Reef Break: S01.E01. “Pilot”

0



Australian Actress Poppy Montgomery returned to television Thursday, 20 June 2019 in the French-American crime dramedy Reef Break. The series, produced by ABC Studios and ABC Studios International, was primarily created for viewing on France’s television network M6. M6, for people not familiar with the network outside of France, is also known as Métropole Television. In France, as television networks go, Métropole Television is the most significant.

Reef Break, with a first season consisting of 13 episodes, is created by Montgomery and Ken Sanzel. Sanzel previously worked on such television productions as Numb3rs, Blue Bloods, NYC 22, and Ironside, as either an executive producer and or writer. Further to working on television productions, Sanzel was also responsible for penning the screenplay for the 1998 action crime thriller The Replacement Killers.

Is There a Trailer?

What is Reef Break about?

Reef Break revolves around Cat Chambers. Cat, an accomplished professional surfer, has a seriously lengthy criminal resume. Formerly an associate of a significant criminal syndicate, Cat has expertise in smuggling, money laundering, hustling and burglary. Having returned to Reef Island after some years away, Cat is now looking to engage her wealth of experience as a fixer for the island’s police and government.

Who plays the Main Character?

Poppy Montgomery
Poppy Montgomery. Image Credit: IMDb.com

The lead character, Cat Chambers, is played by Poppy Montgomery. Montgomery, more recently known for playing Det. Carrie Wells in CBS’ Unforgettable, has an impressive list of television acting credits to her name.

Further to Unforgettable, the Australian actress is also known for such productions as Relativity, The Beat, Glory Days and Without a Trace. Even though Montgomery hails from Sydney, unlike many of her fellow Australian acting talent, the actress does not seem to have worked on any of the popular daytime soap operas.

When speaking of Montgomery, it would be prudent to at least mention the actress played “Harry Potter” author Joanne K. Rowling in the unauthorised biographical television movie Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story. Other than the lead actress’ performance, there is not much that can be said for the production. For a TV movie, it was less than average.

Who else is in the Main Cast?

Further to Montgomery, the main cast includes Desmond Chiam, Ray Stevenson, Melissa Bonne and Tamala Shelton as Det. Wyatt Cole, FBI Agent Jake Elliot, Ana Dumont and Petra Torrance, respectively.

Cole, a newly promoted detective, has a shiny gold badge he can flash at people. Cat can read Cole as easily as a practitioner of Tasseography does with tea leaves. Despite Cole’s first impression being not to trust Cat, once the pair develop a working relationship, the detective soon releases all she wants to do is turn over a new leaf.

Elliot, having previously infiltrated the Shorepound Criminal Syndicate, knows Cat personally. The FBI agent, once he had married Cat, got his new wife to turn on her criminal partners. Consequently, the criminal syndicate became history. Afterwards, despite the two going their separate ways, Elliot is known to help Cat out of a jam from time to time.

Dumont, Cole’s half-sister, is the lieutenant governor of Reef Island. Having seen Cat’s potential, Dumont hires Cat to assist the island’s police. From time to time, Dumont will call upon Cat to discreetly handle issues the governor’s office wants to be kept out of the public eye.

Torrance, a surfer, has a criminal history of theft. Cat played a role in the death of Torrance’s father. Consequently, the surfer thief despises Cat.

Reef Break Promotional Poster
Reef Break Promotional Poster. Image Credit: IMDb.com

SPOILER ALERT: If you have yet to see the episode, stop reading. This article contains spoilers.

Brief Episode Synopsis: “Pilot”

In Nimitz Bay, possibly named for United States Navy Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, is a community on the U.S. territory of Reef Island. After being away from the island for five years, Cat Chambers returns to testify against the man that tried to kill her.

Shortly after the hearing, after seeing a very public statement about his daughter’s disappearance, Carter Eastland (Grant Bowler) hires Cat to rescue Tori. The kidnappers want $6 million to be delivered by Cat Chambers. Because the detective does not want to work with Cat, he immediately side-lines her. Not one to allow someone like Cole to get in her way on anything, Cat seeks out her husband, FBI Agent Jake Elliot (Ray Stevenson), for assistance.

