It would be a little simplistic to suggest that there’s literally no better to way to improve our prospects of watching a new show than to inform us that Giancarlo Esposito will star in it as a charismatic thief with a mysterious past. (For instance, you might also try strapping us to a chair and Clockwork Orange-ing our eyes open, which would have a similar effect.) Still, it’s hard to deny the “Ooh, nice!” that slipped out of our lips when we saw a new press announcement today about Netflix’s new crime thriller Jigsaw, which is not only not a Saw thing—despite initial and obvious assumptions—but which stars the always-great Esposito as the leader of a crew of heisters trying to pull off what we can only assume will be one big, final score.
The series will co-star Paz Vega, Rufus Sewell, Tati Gabrielle, Peter Mark Kendall, Rosaline Elbay, Jai Courtney, and Niousha Napoor, and, aside from the obvious—Esposito, no little murder puppets—it currently sports two prominent features. The first, as the title implies, is that this is Netflix’s latest experiment in non-linear storytelling, a la HBO’s Mosaic, or some of the streamer’s stranger Arrested Development seasons. Per the press release: “The series consists of eight parts ranging from 24 years before the heist to 1 year post-heist and takes a non-linear approach to storytelling that builds intrigue and suspense,” which we’re pretty sure translates to “Watch the episodes in any order, then build your own workable climax, viewers!”
The other notable thing, in these early days, is how aggressively into themselves the provided character descriptions are. Who’s ready to spend time with a character who’s “got a mouth that never stops running and the heart of a hopeless romantic,” or “an eccentric spitfire with a sarcastic edge who is clever and talented enough to stay a step ahead of her mistakes”? How about a “chest-puffing alpha male with a knack for safecracking and pushing people’s buttons,” who’s “attractive enough to be a threat and smart enough to be dangerous to anyone who gets in his way”? (That one’s the Jai Courtney character, by the way.) They’re a lot, is all we’re saying. Hopefully Esposito’s “Leo Pep”— “a natural leader…whip-smart, intense and driven, with an engineer’s mind and a meticulous eye for detail”—will be able to keep them all in line.