Sunday, March 11, 2018

Pilot Review: The Oath

The Oath (Crackle)
Premiered March 8

It’s probably easier to find corrupt cops on television than honest ones, and therefore a show about a group of rival police gangs is hardly a stretch. This pilot opened in a very intense manner, with the three bank robbers climbing into a police car once they made their exit and then emerging in their plainclothes with badges around their necks. To think that they got taken down by security camera footage might seem too easy, but there are so many officers and detectives on the take that they likely assumed that whatever was captured would be deleted or buried by someone looking out for them. It’s hard to imagine this leading anywhere good, since this team couldn’t kill the plant in their unit like Vic Mackey did in the first episode of “The Shield” due to his being publicly assigned to them for that reason, and now they’ve gone ahead and caused a death that their newest member is going to have to be complicit in rather than calling it in to his unsympathetic superior. While Sean Bean of “Game of Thrones” fame is a notable cast member with top billing due to his recognizable status, I also spotted but had a hard time fully identifying Ryan Kwanten, the Australian actor best known in the United States first for the CW’s “Summerland” and then for his role as the affable idiot Jason Stackhouse on “True Blood.” He couldn’t be more different as the hardest leader of this police gang, anchoring a show that isn’t all that bad but is mired in darkness and grittiness. Some of the social antics are hard to take, particularly Agent Byrd’s tough time fitting in or even trying to be low-key in his undercover job and every word that came out of Price’s mouth regarding her opinion on her family and her job. It was nice to see the acknowledgment of the people of Puerto Rico and their involvement in the filming process, and this show, while not one I’d put at the top of my list, definitely knows what it wants to be and what it can offer as a series.

How will it work as a series? Now that Byrd is in too deep, he’s going to have to start lying to his superiors and doing his best to stay afloat to avoid mutually assured destruction with his marks. There’s sure to be a lot of death and a good deal of beatings along the way, and maybe these guys can actually survive the treacherous world that they’re partially responsible for creating.
How long will it last? Having 50 Cent on board as an executive producer is a positive, as is this show’s similarity to another Crackle series that was renewed last year for a second season, “Snatch.” Ratings data surely won’t be available from this streaming service, and the limited reviews that I’ve been seeing don’t indicate overwhelming affection for the show. Still, I think that this one will be a hit and end up getting renewed.

Pilot grade: B-

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