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Betrayal starring Stuart Townsend, Hannah Ware, Chris J. Johnson and James Cromwell: When Soapy Finds Good Acting & Chemistry

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Hannah Ware and Stuart Townsend pose for a steamy poster. Image via spoilersguide.com.

I’m not going to lie, I liked Betrayal. I’m not usually the one to go for soapy plots, but when it is presented with great actors, good story-telling and it’s well-shot, why resist it? (Like the first season of Revenge.) Oh, the soundtrack is pretty good too.

I’d never check it out if I hadn’t seen Stuart Townsend’s and James Cromwell’s names attached. But once I did check, I wanted more.

Some critics use the word soap as if they were disappointed. I’m sorry, but what were they expecting? It’s a soap. Just a well-done, modernized one. You could put J.J. Abrams in the director’s seat, and it’d still be a soap. OK, maybe not with Abrams. But you get what I mean.

It is a fun show.  It can remain a guilty pleasure or turn into something more. Only time will tell.  Of course I’m not above fast-forwarding or giving up if I get bored, as I did with Revenge (many episodes were watched on fast-forward) and Once Upon a Time (fast-forward for season 2, not watching for season 3). I don’t always need to be impressed, but I need to be entertained.

Here’s the plot in a nutshell, though I strongly advise you to watch the trailer:

Sara (Hannah Ware) is a beautiful, married photographer with a kid. She keeps getting neglected by her prosecutor husband (Chris J. Johnson). Then she meets Jack (Stuart Townsend) during her art show and they really hit it off. A chance meeting triggers a planned one and that turns into the start of something passionate and irresistible.

Unfortunately, Jack is also married with kids, and his wife (Wendy Moniz) happens to be the daughter of his boss (James Cromwell), a tough businessman who might have ties to crime. And as if this weren’t enough, a murder case lands Jack, the family lawyer, against the husband.

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A lot of the complaints seem to involve the show being a soap  (I’m sorry, but next to Grey’s Anatomy, it wouldn’t even feel like one, and again, what were they expecting from that trailer and story?)

Another complaint from some viewers mentions they don’t/won’t/can’t root for the lead characters because they’re betraying seemingly good people for seemingly insignificant reasons.

While I have a list of movies where you can root for the betraying parties because the betrayed are cruel/indecent/presumed to be dead/etc. and the other person is just lovely, you don’t need to be rooting for any character or approve their behavior. That being said, the cheating aside, they are OK people The makers have gone for grey, and they’ve managed it.

If you don’t find the chemistry satisfactory between Stuart Townsend and Hannah Ware, I can’t argue with that. I like their interactions and chemistry just fine. But my personal opinions on cheating (I’m %99 against it, again see these posts to see where and why I might condone it) don’t prevent me from having an easy good time.

Maybe I’m just happy to see Townsend, Cromwell and Chris J. Johnson on a weekly basis. And I’ll argue that I understand why the characters are straying.

For one, the “perfect husband” is so career-oriented that he will be worrying about his own image even during his wife’s gallery night. He won’t buy the tie she has bought him, deeming it not good enough for the night.  Hello, it’s her night, her gift and it wasn’t like the tie had inappropriate imagery on it! Then he exchanges it, saying he got something better. She constantly has to run after him for any attention, and she might maybe get morning sex, but that’s about it. Yes, in an ideal world, she should try to talk things out and not cheat. But we hardly  watch ideal worlds on TV. And take his behavior, multiply it by 10 years and you might also be yourself craving the attention and chemistry you found with a stranger.

And while I found nothing wrong with Jack’s wife, I can also see where he’s coming from. Barely in his early 40s, he is much too young to be a dad to two teenagers. He has been with the same woman since he was 19, and she is his boss’ daughter. He seems to be more understanding of her father’s involvement in their lives while she questions his loyalty – she’s not happy he respects/admires her dad. Which is not exactly sensitive on her part because his dad raised him, funded his education and all that. This also backs up his argument on feeling his world is too small. Because it is. He hasn’t branched out to a new family and career. He has just expanded on the one he was brought up in. Again, ideally, he shouldn’t cheat. But does it make sense? Yes, it does.

