It’s a tale as old as time… er, 1994: Mild-mannered family man is actually a trained assassin working to rid the world of bad guys, yet his wife and kids think he’s a goofy salesman.
If the plot of True Lies sounds familiar, that’s because it’s based on James Cameron’s blockbuster movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger (which in turn was based on the French film La Totale!). And now CBS has adapted the story into a series, which premiered Wednesday, starring Steve Howey (Shameless) and Ginger Gonzaga (She-Hulk: Attorney at Law) and executive-produced by Matt Nix (Burn Notice). In a moment, we’ll want to hear what you thought of the first episode. But first, a quick recap.
Harry (Howey) calls his wife Helen (Gonzaga) to apologize that he’s going to be stuck at his computer-sales conference in Cleveland a night longer than expected. But Harry is really in the tropics, part of a formal wear-clad trio of operatives from an organization called Omega Sector that has been tasked with infiltrating a posh gathering of arms dealers. Harry and his co-workers Luther (Mike O’Gorman, Vice-Principals) and Maria (Erica Hernandez, Bridge and Tunnel), as well as their tech support Gib (Omar Benson Miller, Ballers) in the van outside, use a lot of fancy gadgets and quick combat moves to acquire their target — and they barely escape, employing a catering truck and attached grill as their getaway vehicle.
Meanwhile, back in Maryland, Helen complains to a friend that while she loves Harry, she thinks he’s gotten kinda boring. The friend plants the idea that Harry is cheating. When Helen confronts Harry with the question, right after he’s been told he needs to go to Paris to follow up on his most recent op, he tells Helen she’s coming and plays it off as a romantic surprise he’s been planning all along.
It doesn’t take long for the ruse to die. At dinner the first night, Harry sees a man with a gun enter the restaurant. Before you know it, Harry and the would-be assassin are trading blows right there in the dining room. They’re eventually caught, and when the villains tie them up and interrogate them, Helen plays along with the cover that she’s Harry’s supervisor at work — even though she still thinks there’s been a giant misunderstanding.
Finally, Harry comes clean: His computer company is a front for a spy organization, and he joined up in 1999. “You’ve been lying about everything since we met?!” she cries. Though Helen is upset, her experience as a linguistics professor (and as an avid exerciser) comes in handy when she’s able to translate what the guards are saying in a foreign language… and then choke one with her thighs. (“Yoga!”)
Once Harry and Helen safely escape — yes, via a helicopter — she’s still angry about being kept in the dark. But Harry is relieved that he can finally be completely honest with the love of his life. Oh — and now that she knows, she’s being brought into Omega Sector as an operative. Harry’s boss, Trilby (Entourage‘s Beverly D’Angelo), lays it all out: She’ll be given a tenured position at a better university as her cover, and she’ll undergo training to prepare her for her new job.
Harry pleads with her, saying the change is for her safety, and their family’s. Back at home, where their teen son and daughter think they’re back from a cozy European getaway, Harry asks her to give the new situation a try for the kids. “They need you,” he says as they stand outside the house, poised to go in. “I need you. We’re a team, right?” And though she doesn’t look excited about it, she takes his hand, slaps a smile on her face, and they act normal as they go inside.
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the premiere? Grade the episode via the poll below, then hit the comments with your thoughts!