Watching the two-hour pilot for ABC’s “Red Widow” got me thinking — once again — about the remarkable pacing of “Breaking Bad.” The AMC series may have ruined the possibility of nuanced character development for most other TV series. We’ve been able to intimately watch Walter White change across almost five seasons, with an incremental progress that has made each tiny shift visible and distinct. The man lost his heart, his dignity, his family, his morality, step by excruciating step. His journey has shown personality change as a kind of gradual erosion.
“Red Widow” is about a Bay Area housewife and mother of three named Marta Walraven (Radha Mitchell) who becomes a mob criminal after her drug-smuggling husband is shot to death. Her evolution is whiplash fast, and by the end of the premiere, Sunday at 9 p.m. on Channel 5, she’s using her sex appeal to help along an elaborate drug deal. She’s charging into the office of evil crime boss Nicholae Schiller (Goran Visnjic) to give him a piece of her mind. Sure, Marta still exhibits signs of wariness and fear, but I’m guessing by next week’s episode she’ll be packing heat.