The Pre-Opening Credits Scene…

In the pre-opening credits scene, a young woman can be seen out on the water paddling a kayak. The bodyguard assigned to the young woman by her father was momentarily distracted by an individual on the beach. Consequently, distracting the guard gives an underwater swimmer ample opportunity to snatch the woman from out of the boat. When the guard’s attention returns to the young women, she is gone from view. All that remains is the kayak and the paddle she was using to row the boat.

The Eagle Has Landed…

Screen Capture: A scene in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode
Screen Capture: A scene in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode

As Cat Chambers observes the people around her, the episode and subsequently the series begins with the lead character reminiscing about the person she once was. Coming into land at the island’s main and possibly only airport, Cat notices one of the other passengers is behaving in a decidedly shifty manner.

Screen Capture: Poppy Montgomery as Cat Chambers in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode
Screen Capture: Poppy Montgomery as Cat Chambers in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode

Cat is very good at reading people. That is how she realised which person on the flight was the air marshal. He did not get up from his seat once during the flight, not even to use the provided facilities. “The berretta sized tumour on [his] right hip,” Cat said, “plus you kind of look like a man of the law.” Because the air marshal did not pay any attention to the man immediately behind him, Cat kind of resorts to questioning his effectiveness doing the job. It is not her job to police the aircraft. Cat did not say anything because she “didn’t want to get stuck inside a twelve-foot-wide tube during mid-flight crossfire.”

On the Tarmac…

With a gun drawn, the person Cat was referencing to the air marshal takes a baggage attendant hostage. As Cat exits the aircraft, there is a standoff between the hostage taker and the air marshal. Simply slipping on her sunglasses, Cat descends the stairs from the aircraft and calmly walks past the air marshal, the luggage and the hostage taker with his hostage firmly gripped around the throat.

Screen Capture: Poppy Montgomery as Cat Chambers in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode
Screen Capture: Poppy Montgomery as Cat Chambers in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode

When the hostage taker’s attention was distracted by an oncoming airport vehicle, Cat quickly picks up a suitcase and tosses it at his feet. Consequently, the hostage escapes unarmed. The air marshal secures the hostage taker and shoots Cat a glance of appreciation. As for the bag the hostage taker was carrying, the money is spread out across the tarmac. Cat picks up a wedge of cash for her troubles. The air marshal either did not notice or simply did not care enough to detain her.

At the Hotel…

On arrival at the hotel, Cat immediately runs into Jimmy. When Jimmy asks her if she is on the island for Doug’s parole hearing, she confirms his suspicions. Jimmy, himself, was able to turn his life around. He has been out of prison for about a year. He has a nice suit and a good paying job. Cat seems impressed by how far Jimmy has come in such a short time.

Screen Capture: Poppy Montgomery as Cat Chambers in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode
Screen Capture: Poppy Montgomery as Cat Chambers in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode

Did you notice there was a brief reference to the ABC television series Castle? While Castle is about a fiction writer that works as a consultant with the New York Police Department, Cat is anything but an author of coffee table crime fiction. Since the image was on screen so briefly, it is understandable if you missed it. It was when Cat was in her hotel room. Not long after, she is seen in the hotel bar.

Cat reads the newly promoted Detective Wyatt Cole (Desmond Chiam) quicker than the average Harry Potter fan would one of Joanne K. Rowling’s books. It is clear from the way the detective is behaving, he wants in Cat’s “Chamber of Secrets.”

Screen Capture: Desmond Chiam and Poppy Montgomery as Wyatt Cole and Cat Chambers, respectively, in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode
Screen Capture: Desmond Chiam and Poppy Montgomery as Wyatt Cole and Cat Chambers, respectively, in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode

“I’m supposed to figure,” Cat tells him, “you are safe for a one-night stand. That’s why you are cruising a hotel bar in the first place.” Consequently, both Cat and the detective get what they want out of the night. But the next morning, Cat reminds the detective it was a one-night stand. The detective wants more than just a one-night stand.

