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The Company You Keep Has All the Elements of a Smart, Sexy Caper Show | TV/Streaming


In the first two episodes made available for critics, Charlie and Emma hit many of the relationship beats it’d take other shows multiple seasons to get to—they have sex, break up, throw out emotional baggage, and reconcile. They also get mere inches away from revealing their secret identities. But, of course, they do not, and their forbidden cop/criminal romance continues.

If that all sounds like something you’ve seen before, it probably is. But that doesn’t mean “The Company You Keep” can’t provide solid entertainment as it adheres to its genre’s conventions. Part of the reason it works is the chemistry between Ventimiglia and Kim. Their sex scenes pop about as much as possible in a network show. So while their emotional maneuvers are all pretty standard, the heat between them is anything but.

The show also offers an interesting take on crime and punishment. Charlie isn’t just a conman—he comes from a family of cons, all working together. Sister Birdie (Sarah Wayne Callies) is his loving antagonist, the way only siblings can. Mother Fran (Polly Draper) and ailing father Leo (William Fichtner) are supportive parents who want their kids to be free, happy, and safe—even as they run their family crime business.

But the Nicolettis are clearly good people. Yes, they’re a loving family, but they also refrain from physical violence and pick marks who deserve some hard knocks—Fentanyl pushers, Russian oligarchs, corrupt pastors. Charlie and his family may be primarily motivated by money, but their thievery isn’t hurting communities. Rather, they’re vigilantes of the capitalistic system, a step below thieves with a heart of gold, but certainly much more sympathetic than the rich folks they rob.

So far, “The Company You Keep” doesn’t critique Emma’s CIA role but it does venture to say the world of the rich and powerful is neither altruistic nor squeaky clean. It recognizes that extreme wealth is always problematic, a sign of greed, nepotism, corruption, or all three.

Emma appears forged from these halls of power—her family’s business is politics. Her dad Joseph (James Saito) was a US Senator and, as the action of “The Company You Keep” starts up, her brother David (Tim Chiou) is running for his old seat. Matriarch Grace (Freda Foh Shen) is the hard-working and hard-nosed force behind it all. While Emma’s done her best to avoid the limelight, she’s proud to work for the government.

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