They could make the dialogue a little better, and they could have spent more time developing the attraction/chemistry between them. But it isn’t bad the way it is.

Good old mindless, harmless fun with beautiful people. Let’s see what the next episodes will bring.

Fun trivia: My post isn’t the only thing the show has in common with J.J. Abrams. Merrin Dungey has a recurring guest role as Sara’s editor. Dungey starred as Sydney’s best friend on J.J. Abrams creation Alias.

 

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86 Responses to “Betrayal starring Stuart Townsend, Hannah Ware, Chris J. Johnson and James Cromwell: When Soapy Finds Good Acting & Chemistry”

  1. zoey says:

    Looking forward to seeing it:)

  2. mary says:

    I posted elsewhere about Unhitched….I did love it…and ST of course. I cannot imagine anything I would not like him in !!!!!!

  3. zoey says:

    :) I’m not a big fan of About Adam, but that’s because of his character. Such a scumbag. And he got away with it all…
    But it is nice seeing him regularly on Betrayal. Though currently my favorite guy on the show is Aidan the wine guy because he hasn’t ignored his wife (i know he doesn’t have one, just referring to Drew:D) or cheated on his wife yet…:)

  4. mary says:

    to me the best part was the ending….with him looking at the screen with that grin.
    It is a comedy after all I guess. I just enjoy seeing him.
    I agree…like that wine guy too. Will Jack find out about that visit to the wine cellar ????

  5. zoey says:

    He should:) And there should be more visits to that cellar. I like the actor that plays Aidan, Brendan Hines. He’s adorable. And even though he seems like such a nice guy, he’s already flawed- he was so flirting with a married woman. He might have genuine feelings (in addition to genuine sexual attraction), but he did go after a married woman. For all he knew, she doesn’t have a cheating husband. :D I love the greyness of the characters here.
    But I don’t understand people who are blindly supporting Drew. Yes, he is cute and generally a nice guy and didn’t deserve to be cheated on, but he did make a lot of mistakes. Ignoring the wife for 10 years will get a lot of guys cheated on, dumped or you know, at least ignored back. :D He was also undermining her career, her big night, her taste and needs all the time. I think this is why he wants her back after the initial anger is gone. He knows what he did (or didn’t) do. Good guy, not a great husband.

  6. mary says:

    Wonder if Elaine and the wine guy continue their involvement ??? and I agree what you state about Drew…..as Sara said……Jack came along at that certain time.
    ( and I am glad he did !! ) not that I am condoning what they did …but after all ..it is meant to entertain..and it does just that for me. !! will be awaiting its
    return on Dec 8 !!!!

  7. zoey says:

    It’s kind of like a birthday present to me, mine is December 7th. I hope they have a good episode;)

  8. mary says:

    mine is the 11th lol…a treat for both of us !! Jack was looking at the picture of him and Val…..hope he is not having second thoughts. I don’t think so…as Sara and Jack seem so in love. I loved his comment…..I’ll give you a lift…outlaw !!!
    I am wondering if Sara is shot by someone because of her and Jack…or…her new
    going after more dangerous photos with that reporter.

  9. Kathi says:

    I think the writers made Drew and Elaine likeable so the story would be more tragic. I DO NOT condone affairs in real life but they make terrific fiction!

  10. Kathi says:

    I didn’t care for the plot of ABOUT ADAM either but do enjoy looking at ST.

    Will Jack even care if Elaine has an affair?

  11. zoey says:

    If he cares, he’s a jerk. He made his own bed. Elaine could sleep with the whole city and he wouldn’t have a right to object:)

  12. zoey says:

    Exactly. Otherwise there wouldn’t be that much of a conflict, at least from the viewer’s point of view:) Although I have to say my favorite adultery-related fiction usually has a bad guy as the cheated party. Like Kevin Costner and Madeleine Stowe’s Revenge:)

  13. zoey says:

    I don’t think he has second thoughts, but I’m worried about his career at the moment. Cheating on your boss’s daughter, and then leaving like that? Thatcher will crush him financially.

