It's a common scam and I felt a sucker for falling for one of the oldest tricks in the book.

On offer, full and free access to the joys and wonders usually locked behind a paywalled service. I merely had to hand over my credit card numbers and I could stuff my eyeballs with as much free Amazon Prime Video (APV) as possible.

A good con always needs a ticking clock and APV only gives you a week before cutting you off. Only they don't cut you off do they? No. Instead, they do something much, much worse.

They begin charging you.


That's how the con works. You sign up, you watch some free stuff, life goes on and you forget to cancel. Congratulations, you just got played.

In my case the sting of being taken for a fool ached just that little bit more than usual.

That's because my only reason for signing up was work. I had to write about their much hyped Jeremy Clarkson vehicle The Grand Tour. Of which I got through all of three episodes before I'd had enough.

What I should have done straight after reviewing the show was cancelled my trial. What I did instead, was nothing. I'm now locked in for another month. It's not like I'm going to cancel now that I've paid for it. I'm cheap, not stupid.

So, being one of the few Kiwis who can call themselves a fully-fledged, paid up subscriber to APV, I decided to make the most of my subscription by watching another show.

Forget Clarkson and his tired old automobile-based antics. It's a series called Sneaky Pete that should motivate you to check APV out.

Giovanni Ribisi and Bryan Cranston star in Sneaky Pete, an Amazon Prime Video Original Series.
Giovanni Ribisi and Bryan Cranston star in Sneaky Pete, an Amazon Prime Video Original Series.

I hadn't heard anything about it before taking a punt. But the promo shot looked intriguing. It had a shifty sort of photo of the well-known actor Giovanni Ribisi and the tagline, 'The truth is always changing'.

Then I saw it was about a conman and that it was both co-created by and starring Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston. That was good enough for me. I clicked play.


To be honest, after the first episode I wasn't entirely convinced. I thought it was okay. I wasn't wowed.

It was only during episode two that I realised how much groundwork and set-up had been moved out of the way. By episode three I was in full binge-mode as the story of Ribisi's hustle on an unsuspecting small town family started to really ramp up.

And it was in episode four that my mind was blown.

Sneaky Pete is a slick, crime-drama that deserves to be a big hit. What started off as an innocent hustle has quickly expanded to include Cranston's underworld kingpin, crooked detectives, ruthless American-Indian criminals, Irish hitmen, dodgy lawyers, fellow grifters and, so far at least, one stomach-churning dismemberment.

Ribisi, who has made a solid career out of playing oddball weirdos, is always pretty good. Here, however, he's great as the hustling Pete. Distrustful, on edge, flying by his wits, easing in and out of charm offensives and channelling his nervous energy into constructing lies on the fly. His whole face contorting from pained worry into beaming 'trust me' smiles.

Great as he is, Cranston's performance is the real reason you should be watching Sneaky Pete. He is just something else. Most amply demonstrated in the aforementioned episode four, appropriately named The Fury.


It's here that Cranston gives one of the best acting displays I've seen. A powerhouse performance in which he delivers an arresting 10-minute monologue that sees him sliding from charismatic bonhomie to threatening menace and back again with a master's ease.

Giovanni Ribisi and Bryan Cranston star in Sneaky Pete, an Amazon Prime Video Original Series.
Giovanni Ribisi and Bryan Cranston star in Sneaky Pete, an Amazon Prime Video Original Series.

It's utterly captivating. Totally gripping. The best/worst sort of intense. It's violently unpredictable, his mood ping-ponging between extremes and sucking all the air out of the room. The tension escalating the longer his near-endless speech goes.

You really can't tell where he's going with it, but you know it's not going to end well for at least one of the people in the room with him.

Truly, this monologue has proven to be worth the cost of this month's ill-gotten subscription fee alone.

It'll be hard for Cranston to ever top Breaking Bad's Walter White but hot damn if he isn't giving it a solid crack with his charismatic gangster Vince in Sneaky Pete.

And, if that doesn't convince you to check it out, well, nothing will. You'd be a fool to not get on it.


Trust me. Would this face lie to you?