidekick seems to have more backstory in this show I’ll give it a few more eps but I’m interested.

  4. Wes says:

    I liked it, added it the DVR list, but fully expect it to be cancelled by midseason. Wish I could be more optimistic. Maybe next week?

  5. Midnight says:

    I liked this show better when it was called Person of Interest.

  6. tallsy says:

    That was really good. Winchester was good. Snipes was having fun. And I loved the twist with the ex, which I was worried would be a cheap plot device at the beginning.

    I’m afraid of the ratings though.

  7. Matt says:

    For me it was like Fast and Furious for television, in a good way. It’s a good show, but not one to take seriously. It has a lot of action, car and fighting scenes that are very well executed. The soundtrack also helps a lot to create the atmosphere of the show. Hope it has at least a full season, but for the timeslot and on NBC it’s almost impossible.

  8. antisocialbutterflie says:

    Poor Daisy Betts. She died twice this week (Castle and here). One more and she’ll pull a full Jeffery Dean Morgan.

    • bj says:

      I’m so disappointed that Daisy had such a small role. I was so excited to see her and then…bang…she’s gone. Or is she? muyhaha

      I was pleasantly surprised with this one. It was fast moving and definitely kept my interest. Wesley Snipes was hilarious at the police station.

      • Normandy says:

        Cara Buono played the wife when they originally filmed the pilot and then they recast with Daisy Betts and reshot the part, which is not something you do if the character is dead and/or a one-off.

        • bj says:

          hmmm..maybe they left Cara in the corpse scene because that didn’t look like Daisy to me. I kinda went…WTH?

          Maybe this means lots of flashbacks with her at least because you’re right about the re-shooting.

        • antisocialbutterflie says:

          Thanks. I figured that we might get a flashback here or there, but it seems like they would only bring her back as a major player in a series finale scenario. I suppose there is the obvious “she isn’t what she seemed to be” twist that could get her some more screen time, so there is hope that she isn’t just a bit player.

  9. Bernadine Berry says:

    OMG!!!! This show was way better and more than I expected!!!! I am HOOKED! Some reviews were not so great but I’m glad I didn’t trust those critics. This is the perfectly entertaining and intriguing show to come home to every Thursday night. I wish Wesley Snipes would show his actions in the upcoming episodes! He is da man!

  10. Westen says:

    Hard Target + POI ; just a really fun show.

  11. James says:

    I was apprehensive about the show … but I strangely liked it. Maybe my taste is leaving me … but it was fun and Winchester seems a good fit, a guy good with action but has a smart charisma about him.

    Of course, the larger thematic arc of this game is a bit troubling. One wonders how far they can go with it. Of course, if they find that aspects of the show are working and the game isn’t, they could conceivably ditch the concept and work in some sotry about Mr. Johnson being hired by some guys to get Winchester.

    The other thing I am concerned about is timing. I feel like this show would be better on earlier than at 8pm. Furthermore, Heroes Reborn feels like it’s going to be Heroes Dead soon … which can’t help.

  12. Ncook says:

    Why cancle Hman Target? And have this crap?

  13. sladewilson says:

    I liked it. Winchester was good but Wesley sold it. Plus there is enough mystery to be interesting while the case of the week should be action packed.

  14. James D says:

    I can honestly say I was not expecting it to be this good. I watched it because I love Philips work and have been a big fan of Wesley since Passenger 57 way back when. But after watching I thought it’s writing was surprisingly tight the characters had depth even Mr. Johnson while he’s sort of a caricature you could sense that there is something else there, and as Matt pointed out Wesley plays if with a wonderful flair. Really good can’t wait for next week.

    • Jon says:

      I had the exact same reaction…was watching Heroes Reborn and gave TP a chance despite the bad reviews…and was shocked at how much I liked it! As another poster said upthread, it was Fast & Furious for TV — exciting, action-packed, popcorn-chewing fun.

      Phil Winchester was perfect for this, believable even when chasing a killer in his underwear. Wesley was clearly having fun and delivered his lines with wit and a bit of snark. Even liked Cassandra and want to know more about her story.

      Yes, the premise is ridiculous, and yet this was a great pilot and really fun to watch. I’ll be back next week!

  15. Carli says:

    Wohooo great!,,,

  16. Brian Buckner says:

    Great start! I’m eager to see what’s next. The only thing I feel could’ve been better is more character development of the badgyy. I know there was a lot to cover in the pilot, but the kidnappers henchman was better defined. I guess if this is a deliberate mystery and the bad guy is going to be built up through the whole season, a little each episode to build him into a legitimate nemesis for Alex. That would make sense. Otherwise, great drama, great action, great suspense. Super happy to see Wesley Snipes again.

  17. Mr. Tran K says:

    I give The Player an A. I’m totally hooked on this high octane action packed series and I can’t wait for more. Wesley Snipes and Philip Winchester are so great at what they do and Charity Wakefield is also great as Cassandra (the dealer). The series is like Person of Interest (who knew) meets Miami Vice meets The Fast and The Furious and it was a great roller coaster ride from start to finish. Really hope The player won’t be a disappointment for NBC and as Snipes said in Passenger 57 – always bet on black.

  18. mugswine says:

    Sorry,think that the show is stupid.Ridiculously unbelievable. Just toooooo far fetched.

  19. prish says:

    The husband says, “That was a good one!” I say it is filled with eye candy and fun candy. We are on board! This show had the strongest first few minutes of any TV show in history, imho. It may have a silly premise, but it delivers pure enjoyment in spite of the unbelievable setup. The actors are so good at getting us to invest in their characters. They are masters of the art.

