Watching the first episode of Wild Cards, I was immediately reminded of Private Eyes. Criminally cancelled too soon, the Jason Priestley/Cindy Sampson series had the same spunk and heart Wild Cards has. Turns out that makes sense, as many of the behind-the-scenes folks involved worked on Private Eyes too.
Debuting Wednesday at 8 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem, Wild Cards is charming, light and full of fun. Created by Michael Konyves (Bad Blood) Wild Cards features demoted big-city detective Cole Ellis (Giacomo Gianniotti, Murdoch Mysteries), who is paired with clever con woman Max Mitchell (Vanessa Morgan, Degrassi, Saving Hope), to solve crimes.
With a whos-who of producers in Private Eyes‘ James Genn, Shawn Piller, Lloyd Segan and writers Alexandra Zarowny, James Thorpe—and Wynonna Earp‘s Noelle Carbone and Coroner‘s Morwyn Brebner—there is plenty to like writing-wise. And the casting and lead cast chemistry is spot-on.
When we first meet Max, she’s plotting to rob a rich woman of her fortune. Caught by the police, Max is hauled into the police station for questioning by Cole, who was called in from harbour duty—the bulk of his days are filled giving tickets to wayward boaters—when the third in a string of high-profile thefts take place. With all hands on deck to solve the crimes, Cole is relegated to handling Max. Overhearing the police chief (Terry Chen) describe the circumstances of the latest heist, Max divulges to Cole what she thinks the thief will do next. She’s right, and the City Commissioner teams the two up. Solve the case, and Cole is back on the beat he wants and Max gets probation. Win-win, right?
While Cole is by the book, Max’s unique set of skills is key to capturing the baddie. I wasn’t even halfway through Wednesday’s pilot, “The Infinity Thief,” and was already enjoying the back-and-forth repartee between Gianniotti and Morgan. Morgan’s Max is sassy and smart, going over the top with clothing, accents and charm to gather intel while Cole tries to keep up.
I won’t ruin the ending of the episode, but the storyline does involve twins, priceless art and one of many appearances by the aforementioned Jason Priestley, who checks in as Max’s dad, George. This new series is wild, and I’m loving it.
Wild Cards airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem.
Images courtesy of CBC.