As I mentioned in my recent Person of Interest post, Revenge emerged in 2013 as one of my favorite shows. Part demented soap opera, part thriller, and full of twists and turns, Revenge is a story about a woman named Amanda Clark (Emily Van Kamp), whose father was framed by his company to take the fall as a terrorist who brought down an airliner. While in prison, Amanda’s father was murdered, and Amanda spent time in foster homes and juvenile prison. Upon release she was approached by Nolan Ross, a young multi-millionaire techie who owed Amanda’s father for his financial success. It turns out Nolan promised Amanda’s father that the young millionaire would take care of Amanda and had a sizable check for her to start a new life. However, Amanda is consumed by revenge and vows to bring down those responsible for her father’s death. Amanda assumes the alias Emily Thorne, and after training with a ninja-like figure named Takada, she has the resources to begin plotting her revenge. She immediately sets her sights on the Greysons, a powerful family in the Hamptons that she believes is responsible. The first season was a roller coaster ride of plotting, obsticles, and twists and turns; each week, Emily would target a person close to the Greysons that helped put her father away, and though the Greysons took it on the chin, they were down but not out. The second season picked up where the first left off and introduced several new characters, including a new love interest for Emily.
The big name in the show is Madeline Stowe (Last of the Mohicans, and strangely enough, the Kevin Costner flick “Revenge”). I never thought much of Stowe as an actress until her turn as Victoria Greyson – scheming, conniving, and deceitful, sometimes throwing her own children under the bus to get out of a situation, Stowe does a masterful job with this character. In fact, every character in the show does a wonderful job, portraying dark and complex characters. That’s one of the appealing features of Revenge – there are no innocents here, and every character contains dark secrets and makes questionable decisions to survive.
Victoria’s son Daniel is targeted by Emily early on as sshe is able to earn his affections while posing as a beautiful philanthropist. Daniel has forced his father out at Greyson Global but has no idea he is on the radar of The Initiative, the shadowy organization behind the frame-up of Emily’s father. Complicating matters is that Emily and Daniel split at the end of Season 1, when they were to be married. Daniel still has feelings for Emily, but she now has a boyfriend in the picture – fellow ninja Aiden, who shares romantic history with Emily but spurned her to look for his kidnapped sister a few years ago. As if that love triangle didn’t complicate things enough, Emily also still has feelings for childhood friend Jack Porter. Jack is now married to Emily’s fellow juvie cellmate, who has assumed the “Amanda Clark” identity. You can begin to get a feeling for how intricate and twisted the plot has become, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. I highly recommend this series.