  14. Kathi says:

    Thatcher is scary in so many ways. Would he shoot Sara because that would hurt Jack more than shooting Jack? Thatcher knows everything about Jack but if he goes after Jack, wouldn’t he be incriminating himself too?

  15. Kathi says:

    I hadn’t thought about Sara getting shot because of her job–that’s a definite possibility.

    Happy Birthdays, ladies!

    Don’t think Jack’s having second thoughts as he seemed to make a very clean break. There will always be doubts and regrets when you have kids though.

    A week from tomorrow!!!!!

  16. mary says:

    I never thought about what you said…..and it could happen. I know I read that Thatcher wants to settle the score with Jack. Just hope Sara and Jack survive.
    Couldn’t Jack open his own law office ?????l2cb

  17. mary says:

    I don’t think Jack will care even if he finds out about Elaine.

  18. zoey says:

    Thanks, Kathi! When is yours?

    Yeah, he had to leave. Actually he had to leave before he met Sara. Then he wouldn’t have hurt his wife, kids and his life, so much. It’s a good thing he and Elaine are still young. And that’s also one of the problems, he dived into the family-responsibility-family company thing way too young.

  19. zoey says:

    He could. But does he have savings? Launching your own business requires some investment, and he was so used to having a good life with kids. I’m not sure he had an exit plan or back-up savings. We’ll see. And he also needs clients, a good word of mouth. From what I’ve seen, Thatcher has to resources and drive to leave Jack clientless. Or maybe he can start working with people Thatcher screwed over. That’d work wonders:) Enemy of my enemy and all that…

  20. zoey says:

    He’ll have some respect from me if he doesn’t;)

  21. zoey says:

    That’s a good plan! Hurt the ones he loves…And since he can’t and won’t hurt his grandkids…

  22. Kathi says:

    Jack taking Thatcher’s enemies for clients is a good idea but would Thatcher put out a vendetta against them and Jack?

  23. Kathi says:

    As I wrote before, I think Thatcher will get Jack where it hurts the most: Sara.

  24. zoey says:

    He might. He’s also pissed about his daughter.

  25. Kathi says:

    Yep. That’s the most dangerous aspect of what Jack did in Thatcher’s eyes. Thinking about this is scary….there’s no way that Thatcher will let Jack be happy. I don’t have a good feeling about this!

  26. mary says:

    HI…get your fill of turkey?? had a great time with my family. Most enjoyable.
    Read the comments about Jack..and Thatcher. ..and how you think he will hurt Jack…
    where it hurts the most…Sara. Did he hire someone to shoot Sara? cannot wait til
    next Sunday !!!!!

  27. zoey says:

    But, in Thatcher’s defense, Jack quit out of the blue, without warning, right after a shocking trial. Then it turned out he was cheating on his daughter. Even if I wasn’t a gangsterish businessman, I’d want to kick his ass!! Granted, I wouldn’t hire someone to shoot the girlfriend, but I’d find legal ways to make him miserable :D

  28. zoey says:

    Bring Sunday on!:)

  29. mary says:

    I keep thinking back to the one interview ST did…..where he seemed to say that things would be ok…but….scary along the way. ..not pretty he said.
    Just hope all ends well for them.

  30. Kathi says:

    Yep, can’t wait!

    Mary: glad you had a good holiday!

  31. Kathi says:

    I don’t know…..we know that Sara gets shot, so????

  32. zoey says:

    Yeah, me too. Though for me to be completely happy with their ending, I need Aidan to turn out to be an awesome guy and end up with the wife;)

  33. mary says:

    Kathi…..hope you had a good holiday also……let’s countdown to Sunday now !!!!!!

  34. Kathi says:

    I know I like the idea of the older woman with the younger man!

  35. Kathi says:

    And that’s why it’s a good show because we’re anxious to see what happens and we care about the characters.

  36. mary says:

    not a bad idea…..to have the wine guy with Elaine. and keep voting….

    http://www.peopleschoice.com/pca/vote/votenow.jsp

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