  20. Sally McLinn says:

    It definitely held my interest. Seemed to have twists here and there, but I wonder about Kane’s ability to do all that running and gunning. :) But I enjoyed it (more than Empire) and Wesley Snipes seems to be in his element.

  21. Carla Krae says:

    Lots of fun. The mister and I both enjoyed it.

  22. phoebe says:

    watched Blindspot and The Player for the Strike Back boys and while both were good I’m more interested in this one…more action and Winchester

  23. e. says:

    Has anyone else noticed that the survey’s visual result for new shows is almost always identical? Like 45%A, 35%B, 10%C, 6%F, 4%D. I just find it funny that this year no matter what the show it seems to be the same break down.

  24. Rusty says:

    It was going pretty good for the first few minutes, then the lead does his Tarzan impression off the roof. Laughed my butt off at that one. Then it just got silly and stupid. This idea of a omni present super intelligence organisation that knows all and sees all, is so far fetched, this should be under science fiction. A cheap rip-off of POI and a waste of my time.

  25. Temperance says:

    Well… that photo certainly confirms that Winchester has big feet. Ahem.

  26. Roland121 says:

    Loved it! Just an great over-the-top popcorn action show! And all the terrible gambling related one-liners to come – I’ll look forward to one in every show! “I’ll take that bet…” pure comedy!

  27. Win says:

    I was so disinterested in The Player (even though I do like Wesley Snipes’ filmography through at least Blade) that I didn’t even know the premise, but thanks again to the lure of Free on iTunes/the network’s website (UnREAL, Mr. Robot, Empire), I watched. I liked it. As someone else put it, it’s got that popcorn action show thing going for it. And as someone else said, different premise, but it does make me miss Human Target, but not in a way that makes me bitter against this show.

  28. Idriss turay says:

    If it Wesley u know it good baby.when u are on Wesley movie u will automatically be a star,wish I can have that opportunity.

  29. Lacey says:

    I absolutely loved it. It has a very interesting plot and I am excited to see where it goes. Lots of opportunity for some interesting action packed episodes. I feel Phillip Winchester is the perfect actor to play Alex Kaine. I look forward to watching next week. Added it to my PVR recordings.

  30. Jason says:

    It was better than I expected so I’ll definitely watch it again next week. Winchester is such a likable star. Wise choice to put him in as the lead. Interesting premise. A good pairing with Black List.

  31. Doug says:

    I liked this show more than I expected due to the twists with the ex-wife, etc. But I HATE it when shows are set in iconic cites (like Las Vegas) but not filmed in the iconic city. The CGI backdrops in The Player were much worse than the crappy CSI backdrops. Why not just film in Las Vegas?

  32. amber says:

    loved it! Fast, Fun, The Player is delicious to watch and fits the roll perfect. Snipes was classic Snipes (which I’ve never had any issue with the classic Snipes – Badass MoFo!) Kept me FULLY engrossed the entire time. I think I only snickered at a lame line maybe twice, but the recover was almost instant. I really liked the chick as well. She is not as memorable at first episode, but I think she will grow into the roll the longer she gets to know the character and becomes the part.

  33. Lauren says:

    Yeah for Scott and Stonebridge!!!

  34. Lance Smale says:

    I liked it, want to help the show tell your friends and maybe we can get the ratings up but it is competing against the NFL

  35. vermincelli says:

    I was and still am hoping that somehow Alex Kane is an alias and he’s really Michael Stonebridge. Remember at the end of Strike Back, he and Damian rode off on the bikes and their destination? VEGAS!

    Please god of TV land, have the writers work this out somehow.

  36. Rhe Bronze says:

    I watched it mostly for Wesley Snipes and he is my favorite actor. If it wasn’t for Snipes, I would not be tuning in. The show wasn’t as good as I expected to but I do hope it gets better. I’m pretty sure all of the successful show always start off shaky from the beginning but do gets better in time. I love you Wesley. You are also my celebrity crush 😘.

  37. Jofferine Joffer says:

    I didn’t really like the first episode but I enjoyed watching Wesley Snipes (my favorite actor) and Phillip Winchester (my secret crush). I hope the second episode is a lot better than the first one. I’m very happy to see Mr. Snipes back on the screen again. I really missed him. He also did a great job on The Expendables 3. I am hoping to see him more often. Anything that has his Wesley’s name on it, sign me in. Wesley Snipes will always have my support. I am your number one fan Wesley. I love you to pieces.

  38. David peyok says:

    Too phony nothing realistic. Foot ball just as bad.

  39. bruggs says:

    Had my attention for 35 network min. Then lost me with the predictable ending. I like the storyline but seen it before. Wesley will do well.

  40. bruggs says:

    So my post didn’t post. It was a good one about storyline was good but predictable. Just saying.

  41. BigDave says:

    Matt, your review was really spot-on. You caught all the little things that I noticed as well. Snipes might have found a nice niche. It is great to see him not take himself too seriously. He plays his character quite well IMO.
    I am a HUGE Strike Back fan, so anything that Winchester or Stapelton is in I automatically like.
    They are two of the best well trained “operator” type action heroes on TV today.
    The action and stunts of The Player looked big screen/ big budget quality. I was very much impressed.
    I hope the rest of this season pans out. Count me in so far.
    I admit it was so strange at first to hear Phillip without his Brit accent. Getting used to his American accent. I know he can do either perfectly. Good talent to have!1

  42. M. Carmen Seal says:

    We set out timer to watch The Player each week. It was well produced and we enjoyed the actors/characters and the story line. Please don’t cancel this quality program!