The Player: First Impressions

NBC series The Player looks like it will prove to be a bit of a hit-and-miss with the gamblers (pardon the pun).

Having already been reduced from a thirteen-episode run to only nine episodes, things are not looking good for Philip Winchester a.k.a. Alex Kane in what I thought would be a great action-packed series after Winchester’s stellar performance in Strike Back. However, looks can, after all, be deceiving.

The Player follows former security expert Alex Kane as he navigates his role as ‘The Player’ for ‘The House’, a shady Las Vegas organisation with a Person of Interest-type artificial intelligence computer that predicts crime before it happens. Kane’s role? To stop the crime before it happens,  whilst pleasing a plethora of wealthy clientele who ‘bet’ on whether he beats the odds and takes out the bad guys, before they take out him. But Kane is not alone, helping him his ‘dealer’ Cassandra (Charity Wakefield), a British bombshell who is also a tech-wiz. And breathing down both their necks is ‘pit boss’ Mr Johnson (Wesley Snipes) whose role it appears is to be as equally condescending as shady.

But just as marital woes proved to be a problem for Winchester’s character Michael Stonebridge in Strike Back, it looks like the same thing has come back to plague Winchester in The Player, with Kane’s wife supposedly knocked-off in the first episode.

For a former FBI agent I believe, Kane’s performance as ‘The Player’ is awfully underwhelming. He ran his own security business, but can’t seem to break away from his reliance on dealer and tech-wiz Cassandra. Quite pathetic, really.

The only thing that’s keeping me tuned in every Tuesday evening is the mystery surrounding Ginny’s ‘death’. It’s intriguing she may still be alive, and perhaps even more intriguing is Cassandra’s relation to Ginny.

Formerly titled Endgame, ratings may prove to be the endgame for this disappointing NBC series, that also makes me question Winchester’s versatility as an actor.

It seems Winchester has had a bad deal as former Strike Back co-stars Sullivan Stapleton and Rhona Mitra enjoy ratings success with their new shows Blindspot and The Last Ship.

But stay tuned, I’ll be back with my final review soon.

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