Oily 'Lone Star' hero has two women, more scams

Newcomer James Wolk stars opposite Eloise Mumford, Adrianne Newcomer James Wolk stars opposite Eloise Mumford, Adrianne Palicki and Jon Voigt in Fox's new drama "Lone Star." Photo Credit: Fox

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REVIEW

REASON TO WATCH: From the people who brought you "Party of Five."

WHEN/WHERE: Monday at 9 p.m. on Fox/5

Bob Allen (James Wolk) is an oil patch grifter who's figured out a way to build a Ponzi scheme out of oil well leases he doesn't own.

While that may be complicated enough for most con men, he's got another scam going - this one with a major oil company run by hard-bitten Clint Thatcher (Jon Voight). To make this all more challenging, he's married in Houston to Clint's daughter, Cat (Adrianne Palicki), but is also keeping house across the state in Midland with his fiancee, Lindsay (Eloise Mumford).

This is not the life he's chosen but was chosen for him by dear old dad, John Allen (David Keith), who wants a score big enough to get him to that "island full of topless women" of his dreams. Unfortunately, Bob wants to go straight. Finally, this: He's in love with both women.

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MY SAY

If this episode is any indication, "Lone Star" could become a vertiginous balancing act - not just as Bob veers perilously between both lives as he tries to make things "right," but a balancing act in your head, too. Let's put it this way: How would you make Bernie Madoff sympathetic in a TV show? Well, first, you'd cast a young, attractive actor - Wolk will do nicely. You'd write him as "conflicted" and fundamentally decent and reduce the scale of his crime by a few zeros. (We never quite learn how many millions Allen has scammed - but if he's as skillful as everyone insists he is, figure at least a few mill.) But how to make a two-timing bigamist sympathetic?

BOTTOM LINE

Ah, that's the rub. Let's say "Lone Star" has its work cut out for it, and so does Wolk. His portrayal is too nice - too romantic, too good-hearted, too bland - to make Allen interesting, or at least convincing.

GRADE

B-

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