This is a show called Runaway. It's about -- hey, where you going? Wait, when I said "runaway," I didn't mean....
Shit. Well, I have a job to do here anyway, so here goes. Somewhere in Illinois -- Geneseo, if the stencil-font subtitle is to be believed -- Donnie Wahlberg drives a Volvo station wagon up to a foggy, chilly river bank. He puts the car in neutral, gets out, and lets the marvel of Swedish engineering roll down the slope and straight into the water, where it goes right under. Pretty slick for the first try. If I attempted that I'd probably drown, but he doesn't even get his shoes wet. We see the rear license plate - Maryland KRH 036 -- disappear beneath the placid surface.
Meanwhile, in Potomac, Maryland, a cell phone rings on a bedside table. A blonde teenager rolls over, checks the caller ID, and answers. But no one's talking on the other end. She suddenly sits up in bed, urgently asking, "Henry?" If Henry is the sad-but-dreamy guy on the other end of the line, calling from a pay phone outside a motel and looking anguished from under an unruly mop of dark hair, she's correct. But he hangs up without saying anything. What kind of relationship do these two have, anyway?
Meanwhile, Donnie Wahlberg pulls up to the motel in a white minivan. Which I suppose he had to go pick up on foot. "Ready to go, bud?" he asks Henry. Henry guesses so. Donnie heads into the room and wakes up the rest of the family -- mom, a teenage daughter and a grade-school kid -- who are all packed into one bed. Cozy. The mom, by the way, is played by Leslie Hope, best-known for playing Kiefer's wife and getting killed in the first season finale of 24. And now she's in a show that's basically a cross between The Fugitive and Everwood, two shows about guys with dead wives. You might not want to get too attached to Mom, is what I'm saying.
Everyone piles into the white minivan outside in their winter coats, but Henry's a little slow to join them, because he's too busy staring soulfully into the camera, like the whole world is his own personal album cover. He is better looking than Donnie Wahlberg, I have to admit. Finally he climbs into the back of the minivan, and they're off.
Out on the road, Mom hands an inhaler to the grade-schooler in the middle-back seat, saying they only have two more left. "We'll find a doctor," Donnie says. Oh, problem solved, then. The youngest is playing a handheld video game, and unnecessarily adding his own sound effects. "That better not be the one with the guns," Mom warns. Daughter complains about her seatbelt, Mom tells her to move to the back, and daughter complains that "Henry didn't shower." The youngest asks when they'll be there, and Donnie says today. "This afternoon if we don't make too many bathroom stops." "No more motels?" the kid asks, and he's not too upset about it. Henry's hungry, Daughter asks for a reprieve from three weeks of fast food, and Mom suggests, "Some of those places have salads." "Is that a hint?" demands the daughter, who is not only not fat, but is not even TV-fat. So things are a little tense on this here family road trip, I'm gathering. But before things can get too dysfunctional -- or, better yet, take a turn into Six Feet Under territory -- a line of oncoming cars shuts everyone up. That's because they're all police cars, with sirens blaring and flashers flashing. Donnie looks nervous, and when the column of cops is past, he grabs a handy police radio that he happens to have on the dashboard. "What's the local on the pay phone callback?" they hear a dispatcher ask. Oops. Good one, Henry.