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The thrill of the chase is coming to TGIT.
The newest show from Shonda Rhimes’s production company is debuting Thursday night in the 10 p.m. slot vacated by How to Get Away With Murder. The Catch is a dizzy, fizzy romantic caper starring Mireille Enos (The Killing) as Alice Vaughn, a kickass private investigator whose world is turned upside down when she discovers her fiancé (Peter Krause) is a con man. He steals her life savings and endangers the firm she owns with partner Valerie Anderson (Rose Rollins).
That sets off the chase, as Alice tries to track down Ben.”It’s action-packed, it’s fun filled,” showrunner Allan Heinberg tells Yahoo TV. “There are a lot of revelations, a lot of sex, a lot of romance, a lot of secrets.”
The Catch has undergone a total overhaul after its original creator departed the production. But the end result is a show that is different from its Shondaland siblings, but fits into the TGIT landscape with a blend of mystery, romance, and smart people solving problems.
Here are eight things to know about The Catch:
1. It’s a completely different show from the initial concept.
The Catch started out as a drama about forensic accountants. The pilot, written by Jennifer Schuur, was picked up by Shondaland and filmed in Austin, Texas. But after it was ordered to series, Schuur left the show over creative differences and the pilot was retooled by Shondaland vet Heinberg.
“I did not know enough about forensic accounting to write a show about that,” Heinberg explains. “Originally it was a dark, moody, Hitchcockian thriller, and while I love the idea of that, my sensibility tends to be a little more romantic comedy and a little more pop.”
He wanted The Catch to be more of a romantic comedy caper, “in the Charade, Ocean’s Eleven vein.”
“I wanted it to be stylish and sexy and fun.”
2. Two of the main roles were recast, too.
In the original pilot, newcomer Damon Dayoub played Alice’s no-good fiancé, while Bethany Joy Lenz was his wife. Even before Heinberg came on board, Parenthood star Peter Krause (a hot commodity once the NBC drama ended its run) replaced Dayoub. Lenz’s role was tweaked and taken by Lost alum Sonya Walger.
“The reason I think that happened were more about finding an age-appropriate partner for [Enos],” Heinberg says. “There was a bit of an age gap between Damon and Mireille. I think, in terms of two people cat-and-mousing each other, they felt like they wanted someone who was more in her age range, to even the scales a little bit.”
3. The Catch has a lighter tone than its Shondaland siblings.
Don’t get us wrong — The Catch still boasts secrets and betrayals (would it be a Shonda show without them?), but Heinberg deliberately set out to make it different from its TGIT bedfellows.
“I spent years working on Grey’s Anatomy and years working on Scandal, and my best friend is Pete Nowalk, who created How to Get Away With Murder, so I’m intimately involved with all three of those shows. I wanted to try to do something different — something that is structurally and spiritually akin to those shows, but I was really looking for a change,” he says. “I didn’t want to go as dark as Murder is, and the political realm was already being explored by Scandal. So, I thought the one thing we don’t have, and that I kind of haven’t seen in a long time, is a romantic caper. I hope it fits in!”
4. It’s not THAT different, though.
As we said, The Catch still has all the shocking secrets and brutal betrayals that fans are obsessed with in Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder. And there are other similarities, since Heinberg went from working in the Scandal writers room one day to running The Catch the next.
“I think the way that Alice Vaughn and her team work together is not unlike the way that Olivia Pope and her team work together. I think the rhythms are kind of similar,” he says.
The other thing he took away from his time on the other Shonda shows is “a strong female friendship at the center of the show, which Grey’s Anatomy definitely has.” Heinberg also mentioned Olivia and Abby’s friendship on Scandal.
5. Alice and Ben could be the next Meredith and Derek and Olivia and Fitz.
A forbidden romance lies at the heart of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, and in the same vein, that’s what kicks off The Catch. And like those romances, this one will be a rollercoaster ride. But if you’re worried that the actual “catching” could take seasons — well, don’t, Heinberg assures.
“I don’t believe in delaying gratification for the sake of keeping the show alive. In terms of like, ‘Oh, we’re not going to get them together until the end of eason 7’ — that was never a possibility for us,” he says. “For me, it was about, what are the most surprising ways to get them together and keep them apart, and once they are together, how do they stay together?”
6. Alice and Ben aren’t the only “catch me if you can” game afoot, either.
“I don’t want to give anything away, but they’re not the only cats and the only mice in our cast,” Heinberg teases. “Everybody’s working everybody else; everybody has an angle. Nobody can really be trusted in this world.”
7. The Catch doubles down on “the case of the week.”
Think Scandal’s OPA, but double the fun — because we get to see the good guys’ side and the bad guys’ side.
“Alice’s firm, Anderson Vaughn Investigations, is going to have a case of the week that they need to solve every week. And then the con man side, his team is going to have cons that range from three episodes long to sometimes one episode,” Heinberg explains. “So, you’re getting two procedural cases in almost every episode.”
8. Hold onto your hats — this is a really fast ride.
Scandal viewers know they can’t miss a second of any episode, because so much is packed into every moment. Heinberg didn’t intend to write The Catch at the pace of Scandal, but it’s turned out to be just as fast.
“We burn through story fairly quickly. Part of what makes Shonda a genius is that she doesn’t believe in withholding story at any point, and believes that there’s always more story around the corner,” he says. “We haven’t held anything back. We’re really just pulling out all the stops with this one.”
The Catch premieres Thursday, March 24 at 10 p.m. on ABC.