Photo: Michael Courtney/The CW
For the first 20 years of his life, Sam (Bret Harrison, “The Loop,” “Grounded for Life”) wondered why his parents went so easy on him. Whether it was school, sports or career choices, Sam’s mom (Allison Hossack, “Falcon Beach”) and dad (Andrew Airlie, “The L Word”) always let him get by with the least possible effort. As a result, Sam skipped college, took a dead-end job at the local Work Bench home improvement store and now wastes endless hours playing video games. Everything in his slacker world changed the day Sam turned 21 and discovered the ungodly reason his parents let him slide: they sold his soul to the devil before he was even born.
Though his guilt-ridden parents try to explain the circumstances that led them to the forfeit his soul, Sam can’t wrap his mind around what is happening to him. He’s always been the under-achieving son, while his younger brother Kyle (Kyle Switzer, “15/Love”) was pushed to get straight A’s, excel at every sport and join every club. Kyle resents the easy ride Sam has enjoyed, and Sam can’t help but feel jealousy over Kyle’s achievements. What neither brother realizes is that their lives have been shaped by forces they can’t yet begin to understand.
When Satan himself (Ray Wise, “24,” “The Closer”) drops by to personally explain that Sam must now serve as his bounty hunter, tracking down evil souls that have escaped and returning them to Hell, Sam refuses to accept his bizarre fate. After getting just a glimpse of Satan’s temper, however, Sam realizes that breaking a deal with the devil has consequences that are very, very bad. Still, Sam is fascinated by the devil’s charm and his flattering insistence that Sam is full of untapped potential.
Armed with a constantly changing series of vessels — starting with a Dirt Devil mini-vacuum — to collect the escapees, Sam finds that his new line of work is dangerous and frightening, even with the goofball help of his friends and co-workers Bert “Sock” Wysocki (Tyler Labine, “Boston Legal,” “Invasion”) and Ben (Rick Gonzalez, “Coach Carter”), along with Sock’s former-girlfriend-turned-paralegal, Josie (Valarie Rae Miller, “Dark Angel”). Sock has been Sam’s closest friend and slacker role model for many years and was the first person Sam turned to with the news about his gig with the devil. A perennial adolescent who attended high school on the six-year plan, Sock is perfectly happy with his life and his job at The Work Bench, where he is a thorn in the side of the assistant manager, Ted (Donavon Stinson, “The Fantastic Four”). Sock thinks Sam’s news is totally cool, and is happy to help with Sam’s assignments from Hell. Ben, on the other hand, immediately grasps the seriousness of Sam’s situation. A college student and the son of a reverend, Ben is also on board to help, but he knows that dealing with the devil is no game.
Sam knows he’ll have to go to great lengths to hide his new identity from the person who matters most in his world: his smart and pretty co-worker Andi (Missy Peregrym, “Smallville,” “Heroes”). Trapped by his lack of self-confidence, Sam has loved Andi from afar, despite Sock’s constant urging that he ask her out. Andi had gone away to college, but came home to her mother and her job at The Work Bench after her father died. Now she’s stuck in a safe job and a safe friendship with Sam.
Though his life has suddenly turned weird and scary, Sam is surprised to find that he somehow feels good about his newfound “mission” — removing evil-doers from the world and sending them back where they belong. Back when nothing was expected of him, Sam never had to push himself to achieve. Now, with his friends and his trusty vessel-of-the-week at his side, Sam is ready to face his destiny as the Reaper.
“Reaper” is from ABC Studios with executive producers Michele Fazekas (“Ed,” “Law & Order, Special Victims Unit”), Tara Butters (“Ed,” “Law & Order, Special Victims Unit”), Mark Gordon (“Grey’s Anatomy,” Criminal Minds”), Deborah Spera (“Criminal Minds”) and Tom Spezialy (“Desperate Housewives”).