On Good Behavior: Lady Mary Finds A Naughty New TV Role
I’m thrilled to see so many well-written TV shows finding their way from the published page (fiction and non-fiction) to the screen.
Good Behavior on the TNT network is based on Blake Crouch’s three interlinked novellas (The Pain of Others, Sunset, and Grab). And those titles give a hint as to what tone the TV program takes. Thankfully, too, Crouch is co-creator of the series’ adaptation along with Chad Hodge–these fellas know how to tell a story!
My cell phone ringtone is set to the opening theme song for the historical family saga Downton Abbey. Of course, I’m a voracious fan of that show, and it lives on in every form of media. I mention this because one of Downton’s leads, arguably the prime character, is Lady Mary Crawley, played by the amazingly talented Michelle Dockery who also stars in Good Behavior.
Cut to a present day North Carolina setting with characters and a lower-middle class world from the aristocratic Downton territory (the lives of a highbrow British family from 1912 to 1925) and we have Ms. Dockery in a much different role as Letisha (“Letty”) Raines—although perhaps as Lady Mary she possessed just as much psycho-social inner turmoil as does Letty, just expressed differently.
Letty, recently released from jail (for reasons you’ll have to find out why if you watch), leads a lower class life rife with personal and social struggles. Interesting questions arise: What is good? What is bad? And is our so-called goodness or badness innate, or are we products of our upbringing? Both? Whatever the case, Good Behavior challenges us to explore these parts of ourselves through its characters, and their own perceptions of what is or is not “good” behavior. After all, human beings justify their actions—good versus evil can be subjective in our hearts and minds.
Letty is a thief ( a Kleptomaniac, really) and her love interest Javier, played by an equally fantastic actor (and sexy to boot) Juan Diego Botto is a contract killer. And of course Letty’s obsession with taking what she wants, when she wants, and creative methods in how she takes these things plays out in the romance and troubles that she and Javier get into throughout the first season; included is in-depth exploration of both Letty and Javier’s family dynamics.
Good Behavior is part thriller, psychological drama, and allows for quirky characters that don’t always take themselves seriously; and they’re surprisingly human, showing a great deal of self-awareness at the same time. The darkness of human behavior coupled with morbid humor to delve into a multidimensional understanding of how, what, where, and who we grew up with and the socio/psycho/environmental issues that inform how we grow beyond those formative years drives the series; also the notion that if we allow it to, by not dealing with it, our past haunts us.
I’m excited to see something like Good Behavior with storytelling (as seems to be more and more the case) coming from/adapted from the written page (fiction and non-fiction sources).
You’ll fall in love with the finely-flawed characters in Good Behavior, and be even more impressed with Michelle Dockery’s acting if you’ve been a fan of hers since Downton Abbey—just saying: Lady Mary has exited the stage and made way for quite a different character to enter our lives.
Have you seen Good Behavior? If not, its available on TNT OnDemand or through their app.