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Show Review: ‘Good Behavior’

Michelle Dockery at the 2013 Golden Globes. She stars as Letty in "Good Behavior" JDEERINGDAVIS/FLICKR VIA CC BY 2.0
Michelle Dockery at the 2013 Golden Globes. She stars as Letty in “Good Behavior.” JDEERINGDAVIS/FLICKR VIA CC BY 2.0

If the “Ocean’s Eleven” franchise collaborated with the dramedy of “Silver Lining’s Playbook,” you’d have a great movie … or an even better TV show — like TNT’s new series “Good Behavior.”

The show involves two characters and many identities: a thief, hitman, con artist, chef, philanthropist, writer, blogger, golfer and teacher. Each one is a different facet of the two real characters, and all of them are disguises.

But disguises aren’t the only thing the characters hide behind. It is impossible to guess what anyone would do if they heard a man hiring a hit on his wife from inside the hitman’s closet — especially if the reason you were inside the hitman’s closet was because you were there to steal from him. Letty Raines, a young thief who very few believe has any good qualities left, has a decision to make: is she just an unscrupulous thief or does she have morals?

“Good Behavior” stars Juan Diego Botto as Javier, the hitman, and Michelle Dockery as Letty Raines, best known for her role as Lady Mary from “Downton Abbey.” Raines endures a five-year separation from her only child, faces the challenges of being a parolee and contests against her own mother taking a restraining order against her to keep her away from her son.

Javier goes on a more personal journey compared to the physical journey Raines takes to be reunited with her son. In the beginning, Javier is the cool-headed hitman who seems to understand how the world works. He is the darker part of Raines’ world, and the line she hopes to never cross. But as the episodes start to fully form into one long tale, Javier is also Raines’ biggest champion. He is the reason she reduces her drug and alcohol consumption, and he’s also the reason she gets to see her son again.

“Good Behavior” is compelling because of Raines and Javier’s dynamic. Raines is the quick thinker. She enjoys the adrenaline rush in the face of danger. Javier is the opposite. He is exacting and measured. The show highlights how important it is to have someone in your life to set you straight — someone who can be honest with you, tell you when you are wrong and support you when you do something right.

Although they don’t start off in the best of terms, Javier is Raines’ compass. While her son is her reason for living, Javier is the reason she’s still alive. When Raines is devastated because she cannot visit her son and becomes unhinged, falling back into her destructive habits, Javier is the one who storms in and dumps all the alcohol down the drain. When Letty is tempted to steal jewelry, Javier influences her against it.

“Good Behavior” doesn’t have a large-scale or original premise. It doesn’t have any action sequences nor does it revolve around a mystery that needs to be solved, but it does illustrate the humanity behind the faces of killers and thieves. The show is about struggling with addiction, loss, depression and having to face the consequences of bad decisions.

The show just finished its first season and has been renewed for a second. Good luck not getting addicted.

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