NPR

'The Flight Attendant' Is A Fizzy, Dark And Funny Mystery

Kaley Cuoco plays a messy flight attendant in the HBO MAX series that begins when one very bad night leads to one very rough morning.
Kaley Cuoco plays the flight attendant in The Flight Attendant, a darkly funny thriller from HBO MAX. Source: Phil Caruso

There is a whole genre of comedy-thriller that you might call the Long Night story. Our central character goes out and does something foolish, or perhaps just stumbles into the wrong place at the wrong time, and suddenly, everything is a mess. Maybe the police are chasing them, maybe criminals are; maybe it's just going to be a long time before they emerge, squinting and blinking, into the sun, probably looking a mess, maybe still wearing the Long Night outfit.

At the beginning of , based on Chris Bohjalian's novel, Cassie has had a Long Night. She is a flight attendant (you're with me so far!), and she's played by Kaley Cuoco, who just came off 12 seasons on the blockbuster sitcom. Cassie is a heavy drinker, an indiscriminate hookupper, and a woman with a general tendency to skid into work on a waft of booze breath and mouthwash after spending her nights singing karaoke or visiting strip clubs or generally enjoying the hospitality of the great cities of the world. But following this particular night, she wakes up with a dead body. (This happens ten minutes into the first of eight episodes; it is more premise than spoiler.) From here, her Long Night becomes a general Rough Time, full of intrigue, mystery, confusion, fear, recriminations, and a desperate effort to piece together what just happened — since, as luck would have it, she blacked out.

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