(CW, 2011)

Bridget Kelly, a stripper, prostitute and former addict in Wyoming, is the FBI's only witness to a murder. On the eve of her testimony, she bolts -- running to the only family she has, her estranged twin sister Siobhan, who's living an upscale life in New York.

When Siobhan abruptly kills herself, Bridget takes the only avenue of escape she can see -- she pretends to be her sister, hoping to fool Siobhan's husband and stepdaughter, their friends and the FBI agent on her tail long enough for the heat to die down.

The masquerade quickly becomes even more complicated as Bridget discovers that Siobhan was pregnant, that Siobhan was having a long-term affair with her best friend's husband, that a good friend of Bridget's has gone missing in Wyoming, and that someone is apparently trying to kill Siobhan, too.

Oh, and Bridget doesn't get clued into this one, but viewers quickly learn that Siobhan wasn't a very nice person -- and she ain't actually dead.

Ringer was a short-lived TV series that, like so many good programs, got axed too soon. The 22 episodes comprising its one and only season make for entertaining watching, in part because the writers really know how to take the plot in unexpected directions.

The show has a strong cast, too, led by former teen vampire slayer Sarah Michelle Gellar, who plays both Siobhan and Bridget as distinctly different characters. Others in the cast include Ioan Gruffudd as Siobhan's husband, Andrew Martin; Zoey Deutch as Andrew's daughter, Juliet; Kristoffer Polaha and Tara Summers as Siobhan's lover Henry Butler and her bosom pal Gemma; and Nestor Carbonell as FBI agent Victor Machado.

There are plenty more elements at play here, including Andrew's ex-wife, Bridget's old Narcotics Anonymous sponsor in Wyoming (to say nothing of her new one in New York), Andrew's ambitious business partner, their European field operative, Siobhan's old chauffeur and Juliet's favorite high school teacher.

But center stage throughout the series is Bridget's growing relationship with Andrew and Juliet. It's tough to fool the people closest to you, but she makes it work -- at first because she needs to maintain her cover, but eventually because she wants to be Siobhan and have the life that her sister gave up.

My wife and I approached the series cautiously but were quickly engrossed in the story. For those who give it a try, though, be warned -- you're probably going to love those 22 episodes, but the final chapter resolves only some of the many plot lines that were going, and it opens one or two more. You're going to wish for another season.

review by
Tom Knapp

9 March 2013

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