Screen Capture: Poppy Montgomery and Desmond Chiam as Cat Chambers and Wyatt Cole, respectively, in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode
Screen Capture: Poppy Montgomery and Desmond Chiam as Cat Chambers and Wyatt Cole, respectively, in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode

At the Parole Board Hearing…

Doug talks about remorse as if it is only a word to most people. To a certain extent, Doug is correct. Remorse is something people expect from others when they have done something egregiously horrid and or unforgivable. While Doug presents an eloquent case for his release, with the assistance of his attorney, the way he articulates his argument is indicative of a speech well-rehearsed.

Screen Capture: Poppy Montgomery as Cat Chambers in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode
Screen Capture: Poppy Montgomery as Cat Chambers in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode

Cat presents her side of the story. Doug, in is role as an enforcer for the Shorepound Criminal Syndicate, attempted to kill Cat and FBI Agent Jake Elliot. Doug’s attorney tries to sway the parole board panel with excerpts from Cat’s personal history.

Cat points out she was not an informant. “Informants get paid,” Cat tells the board, “[she] accidentally married an undercover FBI agent.” Why would Cat drag her arse 13-hours across the Pacific to a parole hearing if she did not have something pertinent to tell the board members?

Immediately after the hearing, when Cat walks from the building, she is by accosted a reporter, Emma Hahn (Sophia Emberson-Bain). Cat knows Emma from five years back and she is still working the courtroom beat. When Emma asks Cat how it feels to be back home, Cat immediately questions why the reporter is covering her return home when she should really be focused on the kidnapping case.

Cat is right. The kidnapping of the rich girl in the kayak is certainly more newsworthy than covering Cat returning home to speak at a parole board hearing. “Black Moon Beach is six feet deep out to Stephen’s Point,” Cat tells the reporter. The police have not given any indication of a kidnapping.

Finish the Wave…

Cat looks good on a surfboard. Tell me I’m wrong. What would an openly gay man know about what does or does not look good on a surfboard? While surfing, Petra Torrance (Tamala Shelton) cuts cat off. When Cat confronts the other surfer, she realises who it is. Petra punches Cat in the face. She hates Cat for the role she played in her father’s death.

Reef Island Police Department…

Cole is at his desk researching Cat. He finds she has significant criminal form. Because Cat told him that she was going to catch some waves, the detective heads down to the beach. It does not take long for him to find the surfer. From the way he speaks to her, it is obvious there is something wrong. Between sleeping with Cat and him discovering she has criminal form; something must have occurred.

At Eastland Empire…

Cole takes Cat to meet with Carter Eastland (Grant Bowler). With Eastland is Reef Island’s lieutenant governor Ana Dumont (Melissa Bonne). An hour after Emma posted her interview with Cat online, every media outlet in the region picked up the story. Because the real story broke online, a ransom video featuring Tori Eastland (Melina Vidler) was sent to Eastland’s email inbox.

Screen Capture: Grant Bowler as Carter Eastland in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode.
Screen Capture: Grant Bowler as Carter Eastland in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode.

Bowler must be playing his character as an Australian because he has made no effort to hide his accent. The actor is currently known for playing the murderous Francis Chester on the Australian drama series Harrow.

The kidnappers not only demand $6 million dollars, but they also want Cat Chambers to deliver the money. Instructions of where to deliver the money will follow.

Thinking she must defend herself against being involved in the kidnapping, Cat kind of lets the feline out of the bag that she and the detective are personally acquainted. Even though the lieutenant governor looks inquisitively at Cole, the reason Cat is there is so Eastland can hire her to deliver the ransom money as instructed.  Cat suggests it seems odd the kidnappers would select her to deliver the ransom money.

“Not when the courier used to run with the gang of smugglers, thieves and killers in the South Pacific,” Cole said. Does this answer my question? Cole did his research. “We were never kidnappers,” Cat counters. Cole merely shakes his head.

Cole has absolutely zero interest in working with Cat on anything. He just wants her to go back to the parole board paid hotel room.

The Husband is in the FBI…

When Cole side-lines Cat, she seeks out FBI Agent Jake Elliot (Ray Stevenson), for assistance. Elliot is currently Cat’s husband. Cat wants him to watch her back because she knows they are good together. Elliot says that it is professional curiosity that he knows so much about the case, but the truth is he would be investigating it regardless of what the mainland FBI directed him to do.

