'Take Two': Cibrian and Bilson Spark Conflict and Chemistry in This Lighthearted Murder Series

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30 June 2018

NBC, Thursdays, 10/9c

By Jacqueline Cutler

It takes a deft touch to make murder playful. Yet even as corpses pile up on ABC’s Take Two (airing Thursdays), it never plunges into bleakness. That intentional lightness, without being goofy, will remind viewers of Castle for good reason. The same wife-and-husband team, Terri Edda Miller and Andrew W. Marlowe, are behind it.

“We affectionately call it the Moonlighting genre,” Marlowe says. “It goes back to The Thin Man. The Mentalist, Bones — they all have a similar DNA. What makes each unique is to take journeys with the characters.”

These characters, Sam (Rachel Bilson, The O.C.) and Eddie (Eddie Cibrian, Third Watch), like the best rom-com foils, have conflict and chemistry. Sam played a kickass cop on a hit series until her fiancé dumped her on the red carpet and she went on a booze-fueled binge that included setting his bed on fire. Now, she’s fresh from rehab, and trying to get her life together.

“Nowadays I want to do a character my daughter can look up to,” Bilson says of her 3½-year-old, who’s years away from watching. “Sam’s had some troubles in the past, but she is smart and intelligent and trying to do things right.”

Sam’s agent finds her a role playing a private investigator. To inform the character, Sam goes on a ride-along with Eddie. Where Sam is emotional and intuitive, Eddie is cool and analytical. Incapable of listening to him, she endangers them. Yet between what she gleaned as a pretend cop and her instincts, Sam makes an astute PI.

“I always tease Eddie that I am actually better at this than you are,” Bilson says. “It is pretty funny she just happenstances it.”

In the July 5 episode, Sam and Eddie’s two worlds — glitzy and working class — collide. A club owner she adores from her wild days needs their help. Eddie knows him as a mobster.

“[Eddie’s] a guy that has a strong, strong moral compass, and that was instilled in him at a very young age,” Cibrian says. He was a good cop who exposed corrupt officers, was ostracized and went out on his own.

He’s barely keeping afloat when Sam blows in. “She breathes new life into him, which is great,” Cibrian says. “He is having fun again where he wasn’t before. Even though he finds her very annoying, he doesn’t want her to go.”
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