Built to Rec

Smooth Criminals: 6 Times Good Girls’ Beth/Rio Will Steal Your Heart

The show may be Good Girls, but this ship is pure sin.
Beth/Rio laugh together in Good Girls

Relationship: Beth Boland and Rio
Fandom: Good Girls (TV Series, 2018- )
Where to Watch: Hulu/NBC app for season 2; Netflix for season 1
Time Investment: 13 (one-hour) episodes and counting
Recommended for: Suckers for enemies-to-lovers romance between morally ambiguous crime lords

Note: This post is for those who don’t mind minor spoilers in the search for a new ’ship. If you prefer to remain totally unspoiled, turn back now!

I find myself saying this too often for comfort lately, but, uh, you’re gonna wanna check your moral compass at the door for this rec, friends. The show may be Good Girls, but the Beth/Rio (a.k.a. Brio) ship is pure sin.

It all begins when disillusioned homemaker Beth Boland, her wildcard sister Annie, and their pragmatic best friend Ruby–three devoted moms just trying to get by–hit financial rock bottom and hatch a crazy scheme to rob a local supermarket for some quick cash. To their surprise, the store’s vault yields much more money than they’d expected. Now they’re sure all their problems are solved: Beth can pay the mortgage her cheating husband can no longer afford, Annie can hire a lawyer for her child custody case, and Ruby can buy her daughter the medication she needs to survive.

Alas, their lucky streak ends there. Unfortunately, it turns out that some of the money they stole belongs to a local gang headed up by a man they only know as Rio, who’s as handsome and charming as he is ruthless and intimidating. Suddenly the ladies are on the hook for half a mil, with no way out except through doing lots. more. crimes. Could they, theoretically, make back all that money and settle up with the gang to resume their normally scheduled lives? Yes. Do they? No. No, they do not. And that’s it, that’s the show.

What you won’t–can’t–predict when starting Good Girls is the unexpected but immediate, undeniable, intense connection between good girl Beth and bad boy Rio. The two are a chemical combustion just waiting to happen, and when it inevitably does, it’ll be messy, but it’ll be glorious, too. If you’re caught up on the series, you already know what I mean, so enjoy this meditation on what makes Beth/Rio utterly addictive. And if this is your introduction to Good Girls, allow me to talk you into watching with a preview of 6 times these smooth criminals will steal your heart and turn you into shipper trash:

#1: The moment Rio decides he likes Beth.

As a woman, it’s difficult to picture anything scarier than coming home to find intruders in your kitchen, especially when they’re armed and accuse you of stealing from them. Yet that’s just how Beth meets Rio and his gang for the first time. She’s understandably terrified of the guy, which is absolutely what he wants, and the situation only deteriorates when he orders one of his boys to hold a gun to her head. Not exactly a scene you’d expect to launch a ‘ship as mighty as Beth/Rio has quickly become. Or at least it’s not until Beth turns the tables on Rio and demonstrates that, actually, she can be just as dangerous as he is, in her own way.

Scared as she is, Beth calmly and boldly argues a case for keeping her, Annie, and Ruby alive. After concluding with how the police investigations will never end if he kills “good people” like them, Beth meets his gaze unflinchingly. It’s clear from the way the gang leader watches her with an amused smile before shaking his head at his enforcer (thus calling off the execution) that Rio respects her spirit and bravery. Thus his unwilling fascination with her begins, and who among us is immune to that dynamic, I ask?

#2: Whenever Beth challenges Rio’s authority.

While Beth has obviously never been a shrinking violet, the mother of four is clearly as surprised as anyone else that she takes to a life of crime like a duck to water. Robbing the grocery store in a desperate attempt to recoup some of the financial security that her foolish, cheating husband Dean squandered is one thing. Devising and carrying out an ingenious money laundering scam to repay Rio is a whole other thing. Ironically, her descent into the underworld enables Beth to rise up from the ashes of her marriage and reclaim her sovereignty. Soon enough, she’s sassing a scary crime boss in full sight of his crew (“No, I’m gonna need to hear you say it,” she says to Rio after he dismisses her without verbally confirming their debt is settled) and even recklessly volunteering to launder more cash for him.

Gif via riobeths.tumblr.com

Rio, for his part, makes no secret of the fact that he finds this uninhibited version of Beth extremely sexy, which is pure, unadulterated shipper bait. So is witnessing how turned on they both get when she confronts and provokes him, like she frequently does. Even when he dares Beth to shoot him by saying things like “You gotta kill the king to be the king; this stuff’s Medieval, darling,” you can’t miss that this is a kind of foreplay for them. Sooner or later, it’ll hit you that these two baddies deserve each other and that you’re in deep with the Beth/Rio ’ship whether you like it or not.

#3: Every single time he calls her “Elizabeth.”

