n 2004, the West Texas sex scandal rocked the city of Odessa, Texas when a police investigation of the Healing Touch massage parlor uncovered allegations of prostitution and city corruption.
By 2010, a dramatization of the scandal was featured on the Lifetime Network titled "The Client List" in 2010 and starred actresses Jennifer Love Hewitt ("Ghost Whisperer", I Know What You Did Last Summer") and Cybill Shepard ("Moonlighting", "Taxi Driver", "The Last Picture Show"). The film did well in the ratings for the network as the film drew in 3.9 million viewers and earned Jennifer Love Hewitt a Golden Globe nomination.
In 2011, Lifetime ordered production for a TV series but a re-imagining of the film featuring different characters but yet would feature both Hewitt and Shepard along with Loretta Devine ("Crash", "I Am Sam", "Death at a Funeral"), Colin Egglesfield ("Melrose Place", "S.W.A.T.", "Beautiful Dreamer"), Rebecca Field ("American Reunion", "October Road") and Brian Hallisay ("Privileged", "Hostel: Part III").
With the second season set to premiere on the Lifetime Network in March, "The Client List - The Complete First Season" will be released on DVD in Feb. 2013.
In the TV drama series "The Client List", Jennifer Love Hewitt plays the main character Riley Parks. Rile is a loving wife, a mother of two but trying to keep her marriage alive despite the problems with her husband Kyle (portrayed by Brian Hallisay), who is losing his temper due to financial problems.
One day, Riley came home but her husband Kyle had left her behind with the kids and no note of where he was going or what he was going to do. Fortunately, through this tough time, she has her mother Linette (portrayed by Cybil Shepherd), her best friend since childhood, Lacey Jean (portrayed by Rebecca Field) and her husband's brother Evan (portrayed by Colin Egglesfield), who happens to like her.
Desperate and knowing she must do all she can to raise her two kids and pay for the house to avoid foreclosure, Riley tries to apply for jobs and is recommended by Selene Ramos (portrayed by Alicia Lagano), a masseuse who urges her to use her skills as a massage therapist and apply at a massage parlor where she works at, known as "The Rub".
She is hired immediately by the owner of "The Rub", George Cummings (portrayed by Loretta Devine) and on the first day of her job, she finds out that while the parlor does legit masseuse work, for other women to make more money, they also provide"extra services" to their clients.
At first, Riley refuses to do these "extra services", like her co-worker Jolene (portrayed by Kathleen York). But with threats of her home being foreclosed and in deep financial trouble, Riley decides to go forward with the "extra services" in order to provide for her family but keep this secret life without her family and friends knowing.
But while working at the parlor, she must deal with her mother Linette who is insistent on her daughter starting her life anew and start dating again, meanwhile dealing with Selena, who has become jealous that "The Rub" owner Georgia, is starting to become closer to Riley and giving her more responsibility. And while dealing with her financial problems, issues at home with her children getting into trouble because their father is not home and also discovering new things about her husband that she never knew about, how will Riley deal with these problems?
VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
"The Client List - The Complete First Season" is presented in 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen and audio is presented in English, English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. Picture quality is good for what one can expect on DVD. Lighting is well-done, many outdoor scenes and for the most part, most viewers will be pleased with the picture quality of the series on DVD.
As for the audio, the series is presented in English and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1. Dialogue is clear while the musical soundtrack is also very good in Dolby Digital 5.1. I didn't notice too much surround sound but for a dialogue-driven drama series, the soundtrack is appropriate.
Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish.
"The Client List - The Complete First Season" comes with the following special features:
Outtakes - (3:42) Outtakes from the first season of "The Client List" and is featured on disc 2.
Deleted Scenes - A total of 19 deleted scenes are featured on all three DVD discs.
"The Client List - The Complete First Season" comes with a slipcover.
To take a real incident and make it into a telefilm is one thing, but to take that concept and continue it for a full TV series, suffice to say, for "The Client List", I wasn't sure how things would be.
But after watching the first season, with solid writing, a pretty good cast including guest-stars and Jennifer Love Hewitt using her well-known figure for this series, everything has come together for this drama.
