Monday, 27 June 2022

‘The Endgame’ thriller on NBC; Lifetime April movies



‘THE ENDGAME’ ON NBC

A new crime drama series on NBC, “The Endgame” is basically a psychological thriller involving two female adversaries on opposite sides of the law in a cat-and-mouse game playing out during a number of coordinated bank heists throughout New York City.

On the wrong end is Elena Federova (Morena Baccarin), recently captured international arms dealer and brilliant criminal mastermind. Her antagonist is Val Turner (Ryan Michelle Bathe), the principled, relentless and outsider FBI agent determined to foil any criminal plots.

Flashbacks abound to sketch details of both women’s backgrounds. Noticed as a child in war-torn Ukraine, Federova proves smarter and more cunning than those who wish her harm.

Driven by a desire to avenge her mother’s death, Turner is coping with the fact her moral rectitude required her to turn in her fellow agent husband Owen (Kamal Bolden) for taking bribes.

Depending upon one’s viewpoint within the agency, Turner is either viewed with suspicion by her superiors wondering if she is complicit in her husband’s alleged crimes or merely ostracized by fellow agents for breaking a code of loyalty.

In the first episode, Federova is brought by federal agents to a secure location at Fort Totten in Queens, New York, for an interrogation by high-level cabinet members of the U.S. government that ends up swirling around layers of obfuscation and deceit.

As Turner once had an encounter with Federova on a mission in Africa, only the outcast FBI agent has any real chance of breaking through the mystery shrouding the motives of the Ukrainian crime boss.

The smug Federova, often smirking her disdain for her captors, is tight-lipped about the series of well-orchestrated bank robberies taking place around the city but is more than eager to drop veiled threats against high-powered officials concealing their corrupt misdeeds.

On the inside of the FBI, Turner’s only ally is her partner Agent Flowers (Jordan Johnson-Hinds) who cautions her to avoid needless confrontations with their boss Patrick Doak (Noah Bean), who does not appreciate Turner’s insightful approach to dealing with Federova.

“The Endgame” might be a sexier version of the long-running “The Blacklist,” another NBC series with a strong resemblance to the concept of a sharp criminal mastermind focused on dealing with only one FBI agent.

In brief, Morena Baccarin, dressed glamorously in her imprisonment as if headed to a gala event, is, well, a whole lot more erotic than any of the criminals in that other series.

The question that only the viewer may answer is whether the battle of wits in the chess game between the two female adversaries holds enough suspense to hang for every chapter in this saga.

The jury remains out after the first couple of episodes as to what exactly is the endgame of the cat-and-mouse diversion and if we have the patience to find out.

THRILLERS AND CRIME DRAMA MOVIES ON LIFETIME

The month of April brings more crime drama and thriller movies to the Lifetime channel. “Fatal Fandom” finds pop star Eden Chase (Chaley Rose) enlisting the help of bodyguard Jackson Reed (Pete Ploszek) when she’s almost kidnapped by a crazed fan.

The handsome, brooding bodyguard moves into Eden’s home to become her full-time security. Soon, Eden realizes that Jackson has an unhealthy attachment to her as he turns out to be a predator harboring a dark secret from the past.

In “She Went Missing,” when investigative reporter Maya (Corbin Reid) learns that her childhood best friend has gone missing, she decides to cover the story herself.

But just as Maya’s return to her hometown unearths memories and rekindles past relationships, it also brings out a stalker. As her investigation deepens, the danger strikes closer and closer to home.

Will Maya uncover the truth about her friend’s disappearance? Or will Maya herself wind up being the next tragic news story? “She Went Missing” is apparently in the wheelhouse of Lifetime’s penchant for crime dramas.

Single lawyer Chastity Jeffries (Michelle Williams) meets Xavier Collins (Antonio Cupo), who appears to be everything she is looking for in a partner — handsome, smart and a lawyer as well – in “Wrath: A Seven Deadly Sins Story.”

As his affection turns to obsession, Chastity realizes she has been swept up by Xavier’s passion and abandoned her principles. Xavier’s jealousy and wrath lead to suspicious actions and dangerous threats.

Chastity confides in her mother Sarah (Tina Knowles-Lawson) and turns to her former childhood boyfriend Roger Thompkins (Romeo Miller) for help. In the end, Chastity will have to fight to save herself.

“The Walls Are Watching” may be prophetic for the actions of unemployed Theodore (Branscombe Richmond), who after losing his wife and son begs the bank to give him one more chance to keep his custom-built house.

Despite his pleading, the bank forecloses and auctions off his home to newlyweds Erica (Lana McKissack) and Mitch Brody (Brandon Ford Green). But before they can live happily ever after, Theodore unleashes a cat-and-mouse game of terror on the couple when they refuse to leave the home.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

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