RABBIT HOLE l Paramount+ | March 26, 2023
Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Charles Dance, Meta Golding, Enid Graham, Rob Yang, Walt Klink, Jason Butler Harner
Executive Producers: Kiefer Sutherland, John Requa, Glenn Ficarra,
Charlie Gogolak, Suzan Bymel, Hunt Baldwin
In RABBIT HOLE, John Weir (Kiefer Sutherland), a master of deception in the world of corporate espionage, is framed for murder by powerful forces who have the ability to influence and control populations.
FIRST LOOK - EPISODES 1 Through 4 -- By Darren Zakus
Rabbit Hole weaves a tale of corporate espionage, grand conspiracies and murder that with Kiefer Sutherland in the lead role should be a home run, but the story relies too heavily on major twists that has you questioning too much about the story, causing it to slightly unravel.
For years, Kiefer Sutherland has been a staple on television from hit shows like 24 and Designated Survivor. It was only a matter of time before he made the jump to streaming (not counting Designated Survivor’s final season which was picked up by Netflix), and there is enough intrigue to Paramount+’s new thriller to draw audiences into its twisted web of conspiracies and misdirections, even if the writing does not support the ambitious story the series is trying to tell.
Sutherland stars as John Weir, a successful, private corporate espionage consultant who specializes in influencing the market and individuals to his client’s personal gain. His latest job seems routine at first, only requiring a simple idea that he needs to plant to cause rumours to spread. But, when Weir finds himself as the prime suspect of his latest target’s murder, he finds himself drawn into a far larger conspiracy than he could have ever imagined given the routine nature of the contract.
The writing of the series is contingent on the surprise twist, throwing one shocking truth after another at the audience. While these twists are important in the television format to maintain the audience’s attention and get them to watch the next episode each week, this series gets lost in its twists. The premiere episode starts off strong, crafting an intriguing adult thriller full of conspiracies and danger. However, it ends on a massive twist that has you questioning everything you just watched. And each episode continues this trend with its twists, and it’s a detriment to the show. It’s good to question what you are watching, as evidenced with shows like Westworld, but it needs to be done subtly in a way you don’t realize it is happening until the big reveal occurs. This show uses its twists so carelessly that you are left repeatedly questioning why the writers spent so much time setting up a specific plot point, only to find out it was complete fabrication by the end of that episode. The writers are playing the long game with the story, and by the fourth episode, the audience fully understands the game they are playing and are able to get on board with the direction of the series, but there is no reason why it needed to take so long to get to this point. The conspiracy that Weir finds himself in the middle of is interesting enough, and while it has the elements for a good thriller series, the twists distract from the overall story and dampens the series’s potential.
There is no denying that Kiefer Sutherland is a charming lead actor, bringing a charisma and magnetism to each role he has. But he feels slightly out of place as John Weir. Weir is meant to be a strategic analyst, fully utilizing technology to his advantage to manipulate corporate situations to his client’s benefit. And while Sutherland makes for a good leader of the team, especially while coordinating the premiere episode’s set piece sequence, you don’t get the sense that he is truly as tech savvy as the role calls for. It may be years of having seen him as Jack Bauer, and Sutherland is not bad by any means, but he does not feel like the right fit for this role. The supporting cast of Enid Graham, Rob Yang, Jason Butler Harner and Meta Golding are fine in their roles, but they are not given enough meat to their roles to shine alongside Sutherland. However, once Charles Dance arrives in the series, he is tremendous and the highlight of the entire show. Dance has a very specific on screen persona that he has cultivated over the years, giving him a steely and commanding presence which fits perfectly for his role. Instantly the show is injected with a sense of wisdom to a larger than life story, allowing Dance to ground the story and help course correct the direction of the series after it gets off to a bumpy start.
While it never strays into the category of a bad television series, Rabbit Hole goes too far down the peruvial rabbit hole, getting lost in its many twists and turns. The shows rests squarely on Kiefer Sutherland’s star power and the always excellent Charles Dance to keep the audience’s attention over the first four episodes, and while it is not destined to be the next runaway hit series, the story is heading in an interesting direction that will reward audiences for tuning in weekly to find out what happens next.