Sunday, January 30, 2022

"Good Behavior," Argentine Style? (A Streaming Review)

Since March of 2020, when I fled Argentina and Chile with the onslaught of the COVID-19 virus, I’ve been not quite housebound, but have only managed scattered day trips in the Bay Area and the couple short road trips to California’s Central Coast and the Sonoma/Mendocino County shorelines. Like many others, I’ve spent more time than I might care to admit in front of the TV screen, streaming whodunits and other dramas before retiring early enough to let me walk the dog at daybreak. I've avoided travel shows, because they remind me of what I can’t do until the pandemic recedes (very tentatively, my wife and I plan to return to Buenos Aires in early March for a month).

Meanwhile, in the course of exploring streaming services, I stumbled across an oddball series, a sort of black comedy, set in North Carolina but with links to Argentina. In Good Behavior, which first showed on TNT in 2016 and 2017, English actress Michelle Dockery plays the role of Letty Raines, a resourceful thief and scammer with addiction issues, who’s out on parole and trying to regain custody of her pre-teen son. This rather differs from Dockery’s role as the aristocratic Lady Mary Talbot in the PBS historical series Downton Abbey (disclaimer: I am not a fan of British costume dramas, and have not watched more than a few minutes of that one, to which my wife is addicted).


Shortly after her release from prison, Letty stumbles upon a contract killing and does her utmost to stop it (albeit unsuccessfully). In the process, she becomes involved with Javier Pereira (Juan Diego Botto), an Argentine hitman with a conscience of sorts (Botto is in fact an Argentine who spent part of his youth in the US). The Pereira character is also a chef who sometimes works in the Argentine-style parrilla (grill restaurant) owned by his sister Ava (played by Botto’s real-life sister María in a sort of meta-role).

This Javier, in Oakland, is not a contract killer.

Javier is not a Hannibal Lecter wannabe, but he does have issues with his father Oscar (played by the Argentine-American Daniel Faraldo), who has a dark past of his own. There’s an additional complication in Ava’s ex-boyfriend Teo (played by Canadian actor Juan Riedinger), but there’s plenty of comic relief as well.


Unfortunately, TNT cancelled the show after two seasons, but it remains available on Hulu (no endorsement here, but there are 30-day free trials).

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