The trailer for Amazon’s Sneaky Pete has snuck onto the internet, and that’s about where the successful deception ends. Even if you’ve waited 20 years for your prodigal grandson to return to your doorstep, you should be very wary of conspicuous introductions, like Pete’s “Hi Grandma, Grandpa. It’s me… Pete.” Even as Grandpa (Peter Gerety) holds his grandson, you can almost see the flicker of skepticism creeping in on the edges of Margo Martindale‘s overjoyed eyes. Or maybe we’re just reading into the performance, because the words “THIS IS NOT PETE” just flashed onto the screen.
From there, the trailer weaves together the life of this impostor, as we learn a con man has likely assumed the identity of a fellow prisoner while incarcerated. Ribisi fumbles through the darkly comic, strangulating uncertainty of the identity he’s stolen, while trying to distance himself from his past. Martindale is a bail bondsman, and by the time she’s collecting chicken eggs with her “grandson,” warning about foxes in the henhouse, it’s clear that her bullshit detector is redlining. Meanwhile, Bryan Cranston is threatening “Pete” from afar, giving him seven days to return stolen money.
This clearly isn’t Sommersby or Mad Men; there’s little risk of “Pete” being accepted as an improved facsimile. Instead, Ribisi explains “when a liar gets caught in a lie, they build a bigger lie.” While that might be his personal bushido code of fraudulence, he certainly doesn’t seem to be profiting from it.
The pilot for Sneaky Pete will be available on Amazon on August 7.