Formulaic Sun-Soaked Drama
Reef Break is cheesy, over the top and formulaic. It’s not the worst show out there and in a way, this ABC original tries to play on the guilty pleasure factor and does succeed at times. At best, Reef Break is a forgettable but fun crime drama soaked in sun and glamour. At its worst, its a clumsily edited, mundane crime thriller littered with cliched tropes and far too many songs thrown into its 40 minute run time. Out of all the shows released this year, Reef Break is probably going to be one of those that you’ll either love or hate but if you can take to the cheesy goofiness and don’t mind the abundance of cliches, you may find some fun here.
The first episode begins with two men on a beach, witnessing a kayak capsize before cutting to our main protagonist Cat Chambers. This thief-turned fixer thwarts an armed assailant on the plane runway (by sliding a bag of money into his feet and knocking him over) before checking in to the hotel and chatting up a suave guy at the bar, who just so happens to be a detective.
After their one night stand leads to awkwardness, we learn Cat was previously in the town 5 years prior to that day. She clearly has commitment issues but as she gets back into the swing of things, she believes the girl from the start of the episode didn’t drown, she was actually kidnapped. However, she doesn’t pry too much into this and instead, heads off to surf. However, when she gets back to shore she learns her hunch has been made public, bringing her reluctantly into the case.
The girl’s father asks for her assistance and inevitably, she’s teamed up with Wyatt, the detective she slept with earlier. From here, Cat visits all her old hang-up spots where she tries to learn more about the case whilst we learn more about her past in the process. This eventually sees Cat finding a body in a freezer and a matching surfboard, but not before the detective busts in and finds her. She’s arrested for breaking and entering.
Eventually, Cat’s let out and joins the police on the case. This sees them head out to the water where they come across a woman held to ransom. Against the police’s wishes, Cat saves the woman from the boat and they head back to shore, just as the boat behind them explodes. As it happens, Billy Knox is the assailant and after putting the pieces together, Cat heads back and confronts Torie, the girl she saved earlier.
It turns out she was working with Billy the whole time. This leads to a dramatic shootout finale and Cat saving the day. The episode then ends with her being given a position as fixer – someone who can get in and out quietly to help with different police cases. We leave the episode with one final glimpse of Cat looking out at the water as the camera pans out.
If you can take to the style and formulaic nature of Reef Break, you’re sure to have a good time. This goofy, cheesy crime drama may not have the best editing, dialogue or story but there’s still enjoyment to be had here. This feels very much like ABC’s answer to Hawaii Five-O but right now, the show lacks a cutting edge or any sense of originality to help it stand out. The sun-soaked shores are certainly a welcome change from dimly lit streets and night-spots but beyond that, Reef Break fails to really impress in its opening episode.
Having said all that, if you’re looking for some escapism this summer without having to think too hard and can dip in and out during its 40 minute run time, Reef Break may be for you. For everyone else though, Reef Break fails to inspire any sense of originality to make it anything but a one hit wonder at best.
Expect A Full Season Write Up When This Season Concludes!