With the abduction of a child at its core, ABC’s new thriller series The Family is not easy viewing. However, as I say in my video review above, the Joan Allen-led March 3-premiering show is one of the best things the network has done dramatically since How To Get Away With Murder debuted in 2014.

Created by former Scandal co-EP and long time Shonda Rhimes collaborator Jenna Bans, the mention of HTGAWM is noteworthy also because The Family is yet another example of how Shondaland’s influence permeates ABC’s primetime schedule – and I mean that in a good way and not just because the show debuts on a TGIT Thursday in Scandal‘s usual slot. With secrets within secrets, a deluge of tensions and twists and more, the 12-episode first season of The Family, as I also say in my video review above, is TV worth making an appointment with week after week.

deadline-review-badge-dominic-pattenStarting off in the Paul McGuigan-directed pilot with the seeming return of the youngest and scarred son of the powerful Warren family of the fictional Red Pines, Maine, the one-hour drama moves quickly into political intrigue and multiple agendas. Having risen to Mayor of the town since Adam disappeared, the Allen-played Claire Warren is about to launch her campaign for Governor – an office she will apparently do anything to achieve, including putting the Liam James-played Adam front and center in her family values run. The polar opposite of her role in 2000 political pic The Contender, Allen is still once again in a league of her own here.

Dan
4 months
ABC has already given away that the kid is an impersonator. Big deal. What's left? Not even...
Rene
4 months
Yeah.. What about "Wicked City", "The Muppets", "Blood and Oil", "Dr. Ken"? ABC had fail in so...
Unni
4 months
There is a DNA test performed that the son passes.

The three-time Oscar nominated actress is clearly the strongest player here but not the only one flexing serious skills. As the Warrens’ religious daughter and her mother’s primary political operative, Newsroom alum Alison Pill delivers a rooted multi-level performance that is pretty big league unto itself.

The Family also features Sherlock’s Rupert Graves as Claire’s husband, a best selling author who has reservations of both where his wife’s politics and his family are heading, and a very good Margot Bingham portraying the local cop who made her career on supposedly solving the crime by putting away the Warrens’ neighbor Hank. Andrew McCarthy acutely plays the role of Hank in one of his first acting roles in years. Also of note, McCarthy directs a few episodes of the show too. Additionally, the cast incudes Floriana Lima as an ambitious local reporter and Zach Gilford as wastrel older son Danny.

After its March 3 debut, The Family moves to its regular Sunday slot on March 6. With that in mind, check out my video review of The Family. What do you think?