Women reign supreme over at the kingdom that is ABC Thursday Night, and a newbie has emerged. But does a non-Shondaland production even stand a chance? Notorious is trying its darndest to be the next Scandal, and it seems to be working…for now.
It begins with a bang. And I mean that literally. “That’s what I call a homecoming,” says an anonymous male, and I can tell I already hate him. Before our blonde heroine Julia George (Piper Perabo) can kick him out (that’s what she was going to do, right? He made a sex pun, for crying out loud), she realizes it’s 4:46 p.m. and she’s running late. She bids her boyfriend, who we learn has just been promoted to federal judge, goodbye and swoops in to save the day as her PA Megan (Sepideh Moafi) tells her “Louise is locked in her office.”
We’re soon introduced to Julia’s boss: Louise Herrick (Kate Jennings Grant), star of Louise Herrick Live, the no. 1 cable news program in the country. Louise isn’t actually locked in her office; she’s lounging on a chaise wearing lingerie and entertaining a boy toy, who tells Julia, “I like your vibe. Hey boss lady, how do you like your meat?” OMG with the sexual puns.
Even though it has Louise’s name, the show is clearly Julia’s baby. She’s like the Leslie Knope of the news world. (There’s even confusion in her office as to whether a guest is named Gary or Jerry!) The guest on tonight’s LHL is Jake Gregorian (Daniel Sunjata), a smooth-talking criminal-defense attorney with a car worthy of a Ferris Bueller joy ride, aviators probably worth more than your house, and best of all, dimples you could swim in.
As the show-within-the-show is about to begin, we get some breaking news that is pretty much going to set the tone for the entire episode (and possibly the whole first season): Internet mogul Oscar Keaton (Kevin Zegers as a hot Mark Zuckerberg, basically) has been issued an arrest warrant for fleeing the crime scene of a hit-and-run. And what do you know, Jake Gregorian is his friend and lawyer. How convenient!
Louise appears to ambush him, “breaking” the news that Oscar is surrendering to police live on air, and Jake angrily storms out in a fit of rage at the thought of being set up. But it’s all an act! OMG (again!), what a twist. This is just like Fight Club. “I had to plant the seeds of doubt before the country rushed to judgment,” Jake explains to Julia. LHL got the scoop and they’re trending, so everyone’s happy. As for the Jake/Julia duo, I’m hesitant to give in to this “will-they-or-won’t-they” vibe going on — it’s being shoved pretty ferociously down our throats — but I will say the two have great chemistry, so eventually, maybe, we can root for them.
Anyway, Jake heads to the police station to visit Oscar, who vehemently denies any involvement even though it was his car. He does, however, admit to oooone little thing: Despite the fact that he’s supposed to be sober, there did happen to be a secret stash of cocaine in the car used in the hit-and-run. You know, for a friend. Before Jake can comment, the episode drops bomb no. 2: The hit-and-run victim has died and Oscar’s being charged with second-degree murder. Dun dun duuuun.
Meanwhile, back at Gregorian & Gregorian, Jake’s law office that he runs with his brother Bradley (J. August Richards), bomb no. 3 drops: Jake is in love with Oscar’s wife, Sarah (Dilshad Vadsaria). May I suggest a new drinking game called Notori-Shots: Take a shot every time an unexpected twist is revealed…or don’t. It could get ugly. So, yeah, there is so much backstory we need now: How did Oscar and Jake become friends? Was it before or after his affair with Sarah? Even though Sarah pays Oscar’s bail, the awkward hand placement between the two says a lot about the state of their marriage. Jake must be low-key thrilled.
NEXT: Secrets and lies