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Sneaky Pete – Brian Cranston’s New Gem!

Actors Giovanni Ribisi and Brian Cranston are sitting at a poker table holding cards and staring at the camera. Giovanni is wearing a dark gray suit and stipped tie and sunglasses. Cranston is wearing a white tux with black bow tie.
Giovanni Ribisi and Brian Cranston in "Sneaky Pete".

Everyone thinks they know the truth.  But the truth is, we only know our own version of it.  At least this is the opinion of Pete Murphy or rather Marius Josipovic (played by Giovanni Ribisi) the con man who takes on the identity of his cell mate, Pete, when he is released from prison.  Marius is trying to avoid a very bad man, played by Bryan Cranston, who wants very much to hurt him.  And if he can’t hurt him, he’ll take it out on Marius’ brother, played by Michael Drayer.

Out of desperation, Marius turns to his cellmates’ family who hasn’t seen him in twenty years.  Pete was quite the talker in prison and Marius, having a penchant for stories, remembers them all.  The trouble is, while the family stories are true and wonderfully idealistic, underneath lay a myriad of secrets kept by a myriad of lies.  So while Pete is navigating the family waters, his boat is being rocked by waves he can’t control.

Luckily, the family business is bail bonds, and Pete’s criminal background comes in handy when tracking and capturing dodgy clients.  The family needs him, and so he stays even while trying to figure out a way to get the money he owes Cranston and free his brother.

If you’re thinking that this is a predictable story of crime hijinks and misplaced allegiances, you are very wrong.  This series surprises at every turn.  It is not only unpredictable, it’s cleverly written, brilliantly acted, beautifully shot.  It is a masterpiece of television.  The only minor complaint I had was that of Cranston’s soliloquies – they are a bit too long.  While they’re designed to tell us about his character and the horrors that he’s seen, as well as scare and torture the unfortunate people in the room with him, they felt somewhat self-indulgent, and frankly just went on too long.

But the comedy and the drama intertwine seamlessly.  The characters are written and performed to show their strengths and their flaws, their truths and their lies.  And while everyone suffers the consequences of their choices, they are people we like and root for.  In truth, several of the characters show a heroism and altruism they didn’t know they had in them.  And neither did we.  For once, we are pleasantly surprised by human nature.  The truth is, there is hope.

Sneaky Pete is produced by Bryan Cranston and Graham Yost.  It stars Giovanni Ribisi as Marius, Michael Drayer as Marius’ brother, Margo Martingale as his grandmother, and Peter Gerety as his grandfather.  Everyone in the cast is magnificent!  You can find it on Amazon Prime, and good news, it’s been picked up for a second season.  Yay!



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