Red Widow: The Complete First Season Review

Red Widow DVD Cover

I’ve been looking forward to the release of Red Widow: The Complete First Season which was released on DVD May 28, 2013. Listed as a compelling family drama, Red Widow proved to be just that. The seasons begins with the murder of Evan Walraven (actor, Anson Mount). His wife Marta Walraven (portrayed by Radha Mitchell) is the daughter of Andrei Petrov a crime boss and member of the Petrov crime family. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Evan has become entangled in the family’s criminal activities.  The opening scene of the series shows Marta’s brother Irwin stealing a large amount of cocaine from criminal Nicholae Schiller. After this, Evan is murdered in front his house and his young son Boris in what appears to be a direct result of the theft.

Marta determined to find out who killed her husband, becomes embroiled in not only a criminal web but also that of the FBI, as agent James Ramos tries to get her to give him all information about Evan’s criminal activities as well as that of the entire Petrov family. Meanwhile, believing that Evan is the one who stole Schiller’s cocaine (Irwin lied to her while in prison on a gun possession charge), Marta feels a sense of debt owed to the crime boss. All the while her family is encouraging her to get further involved in their criminal world.

Marta has no other choice but to accept, though she has plans of running away with her three children. As things move forward, she creates an uneasy alliance with Schiller and begins working on getting whatever information she can on Evan’s murder and to protect her family. With 8 fast-paced episodes, the final reveal shows that the murderer is much closer than Marta ever imagined.

With a bit of a cliff hanger, season two promised to be as exciting as the first; however, I discovered that the series was recently cancelled. Viewers will appreciate that the entire 8 episodes do reveal a unique and fairly complete storyline. While it would have been nice to see another season develop, the 8 episode arc can certainly stand on its own. Viewers will also appreciate some of the excellent acting that was displayed in the series. Radha Mitchell as Marta showed a multi-faceted character who was dealing with a lot of emotional highs and lows. Her range as an actress was broadly demonstrated. Goran Visnjic as Schiller was spot on in his role as crime boss. He’s excellent in everything he acts in, and this role was particularly interesting. Rade Šerbedžija as Marta’s father Andrei Petrov was also excellent. He channeled a lot of Marlon Brando’s character in the Godfather–doing many terrible things all in the name of his family. I also really enjoyed watching Luke Goss play Luther, Petrov’s number one man, whose softer side spoke to Marta and her children.

Even though there were only 2 discs and 8 episodes, the DVD set also provided some nice special features. I always enjoy bloopers & deleted scenes. The deleted scenes in this were great–many of them from the series pilot–that helped further illustrate character & plot development. Perhaps my most favorite bonus feature was the featurette titled, “Red Widow: The Journey” where executive producer Melissa Rosenberg (from the Twilight series) travels from L.A. to Vancouver where the series was shot to talk about the writers’ experience, the production experience and character development.

Overall, I very much enjoyed watching Red Widow: The Complete First Season on DVD. It’s a shame that it wasn’t renewed by ABC, as it had some real potential to develop into a great show, but it certainly can be a stand-alone set of 8 episodes that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

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2 thoughts on “Red Widow: The Complete First Season Review

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