ABC’s tagline for its new drama “Betrayal” is “For a married woman, nothing is more dangerous than falling in love.”
Really? Nothing? Let’s see if we can think of a few things more dangerous than that.
– Heart disease. It’s the No. 1 cause of death among women (and the population as a whole). Lead character Sara Hanley (Hannah Ware), the married woman in question who embarks on an affair, appears to be in decent shape, though, so it’s probably not an immediate concern for her.
– Accidents. The sixth-leading cause of death among women, per the CDC. Part of Sunday’s (Sept. 29) series premiere involves Sara and her paramour, Jack McAllister (Stuart Townsend), meeting at a train station. She’s on one side of the tracks, he’s on the other. Gotta be careful crossing over.
– Trans fats. See “heart disease” above.
– Gun violence. “Betrayal” takes place in Chicago, which has seen a spike in gun-related homicides in the past couple of years.
And wouldn’t you know it, the very first image we see of Sara is of her bleeding out on a gurney. She’s been shot … six months in the future. “Betrayal” begins with a particularly ham-handed in medias res opening, showing that scene before flashing back to Sara’s life as a married woman who doesn’t know she’s unhappy until she meets Jack at a gallery opening and they spark. Or so we’re told — their initial conversation is about as vanilla as they come.
He later finds an excuse to run into her at her studio (she’s a photographer) because … he needs a picture framed. This is what passes for a meet-cute, and soon they’re off on their way, engendering no sympathy for cheating on either of their spouses, who maybe aren’t the sweetest people in the world but really don’t deserve to be tossed aside for the most lukewarm affair in televisual history.
Sara then finds out that Jack is a consigliere for Thacher Karsten (James Cromwell, in menacing mode), and that he’s going to be opposing her prosecutor husband, Drew (Chris Johnson), in a high-profile case involving Karsten’s son T.J. (Henry Thomas). You’d think that would be stakes enough to propel the show, but nope, viewers are expected to care why and by whom this woman they just met will get shot in half a year’s time.
Sara, for one, seems to think the Drew-vs.-Jack thing is kind of a big deal. When she finds out Drew has Jack in his sights, the news so devastates her that she faints in her kitchen, wasting what looks like a rather nice bottle of wine.
You might feel bad for the wine, and maybe for the hour you could have spent doing other things. You probably won’t feel bad for Sara or Jack.
“Betrayal” premieres at 10 p.m. ET Sunday on ABC.