If you're going to be a grifter and perpetuate simultaneous long cons in two cities in the same state at the same time, one might think you'd find two names a little more different than Robert Allen and Bob Allen.
But as those who saw the premiere last week of the new Monday Fox drama "Lone Star," that's exactly the situation of a young, baby-faced con man (James Wolk) with one life and love in Midland, Texas, and another life and wife in Houston (the series films in and around Dallas).
"He doesn't put on a nose and glasses," Wolk says. "Does he want to get caught? Are you figuring something out for me?"
In "Lone Star," Robert lives in the West Texas town of Midland with sweet, naive Lindsay (Eloise Mumford), where he barbecues and sells shares in nonexistent oil and gas wells to friends, neighbors and anyone else he can sweet-talk into signing a check.
Meanwhile, in Houston, Bob is married to Cat (Adrianne Palicki), daughter of self-made oil baron Clint Thatcher (Jon Voight), whose two sons -- Drew (Bryce Johnson) and Trammell (Mark Deklin) -- have had to deal with Clint's decision to give his son-in-law a high-powered job in his company.
Complicating Allen's life in both scams is his father, John (David Keith), a hard-core confidence man who wonders if his boy is going soft.
"My character, is he a good guy?" Wolk says. "That's a fair question. Someone's gonna get hurt, and by the way, it could be him that gets hurt. He's playing with fire."
"Here's what I think," Voight says. "Clint suspects him of being a hustler, but he doesn't think of him being a con man, per se. He thinks he's a hardworking person, like himself. He likes him because he's starting with nothing. He's willing to put in 20-hour days, run around, hustling. Clint sees himself."
Allen has already leveraged his influence in the oil company to cover his tracks back in Midland, and now he's thinking he could possibly get away with keeping both the plates spinning at once. He might even try doing a straight job for his father-in-law.This, though, doesn't sit well with his father.
"John just feels that everybody else out there," Keith says, "is there for the possible exploitation and financial gain of John himself. He was trained that way by his dad and his grandfather and wants it to continue in his family. He's a pure sociopath. Other people exist as a mark, as a means to financial gain. If they've got a soft spot, he's going to lean on it.
"He and his son are part of the same team. If his son left the team, then that's opening himself up to the vulnerability. All's fair."
But whether John would actually turn on his son is not certain.
"For John, it's all about his son," executive producer Amy Lippman says. "For Clint, it's all about his family. So it was not simply about the acquisition of power and money. I think those things are really secondary to both of them.
"What's at the heart of (this show) is holding on to people they love. That seems to be not only a soap-opera concept, but actually a pretty universal concept."
And even though Clint isn't a criminal, don't underestimate what he might do if Allen's secret ever comes out.
"He'll take his head," Voight says. "He will protect his clan to the death. He's dangerous to mess with. He's a righteous man, and he probably wouldn't go to the police.
"He'd take care of it himself, but I don't think he'd use weapons."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun