BREAKING NEWS 1 dead after Saturday morning crash in Cerro Gordo County Full Story

'Billions' and 'Trust' share jaded view of the ruthless rich

Not to say TV loves the eccentric lives of billionaires, but two dramas about them will air opposite each other Sunda...

Posted: Mar 24, 2018 11:20 AM
Updated: Mar 24, 2018 11:20 AM

Not to say TV loves the eccentric lives of billionaires, but two dramas about them will air opposite each other Sunday: "Trust," an FX series that's the second iteration in the last four months of oil magnate J. Paul Getty's life; and "Billions," the Showtime series about a hedge fund manager at war with New York's U.S. attorney.

Although one show is based on fact and the other is reality-inspired fiction, they share a basic footprint in examining the corrupting influence of wealth, with "Billions" especially focused on the clash between private influence and those wielding public levers of power.

Inevitably, "Trust" will be compared to "All the Money in the World," the recent Ridley Scott movie about the kidnapping of Getty's grandson that became more memorable when Christopher Plummer was enlisted as a last-minute replacement for scandal-tarred Kevin Spacey.

The series format, however, allows for a slow-motion look at the story that doesn't necessarily benefit the telling, examining what happened from a number of different characters' perspectives -- an idea that proves less enticing than that sounds.

The first hour is considerably better than the next two, focusing on Getty, played with imperial splendor by Donald Sutherland. As the show begins, his son's suicide has left a void in Getty's succession plans, at the precise moment when grandson John Paul Getty III (Harris Dickinson) waltzes back into his life.

Mostly, Getty surrounds himself with hangers-on and sycophants, prodding what amounts to his royal court to debate who loves him the most. Getty, meanwhile, rages about his "feckless progeny," especially compared to those bearing the names of other industrial titans, like Joe Kennedy.

Unfortunately, "Trust" doesn't compound its interest over subsequent hours, which chronicle Paul's kidnapping, and the elder Getty -- unwilling to pay "a single, solitary cent" in ransom -- dispatching security chief Fletcher Chase (Brendan Fraser) to seek his release. Part of the problem involves having Fraser speak directly to the camera, perhaps intended to be more "Fargo"-esque, but which winds up feeling just plain goofy.

"Trust" does boast a strong cast -- including Hilary Swank as Getty's daughter in law, little used in the early going -- and it's interesting to see how it differs from "All the Money in the World." In tandem, they provide an example of how writers can work from the same basic set of facts and conjure two somewhat disparate treatments.

Where "Trust" yields diminishing returns, "Billions" remains a shrewd investment, having ended its second season with a scintillating twist on the central cat-and-mouse game, and picking up pretty seamlessly where that left off.

Without giving anything away, billionaire trader Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) has been outmaneuvered by ambitious attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti), putting his company's future at risk. Still, Axelrod isn't lacking for resources, and despite having struck a blow against Axelrod -- at the expense of betraying those closest to him -- Rhoades isn't out of the woods either, with a shift in the regulatory climate among the potential challenges he faces.

Once again, "Billions" distinguishes itself as an extremely smart, high-stakes chess match, where the principals play Monopoly with real buildings, and the combatants are so ruthlessly determined to win that they're blinded to, or simply ignore, the collateral damage.

Both shows offer glimpses into lives of wealth and privilege, where money enables the principals to indulge their darkest fantasies but doesn't necessarily buy happiness or contentment.

Even so, when it comes to dramatizing the lifestyles of the filthy rich, the one-two punch provided by "Trust" and "Billions" is a reminder that the ongoing fascination remains one of TV's most renewable resources.

"Trust" and "Billions" season 3 premiere on March 25 at 10 p.m. on FX and Showtime, respectively.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 87807

Reported Deaths: 2002
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin25454917
Ramsey10349316
Dakota6995125
Anoka5596132
Stearns367023
Washington349255
Scott236632
Olmsted225327
Nobles192016
Blue Earth15566
Wright14937
Carver13197
Rice12908
St. Louis128229
Mower12614
Clay121340
Sherburne106313
Kandiyohi9112
Winona82818
Lyon6344
Steele5132
Freeborn5043
Nicollet49516
Watonwan4954
Benton4923
Todd4722
Le Sueur4413
McLeod4382
Waseca4228
Chisago4211
Crow Wing41018
Otter Tail3734
Beltrami3654
Goodhue3219
Martin2909
Itasca26413
Polk2624
Becker2372
Pine2360
Isanti2340
Carlton2311
Douglas2291
Cottonwood2140
Pipestone2089
Morrison1901
Dodge1880
Chippewa1851
Sibley1693
Meeker1662
Wabasha1660
Unassigned16552
Brown1642
Murray1492
Rock1450
Yellow Medicine1442
Mille Lacs1363
Faribault1290
Jackson1251
Cass1233
Renville1206
Roseau1090
Pennington1081
Fillmore1050
Houston1040
Swift1041
Kanabec1008
Koochiching1003
Lincoln950
Redwood930
Stevens901
Pope820
Hubbard710
Aitkin691
Big Stone660
Wadena610
Grant574
Wilkin553
Norman510
Lake480
Marshall481
Mahnomen451
Lac qui Parle410
Red Lake370
Traverse290
Clearwater240
Lake of the Woods201
Kittson130
Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 78552

Reported Deaths: 1255
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk15133256
Johnson496227
Woodbury486561
Black Hawk431686
Linn3722105
Story326317
Scott271227
Dubuque266140
Dallas265338
Pottawattamie195137
Buena Vista193312
Marshall175634
Sioux12753
Wapello124357
Webster118414
Muscatine105452
Clinton104618
Plymouth100120
Cerro Gordo98621
Crawford9804
Warren9226
Jasper74232
Des Moines7247
Marion7014
Tama68531
Carroll6275
Henry5974
Lee5857
Wright5571
Dickinson4756
Bremer4597
Boone4557
Washington42711
Louisa41915
Franklin33117
Mahaska32619
Delaware3183
Hamilton3143
Jackson2923
Floyd2913
Winneshiek2835
Benton2781
Clay2773
Hardin2731
Winnebago26211
Butler2572
Clarke2533
Emmet24810
Shelby2411
Jones2393
Allamakee2375
Poweshiek2368
Lyon2323
Buchanan2291
Clayton2273
Cedar2171
Guthrie2115
Kossuth2090
Chickasaw2030
Grundy2002
Madison1992
Sac1980
Cherokee1792
Howard1795
Iowa1791
Fayette1781
Mitchell1750
Hancock1712
Harrison1692
Humboldt1693
Calhoun1672
Mills1621
Palo Alto1560
Pocahontas1502
Monroe14410
Page1410
Lucas1386
Jefferson1321
Cass1282
Monona1281
Osceola1210
Appanoose1193
Taylor1191
Union1193
Davis1134
Van Buren1081
Worth1000
Keokuk891
Montgomery855
Ida840
Greene820
Fremont790
Wayne792
Adair621
Decatur580
Audubon551
Ringgold412
Adams270
Unassigned150
Rochester
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 65°
Mason City
Few Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 67°
Albert Lea
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 68°
Austin
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 64°
Charles City
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 66°
Cooler to wrap up the work week
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

What are the benefits of bringing football back to Minnesota this fall?

Image

Candlelight vigil for Prisoners of War

Image

MC Masters National Championship Regatta

Image

Early voting begins in Minnesota

Image

Dooley's Pub closes due to health hazards

Image

Area athletic directors prep to welcome back sports

Image

Early voting begins in Minnesota

Image

TikTok Ban to Begin This Weekend

Image

Sara's Evening Forecast - Friday

Image

Cedar River Rendezvous still on

Community Events