Marius Josipovic (Giovanni Ribisi) is an expert scammer who spends several years in jail listening to his cellmate, Pete Murphy (Ethan Embry) talking about his happy childhood at his grandparents' house, a family he hasn't seen for 20 years. Upon leaving prison, Marius appropriates Pete's identity and impersonates him by going to the grandparents' house to escape the clutches of Vince (Bryan Cranston), a gangster from the New York game. Soon he gains the trust of the family and they give him work in his bail bonds agency and guarantees. He juggles his debt with Vince, who also has Eddie (Michael Drayer), Marius' brother, as insurance and threat in case he doesn't get his money. The dramatic tension of these two edges generates an interesting attraction throughout the first season: on the one hand, that the Bernhardt family does not discover that it is not Pete, and on the other, the insistence of the gangster to recover his money or kills Eddie .
Legend has it that during a speech at the Emmy Awards gala, Bryan Cranston spoke of his family's nickname: "Sneaky Pete," something like elusive, could be translated. Mote that came by the tendency of the great Bryan to take shortcuts in life, look for the easiest during his troubled adolescence, until, of course, he found acting as a true vocation. The day after that speech, a Sony executive contacted Cranston to develop an idea from those experiences and so it was that, on the recommendation of Vince Gilligan (creator of Breaking Bad), the actor joined the project to David Shore ( creator of House MD) as showrunner.
So they wrote a pilot chapter for the CBS that was rejected, but without lowering their arms, Sony offered the project to the streaming platforms and Amazon put the money, but asking for a second pilot with some changes: it used to be a case series by chapter of the world of bonds and guarantees, now should be something more serialized. With this new approach, Shore resigns and assumes as a new showrunner, along with Graham Yost (Band of Brothers, Justified, The Pacific). Now, with a new pilot ready, see the light in August 2015 on Amazon, in a mode that has the streaming platform where the pilots can be voted by the public and kicks off for Amazon to commission the entire season thanks to The approval of your subscribers.
The series handles the scams with a thousand turning points and comes to remind us of Ocean’s Eleven (1960) without its glamor, Now You See Mee (2013) with more wave or Nine queens (2000) without the chamuyo argento. The richest of the series is in the construction of the characters and the relationships between them, with great level in the performances, especially the interpretations of Ribisi, a great actor for me, but who lacks “the role” of his life, the one that marks it as it happened to Cranston with Walter White. The other great actress who eats the series is Margo Martindale, who puts herself in the shoes of Audrey Bernhardt, the matriarch of the family. A strong, temperamental woman without a zonza hair. The story begins to revolve around Marius, but little by little each character in the family evolves with interesting secondary plots and the creation of a world of lies that intersect and cover themselves at the same time.
Reinforcing what I said about the relationships between the characters, Marius assumes Pete's identity to escape his past, and looks forward to cheating the Bernhardt family to pay off his debt to Vince. He is a scammer, a bad person, but the conflict is that he will slowly find reasons to be a good person, to be part of a family. Family that keeps its secrets, secrets of each other, and soon, over three seasons, Marius will be involved in them. Everyone wants to know the secrets of others, but without revealing their own. Lies and family go hand in hand, and as they say: "the family is not chosen" but Marius will find in the solidarity of these beings the family he wants to choose.
With only three seasons, and one of Amazon's best punctuated little was heard of Sneaky Pete, why? One assumes that Amazon is not yet a popular platform in Argentina and does not have the advertising that Netflix or HBO have. This series, with Bryan Cranston as creator and producer, perhaps on some other platform would have had a greater impact.
A good original series to enjoy, with endings that unite all plot lines very well and well marked and made turning points. A pity that there is no fourth season, but with what there is will be well remembered. Or at least I expect that from a covered series that surprised me. It may not be the best series in history or much more, but he knew how to maintain the tension until the end, something that not many achieve.