Christoph Waltz in a still from ‘The Consultant’ | Photo Credit: Amazon Prime Video
The Consultant’s strengths are also its weaknesses. The series, billed as a workplace comic-horror-thriller (which pretty much describes our work lives), is led by the sublimely scary Christoph Waltz,
He fixes you with his creepy charming act and you are like the proverbial moth fluttering helplessly against that seductive beam of light until you realize that you have seen that coldly calculating beam before and might do well to fly away, rather than go through all the bother of singing your wings and what not.
There are startling twists peppered throughout the show, starting with the first episode where the probable origin of Waltz’s character’s name, Regus Patoff, is revealed. There is a bizarre nightclub sequence, a beautiful Russian amputee, Catholics and discussions on exorcism, a jeweler with a troubled conscience, and an elephant running amok in Los Angeles.
The Consultant (English)
Cast: Christoph Waltz, Nat Wolff, Brittany O’Grady, Aimee Carrero, Jake Manley, Gloria John, Michael Charles Vaccaro, Emily Berry
runtime: 30-36 minutes
Storyline: A tech mogul dies suddenly and a consultant comes to clean house
Based on Bentley Little’s 2015 novel, The consultant tells of a mobile gaming company, CompWare, which finds itself adrift at the sudden death of its 20-year-old CEO, Sang (Brian Yoon). A primly dressed man, Patoff comes into the office saying he is the consultant hired by Sang to get CompWare back on its feet.
Elaine (Brittany O’Grady), Sang’s assistant, and Craig (Nat Wolff), an easy-going coder who dreams of becoming a game creator, are instantly suspicious. The deeper they dig into Patoff, the more muddy things become. Patoff sets the employees against each other and makes impossible demands, despite not even knowing what the company creates.
The hope that Sang’s mother (Gloria John), flying in from Korea, will rein Patoff in is dashed when it turns out that Patoff is the only one who can communicate with her, being the sole speaker of Korean in the room — Mama Sang speaks no english. She also mysteriously disappears after Patoff offers to take her to his hotel.
Patoff doesn’t seem to have any idea of boundaries, interfering in Craig’s relationship troubles with his fiancée, Patti (Aimee Carrero), and commenting on Elaine’s ex-boyfriend, the far-from-suitable Patrice (Jake Manley).
He is particularly cruel to Iain (Michael Charles Vaccaro), who he almost sacks for the way he smells, and Dana (Emily Berry), who he sends across town at odd hours to get him all kinds of food, including homemade shortbread.
The staff at CompWare all changed with Patoff’s entry. Elaine finds her ruthless streak, Craig realizes his dream of becoming a creator at great cost, while others vie with each other to be in Patoff’s good graces no matter what he asks of them.
The consultant is a morality play with the time period kept purposefully off kilter where old-fashioned keys, paper and typewriters jostle for space in the futuristic, open-plan office of the mobile gaming industry. That the many moving parts and ominous reveals do not come together to deliver a cohesive almighty wallop would leave you feeling slightly cheated.
The ride is fun though, with lovely visuals (that office is to die for) and with the happily sinister Waltz holding your hand, you can comfortably binge the eight half-hour episodes.
The Consultant is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.