For a show about constant heartbreak and deception, Bravo’s “Imposters” is surprisingly funny. It begins with stunningly accented Ava, who cleans out her nice, Jewish husband, Ezra, of all his savings. When all he’s left with is a website URL from her splattered in lipstick on his freezer and a folder containing blackmail about his father, he attempts to kill himself. Yet, the show deals with the scene as comedy – showing how frustrating it is to stick your head in a modern-day oven or making a noose out of an extension cord, both of which aren’t successful in the episode.
With the vast amount of TV shows about con-artists these days, “Imposters” is able to stand out with its complex, layered plot and the elaborate performance of main Israeli actress Inbar Lavi (“The Last Witch Hunter,” “Prison Break”). At first, it’s the story of Ava who left Ezra in the dust. But it’s later discovered that the story concerns con-woman Maddie, who has taken on the identities of Belgian beauty Ava, conservative Alice and rebel CeCe in a cross-country marrying spree that follows the same structure every time: Find the mark, make the mark fall in love with you and then disappear with everything they own. Watching Maddie play the game adds a level of disgust to the romantic comedy because we know that every encounter is planned, yet still fall for the vulnerability of the relationship just as much as her target.
While Maddie is busy working on another mark, Ezra, played by Rob Heaps (“Death in Paradise”) is met by one of her former lovers, Richard (Parker Young). Together, they embark to seek out her real identity. These two form an uneasy and hilarious partnership, where Ezra is sensitive and romantic and Richard is a masculine bodybuilding jock. Before the duo even has the chance to be boring, “Imposters” adds the third element to the road trip, Jules (Marianne Rendon), her ex-wife. Jules is the perfect addition to the group and the dynamic trio is easily the most enjoyable relationship of the entire TV show.
“Imposters” was created by two writers who not only set out to deceive the characters in their story, but the audience as well. Paul Adelstein and Adam Brooks had an interview with Deadline after the release of the show. Brooks said, “One of the fun things about a con-theming series is that the rug can shift under the audience’s feet every now and then. We wanted to have that reality where the audience’s sympathy is constantly shifting.” Their intention is well-received, especially as the story goes on and the exes become more involved in the game. We see the slow evolution of the sappy, heartbroken exes turn into minor cons themselves, stealing credit cards and forging signatures to get the money to find Maddie. As they search for the woman who conned them, they slowly begin to become who she was to them. In response to the prominent complex character development, Brooks shared, “The characters are reinventing themselves in ways that are unexpected and, in the way they reinvent themselves, can sometimes make you sympathetic to them in a way you weren’t before.”
Season one ends with just enough lingering questions and cliffhangers that challenge the viewer to think they are in on the fun when, ultimately, you were tricked just as much as the characters were, which leaves you needing more. And the audience is in luck – Season two premieres April 5 on Bravo.
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