Will the “Red Widow” Survive the Mafia’s and TV’s Hit List?

Red Widow

A Review of ABC’s “Red Widow” by Tiffany A. White

First of all, the television series I am about to review is called Red Widow… not Red “Window” like I thought for months prior to its premiere. Red Widow makes so much more sense. Anyway, what is Red Widow?

Life is great for housewife and mother Marta Walraven (Radha Mitchell from Silent Hill and The Crazies)—she lives a very comfortable life, has a nice house and lavish things, and a beautiful family complete with a doting husband and spoiled children. It’s not until her husband is murdered and the FBI comes knocking that she begins questioning her family’s business… of crime. Will she resort to her family’s ways, something she’s personally steered clear of until now, or will she join forces with the authorities investigating her family? One thing’s certain—she will avenge her husband’s death and protect her children at all costs.

First of all, I couldn’t help but think during the first twenty minutes of the pilot that it was a shame that Evan Walraven (Anson Mount, Hell on Wheels) had to die. With his long hair tied back into a ponytail and his salt and pepper beard, he was nice to look at. Plus, his character attracted me from a more compelling standpoint as well. Despite the fact he was a mobster, he appeared to have scruples and wanted to stay away from bad business deals as much as possible. He loved his family and was willing to do anything to keep them safe.

The same can’t be said about his wife, Marta. Not only did Marta welcome Evan into her family when she married him, she’s technically the one responsible for his life of crime. Yet, this woman is clueless; delusional, really. She has no idea what it means to truly “get out,” or if it’s even possible. She thinks her husband can just stop, but he can’t. If she wants to live a life free from her family’s business, they will have to leave everyone and everything behind.

Now enters the predictability… Evan agrees to Marta’s ultimatum, they make love, and he’s shot and killed the next morning in their driveway. We knew he was going to die from the premise of the story, but some of the dialogue was just so weak that I actually rolled my eyes.

But back to the story…

After her husband’s death, Marta hesitantly jumps in where he left off. Again, she’s delusional… thinking she can do this one job (correct her brother’s mistakes, that he has so conveniently blamed on her dead husband) and move on. Even the most naïve person knows the mob doesn’t work that way. But this is television, so let’s not hold it to too high a standard; otherwise, how will it be entertaining?

So, in addition to coping with the loss of her beloved, helping her children heal (especially the little one who witnessed the shooting and has buried the memories), fixing her brother’s bad deal (that she thinks is her husband’s fault), trying to deliver what her brother stole from the bad guy (Nicholae Schiller, played by Goran Visnjic from ER), and cooperating at a very low level with the FBI, Marta seems like a woman who has her act together.

But she doesn’t. And sadly, I don’t feel sorry for her. I simply don’t like the character. I will watch Red Widow, mainly because it’s only something like eight episodes long… but I won’t jump into the program twenty minutes after its start time like I do with shows like Revenge (so I can skip commercials and end “live” so the online chats don’t spoil the episode for me). Instead, I’ll catch up with Marta and her mess when there’s nothing better on or when I’m looking for something to listen to while I’m falling asleep.

I really wanted to like this television series. Not only is Red Widow produced and written by Melissa Rosenberg, the head writer behind the first four seasons of Dexter AND the woman responsible for the Twilight franchise screenplays, but also because I love stories about the mob. Heck, I’ve only stayed up-to-date with General Hospital over the years because I love the mafia storylines. But there is just something missing here…

Oh, and the new series also stars a few very familiar faces: Clifton Collins Jr. (The Event) as FBI Agent James Ramos; Luke Goss (the Death Race movies) as Luther; Suleka Mathew (Hawthorne) as Dina Tomlin; Jaime Ray Newman (Eastwick and Eureka) as Kat Castillo; Lee Tergesen (Oz and Generation Kill) as Mike Tomlin; and Rade Serbedzija (24) as Andrei Petrov.

But it’s still not enough. A part of me can’t help but think 666 Park Avenue was cancelled to partner Red Widow with Revenge on Sunday nights… I can see how a drama series like this might work better with Emily and her vengeance, but the residents at the sinister apartment building attracted me far more than Marta has after three hours. And it’s a shame to think ABC yanked Zero Hour after only three episodes and is leaving this on… but that’s only my opinion.


Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery “Football Sweetheart” series. She blogs at The Ooo Factor and is available for contact via Twitter at @Tiffany_A_White, Facebook at Tiffany A. White, or by email at tiffany@tiffanyawhite.com.

© 2013 Tiffany A. White. All written content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

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