Notorious Season 1 Episode 1 Review: Pilot

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Who killed Sarah Keaton?

Notorious Season 1 Episode 1 builds the groundwork for this overarching story of the season and provides just enough leeway that we see how the other episodes will work.

Partners In Crime - Notorious

I'll always miss CIA Agent Annie Walker, but Julia George is great in her own way. We don't know where she's come from, but she has clearly clawed her way to the top and will do whatever it takes to stay there, though surprisingly, she's not mean. 

Julia: I'm not sure I can do this.
Louise: You're a tough ass bitch, you can do anything.

She's blunt, focused, and determined, but she's not purposefully mean, and she won't go behind the backs of everyone around her. Her partnership with Jake is a sign of this because, even as she keeps the facade that she is blind-siding him, it's all part of their plan to twist the narrative to their will. Most importantly, they never lie to each other.

And while the mystery of Sarah Keaton and her hidden life (including the fake passport and photos of domestic violence) could be boring, this interesting twist on solving said mystery is different than seen before.

How will an attorney and producer solve a murder? Their positions have influence over the police investigation and they can spin the story to implicate whomever they want; but will they personally be searching for clues?

Julia has to deal with the betrayal of her now ex-boyfriend, Eric Jessup, the Federal Judge who hires and sleeps with escorts while he's away on business and has for years. Will Megan's past as an escort work for or against Julia as this story inevitably comes out?

Jake: How could you possibly know I am thinking he's a boring elitist and you can do way better?
Julia: There it is. You know I'm saving myself for you?

Yet Jake seems to have the most secrets. Not only did he carry on a torrid love affair with Sarah Keaton, he also has hidden the truth from his client, and now he's entangled in the search for the killer of the woman he loved.

Jake, you were in love with his wife.


His own business dwellings seem captivated by drama as Jake is the seeming star of the family and law firm, and his brother and partner, Bradley, is not. Jealousy must run through the veins of both of these brothers in some form, but will it affect their law firm?

Bradley also knows that Jake was in love with Sarah, so he could ruin whatever could be building in the future when Jake inevitably has to protect himself from murder accusations.

It's all such a dramatic tale, and nothing is simple. Oscar Keaton is a "recovering" (so he says) drug and alcohol abuser, yet cocaine was found in his car, as well as pictures of him with another woman. If he had fallen off the wagon, would he have been capable of killing Sarah?

She was responsible for the death of that boy that he almost went down for; could that have pushed him over the edge? Did Sarah run over the boy on purpose or was it just a freak accident in the midst of everything else that she was running from?

Her life was seemingly so perfect, but like everything else, it was dragged down and scrutinized.

Every character on this show is hiding something – whether from the viewer, from each other, or from themselves – and it's a dark road for everyone before the sun shines again. How many will go down before they reach the end of the road?

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Will you be sticking around for Notorious Season 1 Episode 2 on September 29? Get a conversation started about Notorious in the comments below.

Pilot Review

Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
  • 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (22 Votes)

Jay Ruymann was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in January 2018.

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Notorious Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Billionaire flees a crime scene and his lawyer happens to be a guest on our show tonight? Karma is real.


If I take a night off, the show takes a night off.