Steve Howey of shameless takes on the role of Harry Trasker a role made famous by Arnorld Schwarzenegger in the CBS adaptation of James Camerons’ True lies which is also an adaptation of Claude Zidis’ La Totale!. Ginger Gonzaga takes over the role of Helen Trasker, which was originally played by Jamie Lee Curtis. With that out of the way, I must say that if you enjoyed James Cameron’s True Lies, this adaptation will have you wondering why it was ever greenlit in the first place. Actually, that is not a fair assessment; the problem with the show is that it is inextricably linked to the film, and rarely does a TV adaptation overcome the nostalgic factor of a well-liked film.

What is the show about?

Harry Tasker, played by Steve Howeys, is an all-purpose spy for the Omega Sector. Helen, played by Ginger Gonzaga, believes her husband, Harry, is a boring computer salesman, despite the fact that he is constantly jetting off to far-flung lands in an attempt to save the world. Harry belongs to the Omega Sector. It is also common for Harry to be absent when his teenage children Dana (played by Annabella Didion) and Jake (Lucas Jaye) experience significant life events. When Helen, a linguistics professor at a community college, discovers Harry’s secret identity, she is thrust into his world of espionage and intrigue. She discovers that her knowledge of linguistics, tae-bo, and yoga will be extremely useful.
Steve Howeys’ portrayal of the suave spy and doting/boring husband and father falls short. He comes dangerously close to both personas, but lacks the piece needed to sell the act to us, the audience, who are aware of his background. Ginger Gonzaga’s portrayal of Helen creates an intriguing situation in which you come away convinced that her reactions to the situation she’s been thrust into are consistent with her personality. It was extremely refreshing.

Will True Lies Succeed?

If this were a standalone IP, the potential for the series to carve out its own niche would not appear to be bleak, especially given that the series is being helmed by Matt Nix of Burn Notice. Granted, this review is based on only the first episode, and it’s possible that the intention is to appeal to a wider audience first before tightening the script.Basically using the IP’s appeal to attract curious fans and then forging their own path towards making this adaptation its own universe. Furthermore, as I finish this review, I realize that the first episode essentially recapped the movie version and that subsequent episodes will venture into unknown territory. So Howey’s portrayal of the character may not have hit the mark for me because of my own inference of what the character should be rather than let the storyteller tell his own version.

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CBS True Lies TV Series Review