On “Somewhere Between,” a mother is given a chance to stop her child’s murder after she wakes up one week before the event. The how and why of her groundhog week is a mystery as are the many, many coincidences that take up much of the plot. It’s mostly silly and melodramatic but it meets the (low) bar set by summer escapism TV.
The first two episodes are a flurry of strange coincidences. Nico (Devon Sawa), a former detective turned private investigator, goes to the wrong apartment while on the job. The apartment belongs to Laura (Paula Patton), a news producer and the wife of the district attorney who put Nico’s brother on death row for the murder of Nico’s fiancee. Later, Laura has car trouble and she seeks help from a woman who turns out to be Nico’s dead fiancee’s mother. When Laura’s daughter is kidnapped and killed, Laura drowns herself out of guilt and grief in the same lake where Nico is dealing with his own life or death situation. Nico saves Laura and they both begin the week again, bound together in a strange time shift. They team up to stop the murder of Laura’s daughter, which is also the catalyst for the governor to reinstate the death penalty. Saving Laura’s child will also save Nico’s brother who is next in line to be put to death. With me so far?
Helpfully, the fiancee’s mother explains it to Laura and the viewer this way: “Nothing is coincidence! Everything is connected!” There is also something about fighting fate not running from it and a price that must be paid. Laura begins to accept the woman’s words when her first attempt at changing her daughter’s fate doesn’t go as planned.
The idea of a mother doing everything she can to save her child is compelling. But Patton’s approach is to add as much melodrama as possible, which makes it less so. This could be an attempt to remain faithful in tone to the 2014 South Korean drama the series is based on (“God’s Gift: 14 Days”) or it could be that Patton lacks the skill to give a nuanced performance of a remorseful parent. Either way, most of her scenes are very emotional.
Less emotional is Sawa who plays Nico as a charming burnout. Once lauded as a heroic detective, Nico’s fall from grace and dysfunctional family situation (his testimony helped put his brother on death row) makes him slightly more interesting than Patton’s news producer character. But there is nothing complicated about either of them. On the plus side, Nico and Laura aren’t bad to watch as a buddy cop team. Sawa’s charming rogue takes some of the attention away from Patton’s over the top delivery.
Since there are no coincidences (because everything is connected!), Nico and Laura will surely have more farfetched encounters as their time-shifting week moves closer to murder day. For a limited run summer show where series are often placeholders for better fall shows, “Somewhere Between” is somewhere between not horrible and not good, which sounds about right.
“Somewhere Between” is on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EDT on ABC.
— Melissa Crawley is the author of “Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television’s ‘The West Wing’” and the recently released “The American Television Critic.” She has a Ph.D. in media studies and is a member of the Television Critics Association. To comment on Stay Tuned, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @MelissaCrawley.