Notorious Recap

Notorious Premiere: Is ABC's Media Drama Worthy of Scandal's Timeslot?

If you already have a healthy distrust of cable news, Thursday’s series premiere of Notorious — which is keeping Scandal‘s timeslot warm until the drama returns midseason — likely did very little to quell your suspicions.

Inspired by the real-life relationship between celebrity attorney Mark Geragos and Larry King Live producer Wendy Walker, the ABC drama purports to give audiences a behind-the-scenes look at how criminal lawyers work with the media to sway public opinion about their clients. In the case of Notorious, it’s producer/all-around “tough-ass bitch” Julia George (played Piper Perabo) and shady lawyer Jake Gregorian (Daniel Sunjata) shaping the news — and telling the public exactly how to feel about it.

The big story in Thursday’s premiere — which will continue to unfold as the season continues — revolved around the fatal hit-and-run of a teenage boy believed to have been mowed down by millionaire tech wiz Oscar Keaton (Kevin Zegers). It was eventually revealed that Oscar’s wife Sarah was actually the one driving the car that killed the teen, but just when the police were closing in, she turned up dead on her bathroom floor. (Dun, dun, dun!)

But the really juicy stuff, as always, is what the public isn’t told — like the fact that Sarah and Jake were lovers, or that Oscar might have physically abused his late wife, or that Sarah was in the process of getting a fake passport. The devil, as well as my interest in this show, is in the details.

Assorted thoughts:

* For a show that prides itself on exposition (hence the network president introducing himself by saying “As the network president…”), I’m surprised Megan’s former profession — the oldest profession, one might say — was introduced so subtly. Do a lot of former escorts work in television news? And while I’m throwing questions out there, could Megan just be Cecily Strong in a wig? The resemblance is uncanny.

* It’s probably too soon to pick a favorite character, but I’m throwing caution to the wind and declaring my love for Louise (Kate Jennings Grant). I also feel like, in a perfect world, Ryan (Ryan Guzman) would have taken Louise up on her invitation at the hotel. But as she said, there’s always “next time.”

* Bradley (J. August Richards) may be a good lawyer, but he’s not exactly subtle when it comes to secrets. Why would you ever scream “You were in love with his wife!” in the middle of a crowded office?

* That said, as a Drop Dead Diva fan, I might have let out a faint squeal when Kate Levering (aka Kim Kaswell) appeared on screen as Gregorian & Gregorian’s opposing lawyer. (FYI: The two shows share a creator in Josh Berman.)

Now that you’ve suffered through my opinions, let’s hear yours: Grade the premiere below, then drop a comment with your full review. Did Notorious earn a spot on your DVR?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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33 Comments
  1. Jason Portman says:

    Very engaging! Loved all the twists and turns

  2. Kevin K says:

    I give Notorious a C. Useless, completely boring and a fail Scandal wannabe. No complaining

    • Sara says:

      What is your deal. You came in the review of the pilot claiming it’s the worst without even seeing it.

      Notorious was amazing. Loved it.

  3. R C Oyman says:

    Pier is as usual captivating💘✝

  4. ThatBob says:

    Gave up after a half hour. Just a parade of people I’d never want to know doing things they shouldn’t do. (So, basically, pretty much like Scandal.)

  5. Chet Oyman says:

    Chet Oyman

  6. Carol C says:

    I’m not a Scandal fan, and I really liked the wild twists in the Notorious plots. I’ll keep watching.

  7. Shaun says:

    Pretty bad,the plot was driven by twist after twist and no time to digest it.Enjoyed the leads well enough but a lot of it seemed illegal.

  8. I love the cast so I’ll stick around for a few more episodes but the pilot was pretty disappointing. I’ll be generous and give it a C. They never really bothered to develop any of the characters. They just threw one thing after another at you without ever getting you invested in the outcomes. Hopefully they slow things down a bit in the next few episodes and do some actual character building.

  9. Lisa Echerd says:

    It’s easy to watch. While there is a lot going on, it doesn’t take much to keep it all straight and you forget about it as soon as it is over. So it’s entertaining but no Scandal.

  10. joe says:

    It wasn’t bad, I will watch next week

  11. MzTeaze says:

    I can’t see how they can sustain the premise over a season without retreading the same ground. Plus with the leads, this feels more like a USA Network show than ABC. The pilot didn’t scream Must See TV. Will watch one more non pilot episode before considering if it’s DVR worthy.

  12. TW says:

    I loved this show! Enjoyed the twists and turns. Not your typical series. Love the fact that it left a “to be continued” vibe. I give it a THUMBS UP!
    Being a former Scandal watcher(yes, former), I just hope Notorious can identify and keep the path of the show clear.

  13. liame says:

    I like faced paced shows so I’ll stick with this The characters are likable and the actors can act. One flaw I notice in a lot of shows now a days are the sex scenes. The characters have sex all over the place but no one seems to wash, at least give the illusion that these people wash, it’s kind of gross watching them going back to their normal routine after that.

  14. Terri says:

    Love the fast paced, dirty little secrets theme of the show. I will be watching.

  15. pickles says:

    Scandal didn’t do that well in ratings . The headline makes it sound like Scandal is a ratings hit.

  16. Katherine215 says:

    I was drawn in by the cast but the plot didn’t grab me. Hoping the next few episodes are better.

  17. Deb says:

    I thought it was great……the chemistry between the leads was exciting….I stayed interested!

  18. I don’t understand why it did badly. It has a solid cast and the show was fun. Love Piper.

  19. HAP says:

    I was pleasantly surprised after having read some tepid reviews. And I love Piper.

  20. herman1959 says:

    It sounds like a space-holder for Scandal. Enjoy it now; I’ll bet it’s cancelled by mid-season.

  21. Denis Donovan says:

    The pilot is the most difficult show for writers to write and producers to produce. In these brief 45 minutes, there are so many characters to introduce, so many plots and subplots to establish and the overall tone of the program to project. Often drama and storytelling have to give way to exposition. Now that we are up to speed on all of the back stories and know who’s who, look for Notorious to sizzle. It can’t not given the presence of the always amazing Piper Perabo and Daniel Sunjata.

  22. Thomas says:

    Didn’t know what was going on and didn’t understand it from the start

  23. 2human4u says:

    I am hooked. I admit I was biased because I absolutely love Daniel Sunjata’s acting, but the storyline is amazing. The suspense, the plot twists and the drama will keep you on the edge of your seat. Easy to follow, sure it will get deeper into the characters lives, but for now – I’m intrigued.
    If you missed it, find it!
    If you didn’t like it, I forgive you.!

  24. robandco says:

    The pilot wasn’t that bad IMO.
    It could have had potential if it wasn’t trying so hard. They have a nice setting in theory, but it’s too flashy. There was way too much going on for a pilot. That blackmail storyline was unnecessary and took too much screen time (although KIM CASWELL was amazing, ha!).
    I’ll check it out next week, but IMO it has the same writing problems as The Catch.

  25. ruth pastina says:

    boring!!!! even in serious moments “Jake and Julia” kept smiling Daniel Sunjata is not sexy
    Story is toooo contrived and plot was tooo unhinged won’t watch again

  26. Will says:

    Just watched it – I liked it. I give it a solid B. Love Piper Perabo. Daniel Sunjata seems miscast, although I can’t seem to get his characters from Rescue Me & Graceland out of my head. I’m in for a few more.

  27. sunflower says:

    I actually loved it! It kept me entertained and interested. Loved the cast! especially Kim from drop dead and the young lady from Friday night lights! she grew so much!