A strange business consultant who shows up mysteriously at a company just days after the CEO is murdered sounded like a great idea for a limited series.
The scenario resonates with many who have experienced the unsettled feeling of insecurity when a team of consultants is hired by upper management to poke their noses into everybody’s business and then suggest changes.
The show’s very title, “The Consultant” (starting on Amazon Prime on Friday), has the power to instill fear and induce chills.
That is especially true for this particular consultant with the odd name of Regus Patoff because the actor who plays him is Christoph Waltz (pictured above).
He is perfectly cast. Waltz is an actor who has proven time and time again to be adept at playing unctuous characters who make everyone around them feel uncomfortable.
In “The Consultant,” Patoff arrives at the offices of a prospering video-game company, CompWare, whose founder, CEO and leading light was shot to death while entertaining a group of schoolchildren in his office.
When Patoff shows up, the company is already seemingly out of business and all of its employees out of work.
Brandishing a consulting contract that he claims was signed by the now-deceased CEO two weeks before his death, Patoff orders all of the employees to return as he takes up the task of reviving a company, which, by his own admission, he knows nothing about.
Thus, a man no one has ever seen before, and who cannot even be found on the internet, has basically established himself as the head of a company simply by walking in the door one day waving a few worthless papers.
On its face, this scenario is implausible. Many shows are just as implausible, but they work nonetheless.
“The Consultant” is not one of them. Throughout the viewing of the first episode, I was thinking way too much of the ways in which this one-man takeover would not be possible. These thoughts served as a distraction.
In the show, Patoff’s “foes,” as it were, are two employees -- a coder and a former assistant to the now-deceased CEO -- who take it upon themselves to try and solve the mystery of who this guy is.
As far as the first episode goes, the two seem to be out of their depth in taking on this man, especially after they succeed in digging up something sinister about his past.
The best part of the show is watching Christoph Waltz. But in one scene likely created to reveal the depths of Patoff’s inner cruelty, the show resorts to a simulation of sexual assault that is gratuitous at best and at worst, disgusting.
One thing I did like was a throwaway line uttered by one of the characters: “TV makes you stupid.” Tell me about it …
“The Consultant” starts streaming on Friday (February 24) on Amazon Prime Video.