“Good Behavior” debuted with two back-to-back episodes Tuesday (Nov. 15) and within those two hours, the new Michelle Dockery drama showed strong potential to be a major brand changer for TNT.
In the pilot episode, the world of con artist ex-con Letty Raines (Dockery) is established — she’s out on parole for the titular good behavior but can’t help falling back into old patterns, like stealing, alcohol and drugs. Letty has a terrible relationship with her mother and hasn’t seen her son in two years.
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But Letty is not a truly bad person, not really. Because when she overhears a man hiring a hitman to kill his wife, she does everything she can to save the woman’s life — though it turns out Letty was unsuccessful and now she’s basically working for the hitman, Javier (Juan Diego Botto), because she stole and spent a large chunk of the money he was paid for that particular hit.
In episode two, the two criminals are working in tandem at a high-end resort, posing as husband and wife so that Javier can carry out another hit — though this one is far more justified than the first.
But it’s this faux marriage that isn’t established until episode two that really makes the show sing. Dockery and Botto have an easy chemistry together, displayed to the hilt during an erotic sex scene where Javier details his latest job and Letty finds herself disgusted by his work but too aroused to care enough to stop.
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But while she’s a con artist herself, Letty can’t reconcile her morals with Javier murdering people, which provides a nice tension. One does wonder how long the show can keep that up, with Letty constantly wanting to escape Javier’s grasp and how long is it until she’s all in with him? But for now, it’s a dynamic we want to watch play out.
And it’s this core relationship that makes “Good Behavior” feel like a drama in the vein of “UnReal” or “Mr. Robot”: They aren’t sweeping HBO epics — and aren’t trying to be — but rather the quiet quality TV that garners critical attention and a small but fervent following, which could redefine the type of cable drama TNT is known for.
TNT has been trying to make strides in this area for years with shows like the criminally underrated police drama “Southland” and the surprisingly good sci-fi offering “Falling Skies.” Perhaps between fellow 2016 new addition “Animal Kingdom” and now “Good Behavior,” TNT is morphing into the network that competes with the likes of AMC and FX.