Updated: Dec. 6, 2023 – Wild Cards, a comedic crime procedural starring Vanessa Morgan, makes its debut in January! The series is a joint venture with the Canadian production company CBC and The CW. It’ll bow in Canada on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024 before its stateside premiere on Wednesday, Jan. 17 at 8 p.m. ET.
Based on the synopsis, which is shared below, it looks like this procedural is going to be similar to The Spencer Sisters, at least in terms of the crime solving having a comedic bent to it:
"[Wild Cards is a] crime-solving procedural with a comedic twist that follows the unlikely duo of a gruff, sardonic cop and a spirited, clever con woman. Ellis, a demoted detective, has unfortunately spent the last year on the maritime unit, while Max has been living a transient life elaborately scamming everyone she meets. But when Max gets arrested and ends up helping Ellis solve a local crime, the two are offered the opportunity to redeem themselves, with Ellis going back to detective and Max staying out of jail. The catch? They have to work together, with each using their unique skills to solve crimes. For Ellis, that means hard-boiled shoe leather police work; for Max, it means accents, schemes and generally befriending everyone in sight, while driving Ellis absolutely nuts. The two will have to learn what it means to trust another person and maybe actually become partners."
If you’re a fan of White Collar or Castle, this series will likely pique your interest. There’s something about the out-of-the-box consultant assisting a serious and by the book cop that lends itself to humorous and at times compelling storytelling. Perhaps it’s the opposites attract (whether romantically or platonically) element to it but it’s been a winning combination on broadcast television for decades.
Riverdale fans will be happy to see Vanessa Morgan in a lead role. She’ll be playing Max, the scammer who has to partner with Ellis or face serving jail time. Having played Toni Topaz for six years, Morgan knows how to strike a balance with comedy and vulnerability as that was required of her on a show as bonkers yet often poignant as Riverdale. Wild Cards also places the actress firmly in the driver’s seat of this procedural vehicle instead of being an often underused lead in an ensemble cast.
Her partner in this series is Giacomo Gianniotti. Grey’s Anatomy fans know him for his work as Dr. Andrew DeLuca. He made his first appearance in season 11 of the medical drama before joining the main cast for seasons 12-17. Gianniotti also participated in three crossover episodes with Station 19, the firefighter procedural that spun off from Grey’s Anatomy. Playing a first responder once again, the actor will this time embody a no nonsense detective by the name of Ellis.
As the Wild Cards synopsis mentioned, Ellis was demoted prior to falling into case work with Max there to assist him. He’d been a part of the maritime unit during his demotion, otherwise known as the water police. They’re the officers who monitor harbors, rivers, and lakes (depending on the unit) and investigate cases in and around those areas as well as respond to calls for help and assist the military when needed.
Keeping with the trend of ’90s and ’00s heartthrobs being cast as dads on The CW, Jason Priestley of Beverly Hills, 90210 fame will be playing George, a master con man and Max’s father. Though he’s currently in prison, he still has major influence due to his charisma and charm. George is loved by many including his fellow inmates and the guards. Max is the apple of his eye and his number one priority. He’s the one who taught her everything she knows and he’s so proud of her.
Wild Cards full cast list:
- Vanessa Morgan as Max Mitchell
- Giacomo Gianniotti as Det. Cole Ellis
- Jason Priestley as George
- Fletcher Donovan as Ricky, Max's dutiful butler
- Michael Xavier as Det. Simmons
- Terry Chen as Chief Li, the no-nonsense police chief
- Amy Goodmurphy as Det. Yates
- Jonesy as Marc, Ellis' cat
Along with Family Law season 3 which premieres Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024 at p.m. ET, Wild Cards is one of the only series to have an announced debut date (as of publication). The All American franchise, Superman & Lois, and Walker won’t be returning with new seasons in January. They’re expected to land on The CW in April, with exception to the Kent’s story which is slated for a later window (likely in the summer) and will end with its fourth season.