Amazon’s ‘Sneaky Pete’ worth the wait after a long hiatus

It’s been 14 months since Season 2 of “Sneaky Pete” premiered on Amazon — and therein lies the rub with this third go-round encompassing the seriocomic arc of con man Marius Josipovic (Giovanni Ribisi) and his extended “family.”

The long lag time between seasons — a la “Game of Thrones,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Westworld,” to name just a few — means that “Sneaky Pete” fans likely won’t remember where it left off last year. It’s a niggling problem that’s somewhat alleviated by an introductory catch-up montage in the May 10 season premiere. Still, it will take viewers a few minutes to re-acclimate themselves to this show’s complex narrative puzzle.

Without getting into too much detail, Season 3 finds Marius/Pete returning to his faux Bernhardt “family” in Bridgeport: grandparents Audrey and Otto (Margo Martindale and Pete Gerety) and their grown grandkids Taylor (Shane McRae), Julia (Marin Ireland) and Carly (Libe Barer). Julia, who’s now aware of Pete’s true identity, decides to keep her mouth shut, for now, as her rocky relationship with Audrey and Otto tumbles further downhill. Her much-younger sister, Carly, seeks the truth about her dead parents — at whatever the emotional cost — and Taylor, a Bridgeport cop, teams with Pete to help save the family’s bail-bond business. And that’s just the tip of the “Sneaky Pete” narrative iceberg.

In an effort to push the story forward, Season 3 introduces a prominent new character: Lizzie (Israeli actress Efrat Dor), a con artist from Marius/Pete’s past who entices him back into the business and into a major con involving Russian businessmen and a bottle of very expensive wine. Amy Landecker (“Transparent”) also joins the cast as an old friend of Otto’s who’s still in the Bernhardts’ orbit — one of several twists and turns in the season’s first two episodes.

Ribisi, Ireland, McRae and Barer are in top form, and special kudos go to Martindale and Gerety, who shine as Audrey and Otto and are both getting a lot more well-deserved screen time than in seasons past. These veteran actors are very believable as an older couple with a river of water under their marital bridge — both good and bad — who obviously will do anything for their family, no matter how devious or illegal. Martindale, in particular, expresses a seething rage and frustration in several scenes with Gerety and Ireland; she does “angry” better than anyone I’ve seen in a long time, but it’s not too surprising given her resume with sterling turns on “The Americans,” “The Good Wife,” “The Good Fight,” and even the animated Netflix series “BoJack Horseman.”

“Sneaky Pete” was co-created by Bryan Cranston (with David Shore), who appeared in Season 1 as gangster Vince Lonigan. Vince hasn’t been seen since, but here’s hoping that, like other “Sneaky Pete” characters in Season 3, he will reappear to haunt Marius/Pete.

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