I’m a follower of a website called TV By The Numbers, which as the name suggests, analyses TV ratings and predicts which shows will get renewed. Throughout this season, it was predicting that Ringer, Sarah Michelle Gellar’s return to television after a fairly long while away, would not be renewed – and so it hasn’t been. Whether this affected by enjoyment of the show one way or another is a matter for the counter-factual history department.
Bridget Kelly (SMG) is a former prostitute and recovering drug addict, due to testify in the murder trial of Wyoming gangster Bodaway Macawi, when she is scared off by a corrupt cop and runs away to her twin sister, Siobhan Martin (also SMG). On a boat trip off the coast of the Hamptons, an upper-class area of New York State, Siobhan apparently kills herself and so Bridget decides to take her identity and her husband Andrew (British actor Ioan Gruffudd), along with step-daughter Juliet. In the process, she discovers that Siobhan has a lot of skeletons in her closest. Also, we learn that Siobhan isn’t actually dead... The door is opened to a tale of a Ponzi scheme, murder and one manipulative step-daughter.
The concept of Ringer is a very good one – in fact, Alfred Hitchcock would like the idea (he may have actually done something like this, I’d need to check). Ms Gellar does a very good job handling the two different roles she is required to play (playing two parts being a tough job for any actor), allowing us to, most of the time, tell who is who solely from her acting. Siobhan’s step-daughter Juliet is a remarkably manipulative character – I’m sure there are real rich girls like that, particularly ones who are only children. Jaime Murray, also British, provides a good supporting role as a dodgy financier.
This plot twists and turns like a bowl of spaghetti; there was clearly considerable planning to get all the balls lined up and most of them do. Some of the revelations are pretty mind-blowing and there is a particularly nice cliff-hanger to one episode that is alas resolved all too quickly.
Unfortunately, the concept isn’t one that can sustain a multi-season series. This would have worked better as a mini-series; the finale wraps up most of the story, but not all of it, as the writers were clearly not sure they would get renewed (good call that), but is arguably a bit rushed. The story was definitely running out of steam, with one lesbian affair and an increasingly genre-blind Bridget (Buffy would never been this stupid). In fact, I found myself getting increasingly impatient with this show.
All in all, a nice idea, but it couldn’t last.