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Twisted 1×01 “Pilot” Review

Photo: ABC Family

Photo: ABC Family

Pretty Little Liars immediately comes to mind when you watch Twisted, a new show on ABC Family being touted as a mystery drama. The tone is similar, they both air on ABC Family, and both deal with murder and the subsequent falling out between childhood friends. Twisted appears to be much more polished and put-together than Pretty Little Liars, however.

It stars Avan Jorgia as the ruggedly handsome, long-haired “bad boy,” Danny Desai. He’s been recently released from prison after murdering his aunt when he was 11 years old, causing a deep rift between the three best friends – Danny, Lacey, and Jo. In the quaint, fictional town of Green Grove, Danny has been made a social pariah immediately upon his return and release from prison. Both the media and the town’s residents are acutely aware of Danny’s presence and, at school, he receives the nickname “Socio” (short for “sociopath”) via Twitter.

Jo (Madelaine Hasson) is the daughter of the police chief (Sam Robards) and a social outcast herself at school. Not nearly as ostracized as Danny, however, Jo has a friend in Rico (Ashton Moio). Lacey (Kylie Bunbury), on the other hand, resides somewhere in the upper echelon of the high school hierarchy. Having ditched Jo years ago in order to distance herself from her childhood, Lacey is friends with the “popular” group, which includes Sarita (Jamila Velasquez), Regina (Karynn Moore), and boyfriend Archie (Grey Damon).

I hadn’t watched any of the previews so the diversity (Danny, Lacey, Sarita, Principal Tang, Mrs. Fisk) on this show came as a pleasant surprise. So far, the characters seem to be playing up their stereotypes, but – regardless – the show is entertaining in a mindless, typical-high-school-show kind of way and the mystery is intriguing enough.

The central plot deals with Regina’s murder, for which Danny becomes the prime suspect. Jo becomes Danny’s ardent supporter, even going so far as to announce to the school that they need to give Danny a second chance, while her dad is in the middle of taking Danny away for questioning. Meanwhile, in spite of Lacey’s hesitance about rekindling her friendship with Danny, the show seems to be taking her in that direction. She spends the night sleeping over at Danny’s, after the two share a bordering-on-romantic moment.

One of the mysteries, other than who-killed-Regina, is Danny’s motive for killing his aunt. It’s Danny’s most closely guarded secret, one that I’m sure we’ll get to the bottom of during the course of this series, especially since it seems to be tied to Regina somehow. There’s also the yachting accident that took Danny’s father’s life, which probably isn’t as cut-and-dry as Danny’s mother (Denise Richards) explains it to be.

The show casts doubt on Danny’s innocence, however, and whether or not he’s indeed a “sociopath.” We see him with the dead girl’s necklace at the end of the episode, despite telling Jo’s dad that he’s never seen it before. Adding to the mystery is that the necklace looks like the same one Danny’s aunt is wearing in an old picture.

By far, the show’s greatest strength is the rocky relationship between the three ex-best friends, changed forever by Danny’s crime. Just for that, I’ll be tuning in for the next episode.

Rating: B

Memorable Quotes

Regina: This school is actually very friendly.
Danny: Clearly. I feel like I’m in an episode of Glee and everyone’s about to break out into song.
Regina: They let you watch Glee in prison?
Danny: It’s part of our punishment.

Twisted airs on Tuesdays at 9/8 central on ABC Family.