ABC’s “Take Two” Is Light Summer Fare

Take Two web © 2018 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Credit: ABC/David Bukach

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. Tonight’s episode airs at a special time, 8pmET.

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 really enjoyed our previous show; walking that line between the dark and the light really is a tightrope,” Miller says. “To us it represents what life is all about.”

“We affectionately call it the Moonlighting genre,” Marlowe adds. “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. When her fiancé dumped her on the red carpet, she went on a booze-fueled binge that included setting his bed on fire. Now leaving rehab, she must 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.”

“[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.”

The actors and showrunners, all vets of long-lived series, cautiously say Take Two could go the distance, beyond its currently scheduled episodes.

“We are living in a dark time, where you come home and turn on the TV and there is a lot of bad news,” Marlowe says. “To be able to do something where the two characters are engaged in fun one-upmanship, not mean-spirited, and, kind of going back in time, are strong men and strong women is utterly delightful.”

Take Two airs Thursdays on ABC.