Bravo's 'Imposters' Attempts to Make Con Artists "Accessible"

"The rug can shift under the audience's feet every now and then and that’s a really fun thing to do," said co-creator Paul Adelstein of the series.
Ed Araquel/Bravo

Con artist dramas are nothing new on TV. (See: The Catch, Better Call Saul, Shut Eye, to name a few).

But Bravo's forthcoming drama on the subject, Imposters, hopes it still has a few tricks up its sleeve.

"We wanted to con the audience whenever possible," co-creator Adam Brooks told reporters Tuesday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour.

Bravo's third scripted series, Imposters centers on Maddie (Gang Related's Inbar Lavi), a persona-shifting con artist who is as beautiful as she is dangerous, which makes her unsuspecting victims even more tormented when they realize they have been used and robbed of everything ... including their hearts.

"She offered something we needed, that we wanted to believe in. When she leaves, we're stuck with a broken heart with our better half missing," said Young. "We're looking not just for her, for our money, but looking for who we are in the absence of this better half."

Formerly titled My So Called Wife, the series kicks off when her latest victims, Ezra (Rob Heaps) and Richard (Enlisted's Parker Young), try to track her down just as she eyes her next mark. Brooks and co-creator Paul Adelstein — a familiar face to Bravo viewers from his time as an actor and writer on Bravo's Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce — were influenced by con films like Out of Sight, Pulp Fiction and The Lady Eve.

"The characters are always revealing themselves in ways that are unexpected," said Brooks. "A lot of these characters are reinventing themselves and the ways they reinvent themselves can make you sympathetic to them or unsympathetic."

Adelsteon also emphasized the "constantly shifting" sympathies of the audience. During the course of the season, he said, these sympathies might move from the victims like Ezra and Richard to Maddie, as the series follows both her next con and her struggles in that world, as well as their struggle to find her and slowly move on with their own lives.

"They do some questionable things, even though you are sympathetic towards their plight," said Adelstein. "The rug can shift under the audience's feet every now and then, and that’s a really fun thing to do."

However, Heaps said that Ezra and Richard's bumpy entry into con-men territory will make them easy to root for. "That's the great thing about this show is that it's accessible," he said with a laugh, pointing to other "slick" and "glamorous" con artists portrayed in Hollywood. "We're very much entry level."

But Heaps also promised that "the practice starts paying off," as the two look for clues with little money in their pockets, thanks to Maddie.

"Over the course of the season, those stories unfold in different kinds of ways, sometimes in flashback," said Brooks. "As Ezra and Jules and Richard try to catch up to Maddie they stumble on things from her past, so we're really very much interested in what happened with those stories and again try to do it in a very specific way."

Because Maddie assumed a different identity and backstory for every mark, "the three of them are chasing after her but they're chasing after three different versions of her."

Just as her victims are trying to find themselves without, the question of Maddie's true identity becomes a central question — one that Lavi herself admitted she hasn't cracked quite yet. "I don't think I found her yet," said Lavi. "I was nervous I wasn’t getting her," before the actresses ultimately realized "she doesn't know who she is."

Imposters premieres Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 10 p.m. on Bravo.