Kaley Cuoco

PHOTO: Kaley Cuoco. PARADE

Ava Bartlett (played by Kaley Cuoco) and her true-crime fascination are starting to irritate her husband Nathan (played by Chris Messina). Whether it’s the latest podcast, such as “Sisters in Crime,” or the local news, the “Westside Ripper” case has claimed yet another victim in their neighborhood, which surrounds their home.

Excitedly, the heavily pregnant real estate agent exclaims, “They’re talking about a serial killer basically in our backyard – it’s so thrilling,” much to Nathan’s annoyance.

Nathan replies, “Shouldn’t we be playing Baby Mozart or something?”

Nathan, who is nearing 50 and expecting a child, is grappling with his past as a tennis champion, only to be demoted to the role of “director of tennis” at the Beverly Club due to a career-ending knee injury.

Things take a turn for the worse when he’s further demoted, replaced by a 20-something who offers cocktails-and-cardio sessions for young mothers, which Nathan disapproves of. He’s now in charge of the club’s program for five-year-olds. When he’s told it’s because the “moms love” Mason (played by Belmont Cameli), he’s indignant, retorting, “They don’t love him; they’re drunk.”

Nathan’s frustration escalates when he returns home to find they need a new toilet. After resisting the salesperson’s upselling, they search for a plumber to install it. Matt Pierce (played by Tom Bateman), a charming divorcee claiming to be from the same town as Ava, enters the scene. After fixing the immediate issue, Matt uncovers a more significant plumbing problem in their house. Concerned about the cost, Nathan strikes a deal with him – three months of free tennis coaching in exchange for the plumbing work.

Kaley Cuoco and Chris Messina play husband and wife Ava and Nathan Bartlett on Based on a True Story.
Kaley Cuoco and Chris Messina play husband and wife Ava and Nathan Bartlett on Based on a True Story. SUPPLIED

A friendship quickly develops between Nathan and Matt. However, when a female bartender at their frequented pub turns up dead, seemingly the Westside Ripper’s latest victim, Ava starts to question how much they truly know about Matt. Even Nathan becomes convinced that Matt could be the killer when the police find an item of evidence associated with the “pipey,” the killer’s signature. Just as he’s about to call 9-1-1, Ava suggests a different plan she believes could be more lucrative for them.

“Based on a True Story,” created by Craig Rosenberg, an Australian-born writer known for “Preacher” and “The Boys,” is a darkly comedic series. Its appeal largely rests on the talents of Cuoco and Messina. Much like “The Flight Attendant,” Cuoco skillfully balances humor and serious moments, using her physicality and facial expressions to convey her character’s changing moods. Messina’s worn-down, world-weary portrayal brings to mind his exceptional performance as Reese Lansing in “The Newsroom.” Credit also goes to Oxford-born Bateman, who keeps the audience guessing about his character’s true nature.

Kaley Cuoco Is Buying and Selling Houses

While the premise may draw comparisons to “Only Murders in the Building,” “Based on a True Story” exudes a more broad, star-driven LA sensibility. The sharp dialogue, palpable desperation, and the tension in the central marriage are reminiscent of series like “Lucky Hank” or “Ozark.”

In summary, “Based on a True Story” may not reach the comedic or compelling heights of other investigative series, but it offers an engaging and entertaining option until they return. You can stream “Based on a True Story” on TVNZ+.

Kaley Cuoco hopes to go out with a big bang on mansion flip | WATCH