If there was an award for show titles, “Dirty Sexy Money” would definitely win.
I’m just not sure it lives up to that moniker just yet…
The central character of “Dirty Sexy Money” is Nick George (Peter Krause). Nick grew up around the wealthy Darling family because his father, Dutch, was their lawyer. In fact, Dutch spent so much time with the Darlings, Nick’s mother left him and Nick.
Nick became a lawyer, but he promised himself he would never be like his father and never work for the Darlings…
After months of avoiding his father’s phone calls, Nick learns his father has died in a plane crash. So once again, Nick meets up with the Darlings at his father’s funeral.
And, of course, it’s only a matter of time before he breaks his promise after Tripp (Donald Sutherland), the Darling family patriarch, makes him an offer he can’t refuse.
But when Nick gets sucked into the Darling world, he starts to regret that decision…
Patrick (William Baldwin) is the NY Attorney General who’s contemplating a run for the U.S. Senate. However, he has a major skeleton in his closet—he’s cheating on his wife with a transvestite.
Juliet (Samaire Armstrong) is an aspiring actress who thinks her career is about to take off until she finds out her father financed the play she’s starring in. Though her father cautions her against doing anything dramatic to interfere with his anniversary party, she “tries” to commit suicide. But after a talk with her mother, she decides she needs to strike out on her own and moves out.
Karen (Natalie Zea) is about to marry her fourth husband, but she can’t stop thinking about Nick. However, her fiancé doesn’t get too upset about that since he enjoys Karen’s money and lifestyle.
Brian (Glenn Fitzgerald) is a reverend who completely despises Nick. However, that doesn’t stop him from asking for Nick’s help in getting a child into an elite private school. It turns out the child is Brian’s, but he won’t claim him because of the embarrassment it would cause his wife and family. When the child’s mother confronts Brian, she becomes frustrated, gives Brian the boy, and walks away.
Jeremy (Seth Gabel) is the partier. He gets himself into legal trouble after his gambling nets him a yacht that has drugs on board.
Letitia (Jill Clayburgh) is the family matriarch. When we first meet her, she’s taking Dutch’s death rather hard. It seems like she’s a little unhinged, but it becomes obvious that there’s another reason why she’s so upset.
After Nick’s wife, Lisa (Zoe Mclellan), misreads a moment between Nick and Karen, Nick quits. But he’s quickly sucked back in when Karen drops two bombshells on him. First, Brian used Darling Foundation money to pay an airplane mechanic. Second, Dutch and Letitia had been having an affair for years and Brian wasn’t happy about it.
So, Nick decides to work for the Darlings after all so he can get to the bottom of his father’s death.
“DSM” has a lot of possibilities, but it has some issues too. I’ve always like Samaire Armstrong, but Juliet is just one problem child too many. Natalie Zea’s Karen is a wonderfully ditzy character, but in order to introduce the murder mystery, she becomes completely serious and it’s a little jarring.
In fact, the entire murder mystery is a little jarring, because it feels so tacked on. But it does provide a plausible explanation for why Nick would risk his family to work for the Darlings. And I’m sure it will get much more development as we go on.
And development is really what the show needs. A few less bratty kids would help too…
It did have some genuinely funny moments involving Patrick and the running joke of the ringtones Nick’s secretary programmed into his cell phone to identify the Darlings’ numbers (Juliet’s is “Rich Girl.”).
But since Greg Berlanti has worked post-pilot magic before (He helped rescue “Brothers & Sisters” from its gloomy pilot.), I have no intention of giving up on it.
At least not until the dirty and sexy kick in…
“Dirty Sexy Money” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC…