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Shut Eye – Keep Your Eyes Open for This One!


Actor Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice), plays a con artist who pretends to be a psychic.  While forced to work with a powerful Gypsy family, ironically called the Marks family, who control the “psychic industry” in Los Angeles, he becomes able to see visions.  This looks promising!  Jeffrey Donovan does not disappoint as a smooth conman turned “the real thing”.  Take a look at the preview…




Jeffrey Donavan plays Charlie Haverford, a beleaguered fake psychic whose business is monitored and poached by the local organized crime family of Gypsies.  His wife Linda, played by KaDee Stricklin is truly his partner in crime, and the two of them go about finding and hooking “the big fish” as a way of getting out from under the Gypsies.


Truly original, masterfully written and acted – This series offers the viewer unpredictable drama worthy of the title, “Hulu Original” and then some.  Just when we think we know which direction Charlie is heading, the story turns and gives him another choice.  Unlike many dramas, the strength of fate is overpowered by the schemings of others.  And while the Universe sends Charlie messages he’s forced to interpret, his conscience or lack thereof is his real guide.  


There are many subplots to the main story of getting free of the Gypsies, and these are just as compelling as the main one.  Linda falls for a con-artist hypnotist, their son, Nick, falls in love and becomes mixed up with the wrong crowd at school, their “boss” Fonso, played perfectly by Angus Sampson, steals their big score, and threatens to kill them…and those are just a few.  These subplots are woven together seamlessly, with artistry and skill.  

Actor’s Note:  Actress Isabella Rossillini plays the matriarch of the Marks family.  Her kindly yet chilling portrayal greatly enhances the diabolically evil reputation the family enjoys.  During an interview with writer, Pete Hammond, Rossillini said that Marlon Brando’s portrayal of the Godfather, in the afore named film inspired her to construct her character in the same fashion.  She said that Brando’s portrayal of the grandfatherly, sweet, gentle, good listener Godfather inspired her to be the same.  She said, “All the while he’s plotting to kill you.”.   She approached the role in that way because she was afraid that her natural maternal nature would show through, so she decided to use it instead.  

But the real achievement here is that the story creator, Leslie Bohem has made us care about characters who, for the most part, are at their core, unlikable.  This was done with “The Sopranos”, “Breaking Bad”, and a few other shows, but it is difficult to do.  If the viewer becomes too disgusted with what the characters do, if the story goes in a direction that is indefensible for any reason, if there is no chance of redemption, of success for anyone, no hope, no gratifying answers, the series is doomed.  “Shut Eye” walks that line carefully.  


Charlie is sometimes at odds with his role as a con artist, and feels empathy for his victims.  Linda loves her son more than herself (and that’s saying a lot).  Even the deplorable Fonso loves his daughters so much that he will plot to upend the Gypsy syndicate for them.  As Charlie once said, “Sometimes bad people do good things”.

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Melody Stewart is the founder of act.land and President of iactingstudioskc.com. She is a filmmaker in Kansas City.