Unlike the film, what works is how writers are able to show growth of the character of Riley. Unlike the original film or the story that it's based on, the TV series is not all about sex. Yes, a single mother is raising her children while working at a massage parlor that gives out "extra services", but this character looks at her job as a way to listen to the men and help them out with their problems.
Men who are having problems in their marriage or relationship, Riley is always there to give good advice, great back rubs and whatever she does (that does not include "sex" or whatever she defines as what is sex and what isn't).
But we also see how being a single mother affects her family. Her children having a difficult time adjusting, her mother insisting that she go after a new man, meanwhile taking in more responsibilities at the massage parlor but knowing that she must be careful because of undercover cops.
Meanwhile, you have these supporting characters that make the story interesting.
Riley's mother Linette is a woman who has gone through multiple divorces, but this new man in her life...is he legit?
Lacey Jean is Riley's best friend but what happens when she starts doing her own undercover work in trying to find out how Riley is making money?
Georgia Cummings, the owner of the massage parlor is seen as a woman with power and deep connections, but what happens when she goes against a major politician?
Evan Parks is the brother of Riley's husband and he really likes Riley, but is afraid because that's his brother's wife? But he left her and is nowhere to be found, so does that mean he can go for her? So he faces that conundrum.
Selena Ramos, the one who helped Riley get the job becomes her major rival due to jealousy and what happens when she tries to get close to Evan?
There are also stories involving Riley's co-workers and also an ongoing story regarding the secrets that Riley's husband Kyle has been hiding from her.
But so far, this first season turned out to be quite fascinating and I have been enjoying the series so far. Of course, if you try to look to deep and take this drama a bit too seriously, you may find yourself questioning the series. For example, small town in Texas, yet everyone who comes to the massage parlor seems to look like they all have a fantastic physique and are super models, aside from one hairy man and an old man who dies on the the massage table, the show needs to bring in some normalcy. But I understand, this series is for "Lifetime" and I'm sure the female demographic who enjoy the show would rather see well-fit men, than overweight people come into the massage parlor.
As for criticisms of why she doesn't find a new and different job, Riley explains that she loves the job because she feels she can reach out to people (emotionally). I know there are some who make the juxtaposition of how Jennifer Love Hewitt's last TV job was to help the spirits of the departed in "The Ghost Whisperer", and some going as far as to call "The Client List", "Massage Whisperer". But I'm sure that writers will have quite a bit to work with, considering the little twists that happen towards the end of the first season.
But by no means is this person perfect, not a perfect wife or mother, but she tries. She feels that in order to feed her family and keep them in a home, she has to work hard for them. Anyone looking for moral stories, will probably want to bypass this series. And while the series is not rated, it does have a good amount of profanity as well. So, if profanity bugs you, then this series is not for you.
As for the DVD, picture and audio quality is very good on DVD and you get a good number of special features with many deleted scenes and outtakes.
I look at the first season of "The Client List" as a way to help introduce the characters, establish their background and show the dangers of what the main protagonist does for a living. Especially when you have high rollers, people involved in big business or politics who frequent the place. But it looks like the danger will be heightened for Riley and friends for season two.
The series is obviously not politically correct nor is it moralistic but because we know how the originally story ended, we know that while these women who engage in this practice may be making big money and are happy at first, things are going to be crashing down. I'm not sure how long Lifetime can extend a series like this as the subject matter is not something I can see people getting stringed along for several seasons long. People are going to expect some type of repercussion from the work these ladies do for a living. And the way the first season ends, it doesn't look as if things are going that good for a few of them.
Overall, "The Client List" is a sexy, provocative drama series that people have come to either love or hate.I gave the series a try and the writing did get better and better and its utilization of the cast also has gotten better with each episode for the first season. It's a series that benefits from solid writing, a very good performance from Jennifer Love Hewitt but a series that manages to utilize the twist and turns effectively. I expect a better season 2 but for the most part, "The Client List" is an entertaining drama series that should not be taken too seriously. Just sit back, watch and enjoy.