Pilot Perception: Notorious

Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show – here Notorious – in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.

The Show: Notorious, ABC in the U.S. and CTV in Canada, Thursdays at 9/8c

The Pedigree: The show was created and written by Josh Berman (Drop Dead Diva) and Allie Hagan (Suri’s Burn Book). The pilot was directed by Michael Engler (Downton Abbey).

The Cast & How You Know Them: Notorious stars Piper Perabo (Covert Affairs) and Daniel Sunjata (Graceland), along with Kate Jennings Grant (Alpha House), J. August Richards (Angel), Ryan Guzman (Heroes Reborn), Sepideh Moafi (Black Box), Kevin Zegers (Gossip Girl), and Aimee Teegarden (Friday Night Lights).

The Premise: A TV producer and defense attorney work together to try to control both the media and the justice system.

A Taste:


What Works: If you like watching attractive people do terrible things, have I got the show for you! That sounds sarcastic but isn’t, entirely: I get a certain guilty-pleasure satisfaction in people doing a really good job of executing nefarious plans, and some parts of this premiere played exactly to that. The cast is talented and if anything elevates the material. I don’t think this is good by any stretch of the imagination, but I enjoyed it enough that I’ll watch another episode or two.

What Doesn’t: First of all: Nothing in this premiere suggested that the leads or most of the main characters were good people, or even decent or not-terrible people. Personally, I don’t need good or likeable characters if a show offers something else that hooks me, but I know this is a sticking point for many viewers, both in general and regarding this show in particular. I had more of a problem with the flat writing and the lack of clear motivations for many of the characters.

Our Favorite Line: “You’re cute, but I’m reading.” “The Economics of Corporate Law. If you don’t give me five minutes, I’m gonna ruin the ending.”

You Might Like This if you like soapy stories about the intersection of the media, politics, and other famous people — sort of Scandal meets The Newsroom.

If You’re Interested: Watch the pilot on demand or on the ABC or CTV, then set your DVR for Thursday at 9/8c.

(Photo courtesy of ABC.)

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