April 10, 2013



ROGUE:  Wednesday 9PM on Audience Network (DirecTV only)

A lot can happen between the creation of a TV pilot in the spring and the production of episodes for the regular season: a writing/producing team is hired, audience focus groups weigh in, networks and studios (which may have had their own turnover) give plenty of notes, helpful and otherwise, and critics begin to rear their ugly heads. The results can include changes to tone, pace, casting, and even story. Here at THE SKED, we’re going to look past the pilots and present reviews of the first regular season episodes as well.’

Previously… on ROGUE:  There’s a connection between whoever gunned down the 7 year-old son of undercover police detective Grace Travis (Thandie Newton) and whoever is trying to kill Oakland’s Hungarian mob boss Jimmy Laszlo (Martin Czokas), the target of her investigation.  So Grace, although suspended from the force, has gone… you guessed it, working with Laszlo (who now knows she’s a cop) to find their common enemy while running afoul of her husband and daughter as well as every cop with whom she comes into contact, most notably Captain Hernandez (Claudia Fern) and Detective Gibson (Ian Hart), who had been running her undercover operation and who now uses her as a CI.  Meanwhile, on top of the plot against him, Jimmy has to deal with his hotheaded, ambitious son Alec (Joshua Sasse) and Alec’s Lady Macbethian wife Cathy (Leah Gibson).

Episode 2:  The first two-hour installment of Rogue concluded with Alec blowing up the headquarters of the local Asian mob under the belief that they were the ones who tried to kill his father.  This was a bad idea because (a) it wasn’t them, and (b) there were cops in the place when he set off the bomb.  Most of tonight’s episode dealt with the aftereffects of that mistake, culminating in Alec’s completely unsurprising decision to kill his own men who’d set the bomb as scapegoats in order to satisfy the rival mob.  The rest mostly consisted of Grace bickering with husband, daughter, Gibson and Laszlo as she continued her relentless quest for the truth.

Rogue‘s second episode, written by Consulting Producer Angus Fraser and directed by Larysa Kondracki, was no better than its first.  The dialogue is flat and cliched, the show seems to have been photographed through a layer of sludge, and aside from Newton (and guest star Martin Donovan as a senior cop), the acting is mediocre or worse.  The only way that the show seems to be trying to distinguish itself from a million other dreary cop shows is in the explicitness of its sex scenes (this week mercifully featuring Alec and his wife and not Ian Hart), which push the envelope by featuring full-frontal men as well as women.  But if that’s what you’re looking for on TV, there are more efficient vehicles for its delivery than a lousy crime drama.

DirecTV doesn’t report viewing figures for its shows and neither does Nielsen, so it’s impossible to know if Rogue is doing any business, but the responsible thing to do is root against it, since it otherwise might encourage the nascent programming service to make more of the same.  Hopefully the satellite network will remember its days of Friday Night Lights (and give an eye to what Netflix is doing) and try to do better next time.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."