Just another day in the Russian mafia - you know the drill....
Buena Vista / 344 Minutes / 2013 / Unrated / Street Date: May 28, 2013
In Red Widow, Marta Walraven (Radha Mitchell) is a woman in trouble. All she wants is a normal life for herself, her husband, and her three kids, but before the pilot episode comes to an end, that all gets thrown out the window. It turns out her hubby (Anson Mount), a secret drug smuggler, gets murdered, and the crime boss demanding shipment (Goran Visnjic) is relentless – he wants what he wants regardless of Marta’s newfound hardship.
That’s where Red Widow: The Complete First Season kicks in its Lifetime-TV genetic mutation with melodramatic fervency. Marta decides that the only way her and her remaining family will survive is if she appeals to Visnjic for mercy, and he grants her this… but in exchange, she must come and work for him. And we learn that her father (Rade Serbedzija) himself works in the crime underworld as part of the Russian mafia – there’s one in every family, am I right? – and everybody tries to make ends meet without getting locked up.
Like a weepy Sopranos, Red Widow: The Complete First Season is outrageous, larger than life, and more than a little silly, but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t rooting for Marta to beat the odds as this TV-on-DVD set unfolded. This isn’t majestic or assured television in any major way, but it’s addictive as hell – and it’s fun watching underused character actors like Serbedzija chew some scenery.