Riley Parks (Jennifer Love Hewitt) finds herself in a financial mess when her husband Kyle (Brian Hallisay) abandons her and their two children. With no idea of his whereabouts, Riley has to make ends meet on her own and finds a job in a nearby spa. She soon realises that her new job isn’t all it seems to be and is informed by the owner Georgia (Loretta Devine) that some of the men that visit enjoy a few ‘extras’ in exchange for better tips. Riley goes along with it desperate to provide for her family but must hide the secret of the spa from her mother Lynette (Cybill Sherpherd), her best friend Lacey (Rebecca Field) and her brother-in-law Evan (Colin Egglesfield).
The Client List is based on the successful Lifetime movie of the same name that starred Jennifer Love Hewitt and Cybill Shepherd. For its transition to a series lots of changes were made in terms of characters and plot details. The show ran for two seasons and was sadly cancelled in 2013 following falling ratings and creative differences between Love Hewitt and the producers. It’s a real shame because The Client List is actually a decent drama with a whole lot of heart at its centre.
Love Hewitt has always been a strong screen presence and The Client List marked her return to TV in a lead role following the end of her popular series Ghost Whisperer in 2010. In The Client List she plays the central character Riley Parks, a woman who is down but most certainly not out. Her performance is strong and she’s completely believable in the role.
Essentially the show highlights what a determined single mother will do to provide for her family and whilst it raises a few moral questions, Riley is a character you absolutely root for throughout the first season. You see her transform from being dependent on her husband Kyle to a strong and independent woman who refuses to be trampled on or taken for granted any more. Surrounded by family and friends, Riley keeps her new job secret and soon becomes entrusted with the spa’s secrets much to the dismay of her colleague Selena (Alicia Lagano).
Alongside the main storyline there’s an under-lying plot throughout season one focussing on Riley’s relationship with her brother-in-law Evan (Egglesfield). When Kyle abandons Riley, Evan steps in to be the man about the house and it soon becomes clear that his feelings towards Riley are more than family obligation. Will they get it together? Well we couldn’t possibly tell you so you’ll have to get the boxset and find out.
Riley also has the support of her friend Lacey (Field), a woman she’s known since childhood and treats like a sister, and her feisty several times married mother Lynette (Shepherd). Over the course of the season Riley’s relationship with Lacey hits more than a few bumps whilst she battles to keep her mother in the dark about her job. Outside of her immediate family and friends, Riley also has to navigate the politics of her new job. She soon becomes a favourite of Georgia (Devine) but clashes instantly with Selena (Lagano). For the other women she becomes a confidante and a friend, something she also manages to extend to her clients despite the risqué nature of her work.
The Client List: The Complete First Season features all 10 episodes across 3-discs and extras on the release include out-takes and deleted scenes.
The Client List is a fun and engaging show and we’re absolutely gutted that it was cancelled after only two seasons. The first season of the show has a lot of promise and to be honest anything with Jennifer Love Hewitt in it is always going to be on our ‘to watch’ list. The Client List is an emotive, compelling and enjoyable drama with touches of comedy to lighten the mood. We say get yourself a copy of the boxset so you can enjoy a bit of Riley Parks whenever you feel like it.