Kaleidoscope, colorful heist series with a gimmick

Giancarlo Esposito, Paz Vega, Jai Courtney, Rosaline Elbay, Peter Mark Kendall, and Jordan Mendoza in Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope is a heist/revenge story. The 8 episodes don’t have titles, but are named for colors. The gimmick here is that Netflix serves those episodes up in a different order to different viewers. You never know if you saw the series in the same order someone else did.

In Kaleidoscope is you might see something from 3 days before the heist with the next episode being 25 years before the heist or even after the heist. That sounds like a bold experimental idea, but honestly, stories that jump back and forth in a timeline are so common these days, Kaleidoscope feels like more of the same. The difference is the order in which you learn details and clues.

The Ensemble

Leo Pap (Giancarlo Esposito), just out of prison after 17 years, has an idea to break into the most secure safe in the world. That safe is in the basement of a security firm run by Roger Salas (Rufus Sewell).

Leo gathers up a crew. They plan for the big heist.

The poster for Kaleidoscope with bright colored stripes and the main characters
The main cast

Ava (Paz Vega) is a lawyer and has the contacts to get new IDs and passports, as well as other types of paperwork. Bob (Jai Courtney) is an extremely obnoxious safecracker. His wife Judy (Rosaline Elbay) is a chemist and explosives expert. Stan (Peter Mark Kendall) is a tech guy. RJ (Jordan Mendoza) knows cars.

Rufus Sewell and Tati Gabrielle in Kaleidoscope
Roger Salas with his security IT guru Hannah Kim

The next few paragraphs contain minor spoilers.

The order in which you learn things will vary, but eventually you learn the heist crew and Roger Salas are connected.

Giancarlo Esposito and Tati Gabrielle in Kaleidoscope
How do these two know each other?

Another connection is between Leo and Hannah.

Niousha Noor and Bubba Weiler in Kaleidoscope
The FBI agent is obsessed with the crew

Chasing the crew down is the obsession of FBI agent Nazan (Niousha Noor) and her starstruck worshipper Samuel (Bubba Weller). She has history with the crew, too.

Overall thoughts

Overall, the series is entertaining. Some of the secrets are obvious early on, some are surprises saved for the final episode (everyone sees the White episode last). The crooks are smart but revenge gets in their way. The cops are smart but obsession gets in their way. The bad guys are smart but greed gets in their way. Even smart people can be ruined by their demons.

Giancarlo Esposito is a fine actor. Using CGI to take him back in time 25 years worked well, but he still moved like a stiff jointed 60 year old. I don’t know why this struck me so much with so many plot details and puzzle pieces to figure out. Probably because at my age I know how hard it is to move like I did years ago.

Paz Vega played Ava really well and became my favorite character. The entire cast did an excellent job, actually.

The series isn’t as ground breaking as Netflix wants you to think it is, but it’s entertaining enough for a pleasant watch.

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