Screen Capture: Ray Stevenson as FBI Agent Jake Elliot in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode
Screen Capture: Ray Stevenson as FBI Agent Jake Elliot in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode

Cat, a professional surfer in her own right, immediately recognises the type of board the blond surfer was carrying when he distracted the bodyguard assigned to protect Eastland’s daughter.

Elliot presents Cat with divorce papers. This is the condition of him helping locate the kidnapped woman. The FBI agent could hardly refuse to allow his wife time so that she could have someone review the document.

At the Surfboard Store…

Screen Capture: Stephen Hunter as Otter in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode
Screen Capture: Stephen Hunter as Otter in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode

Cat visits her friend Otter (Stephen Hunter). Otter, when it comes to making surfboards, is the best on the island. Otter, according to Cat, “was the only fence on the island because he had eaten the others.” It helps that he is the only surfboard maker on the island. Did he eat the other surfboard makers?

Screen Capture: Desmond Chiam and Poppy Montgomery as Wyatt Cole and Cat Chambers, respectively, in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode
Screen Capture: Desmond Chiam and Poppy Montgomery as Wyatt Cole and Cat Chambers, respectively, in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode

It does not take long for Cat to find the blond surfer’s board. Cat finds him in a freezer. The blond surfer, Lonnie, was apparently crashing with an ex-Navy SEAL named Billy Knox (Robert Reitano). Cole, possibly because he is looking for any justifiable reason he can find to not work with Cat, arrests her for violating a crime scene. It looked like he was enjoying himself when he put the cuffs on. Because Eastland got a second ransom demand, Cole is forced to cut Cat loose. He does not like it but he does not have a choice.

The Ransom Delivery…

As directed, Cat takes the money with her on a speed boat. Coles tells cat to back away from the ransom boat. The kidnapper is aware of a police boat being close-by. He is not amused because Cat was explicitly told to be at the rendezvous point alone.

Because Cat is not good at taking orders, especially from people that do not trust her, she ignores the detective.  Even though Cole told Cat to leave the area, she rescues Tori. Moments later, the boat Tori was aboard is seen exploding.

Cat Uncovers Tori’s Plan…

Screen Capture: Robert Reitano as Billy Knox in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode
Screen Capture: Robert Reitano as Billy Knox in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode

Tori was in on her own kidnapping. She used Lonnie to distract her own bodyguard because she needed someone to know that she was missing. While the money was for Knox, Tori was looking for fame. Tori lives on an island no one knows about with a last name her father pays a team of lawyers to keep out of the news. Tori correctly suggests she cannot build a brand that way.

Screen Capture: Ray Stevenson as FBI Agent Jake Elliot in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode
Screen Capture: Ray Stevenson as FBI Agent Jake Elliot in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode

Knox suddenly appears from out of the waves and shots at Tori. She catches a bullet in the leg. Knox takes down Tori’s bodyguard but not before Cat’s FBI husband shows up. Elliot takes a bullet in the leg and a knife in the shoulder before Cat manages to take Knox out permanently.

After the Action…

Even though Cat tells Elliot she did not know if he would show up, he knows her better than that. She knew he would have her back. He has always been there when it matters.

Elliot tells Cole Cat called him because no one is sure who he answers to. It is a fair statement. Cole cannot argue his way out of that one without significant linguistic gymnastics.

Screen Capture: Grant Bowler as Carter Eastland in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode
Screen Capture: Grant Bowler as Carter Eastland in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode

Because Cat knows the truth about Eastland’s daughter, she gets a seriously comfortable pad by the beach. The house that was formally occupied by Tori now belongs to Cat. As for the boathouse, if she wants it, the key is above the door for Petra to use whenever she wants. By the end of the episode, Petra takes Cat up on her offer.

Screen Capture: Melissa Bonne as Ana DuMont in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode
Screen Capture: Melissa Bonne as Ana DuMont in the Alex Zakrzewski directed Reef Break “Pilot” episode