ABC’s ‘Blood And Oil’ This Fall’s New Take On Dirty Dealings By Oilmen

Posted on Mon 09/14/2015 by

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Julia Seymour01By Julia A Seymour ~

Editor’s note: This story contains spoilers from the first episode of Blood & Oil.

Bloodandoil2What is the result when Hollywood combines oil prospecting, a young couple chasing the American dream, family feuds and crooked officials?

This fall television season, the result is Blood & Oil, ABC’s wannabe-Dallas set in the fictional oil boom town of Rock Springs, North Dakota. The show stars Don Johnson, Chance Crawford and Rebecca Rittenhouse. The trailer even resembled TNT’s Dallas commercials and included plenty of sex.

Judging by the first episode, which will premiere on ABC Sept. 27, viewers can expect many of the same old anti-oil attacks that have been done by TV and movies before including an oil “baron” who is hated by many people in town and has done unethical things to become rich. Oilmen are called “oil thieves” by another character and there’s gambling, swindling, theft and betrayal.

Johnson plays Hap Briggs, that “Baron of the Bakken,” the incredibly wealthy oil-man who controls the region. The initial episode doesn’t reveal any specific skeletons from his closet, but makes it clear he has made many enemies in the process including his son Wick. Wick also hates his stepmother, referring to her as “the Bitch.”

Clifton Lundegren, a man who owns property the Briggs want because it is the only point of access to property they want to drill on, tells Billy LeFever (Chance Crawford) Briggs’ people screwed him over “last time.” He also asks Billy which of the “oil thieves” are you working for?

Wick rants to his lover Jules, the proprietor of a Coyote Ugly-style bar with high stakes gambling and other businesses, that he’s happy that his father “cut him off.”

“You take his money and he owns you. I’ll find my own way,” Wick says, before recruiting a criminal to help him start secretly stealing oil from his father’s oil tankers to make himself rich.

Carla Briggs (actress and model Amber Valletta) is a beautiful, well-connected woman with friends at Goldman Sachs and other banks in New York, savvy at getting information out of people and willing to pressure or bribe corruptible officials when she and Hap deem it necessary for their oil business.

In the first episode, that official is the oil commissioner who tells her he’s getting pressure from Mormons to get a Temple built. Screenfad reported in May after seeing an earlier version of the first episode that the oil and gas commissioner is himself Mormon. She squeezes him for information about a geological “bombshell” at a dinner party by indicating that with the Briggs’ support he could make it all the way to the governor’s mansion and then do whatever he wants about the Temple.

“You’re a little crooked,” Carla says while touching the commissioner’s tie after offering him that enticement.

Billy and Cody, the young married couple who moved to Rock Springs to start a laundromat but go bust before arriving when two semi-trucks run them off the road, are portrayed more sympathetically, at least in the show’s premiere.

The writers clearly have done some research into the actual oil industry since the episode referenced “wildcatting,” “roughing,” and a Halliburton truck that had been “jacked” by thieves to resell.

Julia A. Seymour Contributes posts at the NewsBusters site where she is an Assistant Managing Editor for the Business & Media Institute of the Media Research Center.

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