Edward Albright (Slater) is a secret agent. He speaks 13 languages, is a trained assassin and something of a sexual dynamo. Then one day, everything goes a bit blurry and suddenly he’s Henry Spivey, mild-mannered father of two and loving husband to Angie (Amick). Bit by bit Henry discovers that he has a microchip implanted into his brain and the people who put it there are controlling when he’s Edward and when he’s Henry. Except that there’s been a malfunction with the chip and now nobody controls when they switch. Henry is not happy about this. Edward is really not happy about this. But they have to get on with it. Their life depends on it.
As the 9-episode series continues, there are further developments and difficulties for Henry/Edward to contend with. Their past is not what either of them thought and discovering who knows what in which life is one thing – knowing who to trust is another entirely. As well as being fun to watch each character coping with the other’s life, it’s also interesting to see how they cope with deception and the effects that lying has on personal relationships.
Part Quantum Leap, part True Lies, part Jason Bourne, part Memento, this high concept sci-fi thriller is an interesting if slightly convoluted idea. While Edward is trying to go about his business as a secret agent – globetrotting, getting information, killing baddies – he’s constantly being sabotaged, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not by Henry. Meanwhile, Henry is constantly being put in situations way, way, way outside his comfort zone. These covert ops of the agents provide a narrative on which it all hangs but it’s the dynamic between Henry and Edward that’s the beating heart of the show.
Christian Slater plays both parts to perfection, switching from the amoral, even psychopathic Edward to the homely, caring Henry with great ease. The support is solid with James Cromwell his usual imperious self while Saffron Burrows seems to have come on in leaps and bounds since Deep Blue Sea. Mädchen Amick is fine, in several senses, but in the end Angie is just a bit too understanding of Henry and his split personality for it to entirely ring true. But overall it’s a glossy, well written production that’s a lot of fun, which makes it all the more disappointing that My Own Worst Enemy has been cancelled. Not only that, but very little is tied up at the conclusion of the last episode making the ending ever so slightly frustrating.