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Review: 'Sneaky Pete' Season 3 Contains Ricky Jay's Last Jolt of Magic

By Dustin Rowles | Streaming | May 25, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | Streaming | May 25, 2019 |


Viewers of the third season of Amazon’s breezy Sneaky Pete may notice that, by season’s end, most of the characters have found themselves in California for one reason or another, 3,000 miles away from the New York setting of the first two seasons. Viewers can also thank the massive tax break California gave to Amazon to move the show there for the renewal of the gratifying third season.

This time around, Blake Masters (Falling Waters) has taken over showrunner duties from Graham Yost, but Masters maintains the jaunty, quick-paced and addictive qualities that Yost brought to the first two seasons, as well as six seasons of Justified, where 45 minute episodes always felt like 15. Moreover, to remind viewers that Sneaky Pete is, at its core, a show about a confidence man, Masters brings in the late Ricky Jay, a character actor basically synonymous with cons, capers, and magic (sadly, it becomes apparent late in the season when Jay had passed).

In the third season, Ricky Jay plays T.H. Vignetti, the frontman for a wealthy art collector, Stefan Kilbane (Patrick Adams from Suits), who was sold a fraudulent painting several years prior by a con man named Sy Rubinek. With Julia (Marin Ireland) — who now knows about Pete’s real identity — in legal trouble over the events of season two, and with the Bowman’s bail bonds business on the verge of collapse, Pete reluctantly takes on the job of locating the elusive and apparently dangerous Rubinek for Vignetti, who also pays Julia to tag along and keep an eye on Pete.

Meanwhile, Carly (Libe Barer) gets wind that her mother — who supposedly died in a car accident 12 years ago — may still be alive out in California, and she and Audrey (character actress Margo Martindale) head west to get answers from Audrey’s estranged father Tex Hopkins (M. Emmet Walsh). Elsewhere, Taylor (Shane McRae) is suspended as a cop after he gets involved in the family life of Lorraine Sheffield (Transparent’s Amy Landecker), the younger woman with whom Otto (Peter Gerety) once had an affair. Add to the mix Pete’s ex-girlfriend Lizzie (Efrat Dor) who has returned in order to recruit Pete into conning a wine dealer (Jeffrey Ross), and you’ve got seven or eight storylines buzzing throughout the third season, ultimately all coming together in California with, expectedly, a lot of double crosses and triple crosses that mostly land in a satisfying manner, even if some of the storylines are predictable and some don’t quite line up.

Still, it’s the episodic short-cons in furtherance of the season-long cons that usually makes Sneaky Pete such an enjoyable show to watch, not to mention Giovanni Ribisi and the phenomenal supporting cast, who have such remarkable chemistry together (if you’re into Audiobooks, by the way, you should also seek out Marin Ireland, who is my favorite audiobook narrator). The whole season is like televisual candy that comes and goes so fast that it’s all over before you have any time to question the logic.

As to whether there will be a fourth season, Amazon has not announced plans to continue it yet, and the third season wrapped up without much in the way of lingering questions. However, it took several months after the second season aired last year before Amazon announced a renewal, and Sneaky Pete has been one of only a handful of hits for Amazon, so far. Amazon has been good about picking up its popular series (even those, like <>Sneaky Pete, that don’t get a lot of press coverage) and announcing when it will be the final season along with the renewal. I would thus put a season four of Sneaky Pete in the probable category.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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