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Cinemax Introduces the Latest Anti-Hero – Carla Gugino's 'Jett'
June 14, 2019  | By David Hinckley

Daisy “Jett” Kowalski is one of the lucky inmates who comes out of prison with a skill that’s marketable in the free world.

Unfortunately, it’s the same skill that put her in prison in the first place.

So after Daisy has been out for a while, making a sort-of living as a part-time bartender, she gets an offer that could earn her some real money. All she has to do is channel her con woman past.

She hesitates because she really really really doesn’t want to go back to prison. She spent several years there and didn’t like it. Still, she thinks about the offer and decides to take it because, well, she wants her daughter to have a better life.  

Most viewers can guess what happens next, the part where things don’t go as hoped and easy money can be a hard lift.

So it’s an intense and violent world into which Carla Gugino (top) finds herself catapulted as the title character in Jett, a nine-episode crime action thriller that premieres Friday at 10 p.m. ET on Cinemax.

Jett walks in the combat boots of previous Cinemax shows like Strike Back, except the testosterone that has become a running signature for those late-night dramas has to share the limelight this time, thanks to the interesting new wrinkle of a female lead character.

Do not worry, however, late-night weekend action fans. Jett upholds the dirty, profane, and often extralegal tradition admirably. It’s fast-paced, intense, and engaging, with the added bonus that we don’t see all the sex scenes only from the guy’s side.

Specifically, Jett finds herself caught in a potentially lethal crunch between rival bad guy kingpins Charlie Baudelaire (Giancarlo Esposito) and Jackie Dillon (Michael Aronov).

Charlie, with whom Jett had a relationship years earlier, now becomes the one who convinces her that this one more job, with its oversized payday, can set her up to really and truly get out of the con game and do something more legal with her life. She might even be able to quit bartending.

Jackie is on the other side of this adventure, and unfortunately for Charlie and Jett, he’s smart enough to get one step ahead of their game.

Thus Jett’s dilemma.

In any event, both Charlie and Jackie are classic menacing alpha males, with few traces of sentimentality and little evident interest in incidental matters like human life.

Gugino’s Jett has visible human emotions, which increases her vulnerability. Still, she doesn’t come into this dangerous world unarmed. While she’s not averse to employing old-school feminine wiles, she also shows some serious skills in more traditional types of weaponry.  

Truth is, women have been kicking a lot more tail on TV the last few years, from Maggie Q’s Hannah Wells on Designated Survivor to Jaimie Alexander’s Jane Doe on Blindspot. Jett fits right into that crew, even as she must navigate a narrow and treacherous passageway.

Gugino, who is an executive producer of the series and is married to creator Sebastian Gutierrez, develops Jett as a fascinating antihero – seriously flawed, but sympathetic enough that we can root for her without feeling like we’ve abandoned all decency.

If she had an entrance song, like relief pitchers in baseball, it could be “Tougher Than the Rest.”

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