ABC’s new mob drama Red Widow set to premiere March 3 at 9:00 p.m., contains the saddest, falsest excuse of a strong woman lead to carry a television series that has ever been written. The entire pilot episode is one taboo issue after another. With the writers hitting every sore subject in the book it will be a wonder if the show makes a full season.
The show is based around a mob family with Marta Walraven (Radha Mitchell) as the head-strong mother of three and devoted, blind-eyed wife to a drug-dealing husband. Oh, but don’t worry, Marta is used to the crime-riddled life style. Her father has been a head mobster for what may be considered her entire life.
Her husband, who is partners with Marta’s slimy brother, Irwin Petrova (Wil Traval), and their friend Mike Tomlin (Lee Tergesen), is part of a nasty and illegal drug deal. Her husband gets roped into the unwanted drug deal at the same time Marta conveniently asks him to leave the drug business, and that if he doesn’t she will take the kids and leave him. A very unbelievable lie because you will eventually see that the only person this woman really cares about, aside from herself, is her husband.
He claims that he will end things after this last deal, and the audience feels that he is genuine and knows that he would not even go through with the last deal if lives were not at stake. Of course, he is eventually shot down in his own front yard in the middle of the morning while taking his 8-year-old son to school. So predictably, the rest of the 7 episodes season will consist of hard-willed, now emotionally scarred Marta chasing down her husband’s killer and exacting her revenge.
The show wouldn’t be half bad if it weren’t for the atrocious lack of character depth that has been written for the lead, Marta. She is a sad excuse of what should be a “strong, powerful lioness protecting her kin,” and there are three particular scenes that are the biggest offenders of Marta being the exact opposite.
The first offense Red Widow makes is when Marta’s youngest son steals his father’s revolver from its hiding place in the car and stashes it in his backpack. He then takes it to school and threatens a bully with the gun, demanding he returns his brothers headphones. Not only is this scene remarkably offensive because of the previous year with gun-related events, but how Marta then handles the situation says anything but “loving mother.” She is more concerned with her husband ending the drug lord business than getting her son psychological help. Granted, he has the gun because of the business, but if she was really the lioness the writers want her to be she would send her son to a psychologist directly after picking him up from school. It’s not like they don’t have the money for a top-rate, pocketed psychiatrist.
The second scene that makes Marta a terrible representation of a loving woman and caring family member is when her husband tells her that in order to successfully leave the dirty business they must take the kids and run. Marta may not see any part of her family ever again, and after a few short seconds to mull the idea over she says, yes. No self-respecting woman who deep-down loved her family, regardless of their flaws, would agree to such on outrageous solution.
Even if Marta resented her father and brother for raising and keeping her in the drug business, she still cares about them, and she most certainly loves her sister and mother. And then they have sex. Honest to God, the man just told her they have to leave then entire life behind and then they have sex! Bullshit.
Marta’s final scene of terrible character believability is when she finds out her husband was going to rat out her entire family to the feds with a USB containing any and all information about the mob family and anyone affiliated with it. This man, before his death, was mere steps away from sending her entire family to jail for some amount of time and she didn’t even get upset? Really?
This woman has her husband up on such a high pedestal that his ears should be popping. Her eldest son gets plenty upset about what his father was about to do, but Marta, you can’t read at all. She could be happy that he was willing to throw everyone she’s ever known under the bus for their happiness, or she could be pissed that he was being so selfish.
Either way, all of these scenes lead to only one plausible assumption: Marta’s character and script was written by a man. A man who has no idea how a woman’s mind works.
The show is also trying (and failing) to ride on the coat tails of Dexter by making the audience root for the bad guy. The only reason Dexter works is because he does bad for good Audiences don’t want to watch some rich, selfish, self-entitled dirt-bags as their protagonist. It’s almost like watching a bully as a protagonist. And not the kind of bully that is slowly making a reform, this is a bully who would be constantly spitting in your eye and stealing your lunch money every week and has no intention of changing. Who would want to watch that?
Oh, and hey, guess who is the writer on this American version of a Dutch series? That credit goes to Melissa Rosenberg, who (of course) did Dexter AND Twilight. Which explains the bad guy as the protagonist and the woman being a highly under evolved character.
Red Widow is just another pathetic excuse of a drama trying to helm a strong woman lead in an exciting, suspenseful 44 minute drama that fails to have a main concrete character. Red Widow is a black hole of a TV show. Its central character’s spine is sucked in with the producers faith that this is something Americans want to watch right now.