Review: Trust

FX continues to mine the true-life scripted series genre with its latest drama, Trust.

The 10-episode series, inspired by actual events, follows the infamous 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, an heir to the Getty Oil fortune. Harris Dickinson plays Getty III, a young nomad who is introduced into the series by barging in on the funeral reception for his uncle, who killed himself amid the high-stakes pressure of being a sibling of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty Sr., played masterfully by Donald Sutherland.

Looking for a successor for his business and disappointed with his own children, Getty Sr. is intrigued by his grandson’s youthful approach to life and finds that the two share a lot of common interests. Getty Sr. even reveals the secrets of his financial success to his young charge as they tour one of his massive oil rigs.

Getty Sr. doesn’t demur even when the younger Getty asks him for a sizable loan to pay off mounting debts. But things take an unusual turn when Getty III is kidnapped by the Mafia in Rome and held for ransom. With Getty Sr. and Paul’s father, J. Paul Getty Jr. (Michael Esper), indifferent to meet the demands of the kidnappers, the task of negotiations falls to Paul’s mom Gail Getty (Hilary Swank).

FX sets the stage for the kidnapping very early while still effectively portraying the unique and often unnerving complexities and mindset of the Getty clan — including several mistresses of Getty Sr. — which makes the story intriguing, even though many viewers know most of the details.

The cast, which also includes Brendan Fraser, Anna Chancellor, Charlotte Riley, Nobert Leo Butz and Luca Marinelli, is top notch, and the excellent direction of Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) makes Trust an interesting watch as it provides a bird’s eye view of the Getty dynasty.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.