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The Biggest Secret of Bravo’s ‘Imposters’ Is Whether It’s a Drama or a Comedy
February 7, 2017  | By David Hinckley

Just in its first episode, Bravo’s new series Imposters (Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET) reaches several critical junctures where it needs to choose between being a dark drama and a tongue-in-cheek comedy.

It never does. It refuses to choose. So here we are.

Impostersrevolves around Maddie, who, like most of the other characters, is played by a relative newcomer, Inbar Lavi (below).

She’s the point person for a team of con artists who target single rich men. Maddie moves in, each time with a different identity, and gets them to fall in love with her. Sometimes marry her.

Then one day when their back is turned, she cleans them out. Bank accounts, mortgages, credit cards, pensions, anything to which they have lovingly given her access.

All she leaves is a video posting on their computer, telling them they will spend the rest of their lives wondering how they could have been so blind and never trusting anyone.

It’s a taunt, really, a superfluous cheap shot that suggests Maddie harbors an Olympian level of arrogance.

You can see where the dark drama option is on the table.

And oh yes, the first guy we see her scam, Ezra (Rob Heaps, below, left in photo), doesn’t deserve it. He’s a romantic, a nice fellow who always wanted to become a writer, but ended up drifting back to run HR at the big company owned by his successful parents.

He met Maddie, then calling herself Ava, at a restaurant in Paris, where he was dining alone.

He wasn’t even being targeted for himself. He was being targeted for his family money, and for sins committed elsewhere in the family.

It turns out this gang goes after people who have skeletons in their closets, though that’s not because they’re some sort of moral equalizers. They know that people with secrets are less likely to go to the police and risk having those secrets exposed.

How any of this morphs into laughs is hard to describe. But it does. Small moments like the depressed Ezra being urged to start showering again assure us that laughter can germinate in the deepest gloom.

Then Ezra meets one of Maddie’s earlier victims, Richard (Parker Young, far right), who has been equally wronged and is even riper comic material, because he has a dense side about three feet thick.

Richard must have been the easiest mark ever. We feel for him, but he makes Ezra, and us, roll our eyes a lot.

Add some interesting supporting players, like Ezra’s family and the rest of Maddie’s con team, and Imposters doesn’t always lead us where we might expect.

Where ABC’s The Catch turned a charmer’s con game into a soap opera, Imposters busies itself more with the parallel paths of the cat and the mice.  

It also clearly is going to tease out several critical questions, like the identity of the mysterious “Doctor” who runs Maddie’s team and provides the intel on their marks – for 70% of the take.

It all makes us interested in knowing more about the characters, getting more details on exactly how Maddie works, and seeing exactly where the writers are going to think we need to pause for a laugh.

And maybe in the end Maddie will end up broke and busted and Ezra will find true love in another Paris restaurant, like Diane Keaton found with Jack Nicholson in Something’s Gotta Give.

Hey, stranger things have happened, and Imposters feels like a show that at all sorts of odd little moments might embrace strange.

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