Rio tends to use endearments like “sweetheart” and “darling” as weapons. He throws them around as a way to assert dominance and remind Beth and her “lady friends” that he’s the one in charge. So no matter how sexy he sounds crooning those lovely words, don’t let them fool you–they reveal little about how Rio truly feels about Beth. In fact, they only mask the way his admiration for and attraction to her has deepened as she’s proven herself to be a tough woman who can take anything he dishes out–and serve it right back.

When he calls her Elizabeth, though? Hoo boy, look out, ’cause that’s Rio bringing out the big guns. Gone are generic pet names he could (and probably does) use on anyone. By using her full name, a name that not even her closest family members or friends use, he’s forging an intimate connection between them and showing her that he sees her as no one else does. He’s claiming her in a way that you never could have imagined in the pilot episode. Now THAT’s hot.

#4: Those rare increasingly regular occurrences when they’re on the exact same page.

No matter how many crimes she commits–and they’re stacking up by this point–Beth holds firm to the belief that she’s superior to Rio. “[The FBI are] gonna wanna know what someone like me is doing with someone like you,” she says loftily to him at one point, to which he immediately fires back: “What are you doing with someone like me?” Touché. The further down the rabbit hole she goes, though, the more they both seem to come to terms with the fact that they are more alike than they are different: After Beth signals that she wants a meeting by leaving a strand of pearls over a doorknob, Rio snarkily informs her that the usual method is Jordans over a phone line. When she tells him that she “only had pumps,” though, he smiles and concedes, “Fair enough.” Aww, puppy!

If at first every conversation seemed to start with some variation of “Are you going to kill me?,” “What do you want?,” or “You keep stealing from me,” it becomes disturbingly common to witness Beth and Rio willingly seeking each other out. Supposedly for business purposes, but, you know, transparently also because they can’t stay away and leave well enough alone. With every covert meeting at the park or in a parked car, they get closer and closer to becoming full-fledged partners in crime. And weirdly enough, you’re gonna be into it.

#5: Anytime they show a complete disregard for personal space.

Rio didn’t get to the top of the food chain by cutting people breaks, but he is powerless to say no to Beth from the beginning of their unusual relationship. To try to regain the upper hand, he deploys power moves like slowly stalking toward her in a threatening manner and caressing her with the cold steel of a gun. Rather than cower or back down, however, Beth stands her ground. She’s got to be the only one in his life ballsy enough to defy him, and there’s no question he finds that refreshing. All too soon, he’s actively stoking the genuine sexual tension between them, mind games forgotten.

How does Beth respond? Well, so far she’s mostly tried to resist the pull, married woman that she still is. She can’t hide how her eyes track Rio’s every movement, however, or the way her breath quickens the closer he comes. She’s as enthralled as he is, and that’s confirmed at different times by Annie, Ruby, and even Dean, who have all sensed the crackling sexual tension. Until Dean cheated and her life fell apart, Beth didn’t know how deep her dissatisfaction went. Now she feels liberated by the work and the faith that Rio places in her to get even the messiest job done. Whereas Dean automatically assumes she could only have been manipulated into breaking the law, Beth knows she’s made her own choices. You even have to wonder if good girl has been a bad girl all along. Yeah, something tells me that Beth will be the one flirtatiously closing the space between her Rio before too long. And when that happens…RIP the fandom!

#6: Absolutely any and all instances of cheek stroking…and more???

Chances are, you’ll have been aboard the Beth/Rio ship since long before Rio tenderly, and for once completely without menace, reaches out to stroke Beth’s cheek in Good Girls episode 2×02. But if, somehow, you’re still holding out, you will likely be a goner after this moment, which is made even better by him promising to teach her the tricks of his–now their–trade. Far and away the clearest indication yet that they’re headed toward what very well may be a disastrous-but-hella-passionate affair, it’s just one more way they’ll take your breath away.

Is Rio in the market for a queen to his king? It sure looks that way. I don’t know about you, but my body is READY.


Basically all I’m saying is watch Good Girls, y’all, and then come scream with me about how Beth and Rio need to make her sex-on-the-breakfast-dishes fantasy a reality! For reasons!

P.S. I’m happy to report that the Beth/Rio fandom has exploded since Good Girls Season 1 hit Netflix, so here, have some fannish recs!

Rio endeartment gifs via pynkhues.tumblr.com


  1. I just started good girls like a 3 days ago…watched episode 1×02 and i was sucked into this ship…i have not progressed in the series since then, but i have (proudly) watched all their parts together, read countless fanfiction and watched many many fanvids…and squealed the whole way through this article..so thank you. The king is fine as hell😍

    1. Thank you so much for the lovely comment, and obviously, I could not agree more! Honestly, it should be illegal, how hot they are together. I’m pretty sure I binged the first season in a matter of days.

      If you need someone to scream with about episodes as you keep going, I’m on twitter @ShipRecced. What is shipping if not a guaranteed reason to need a support group, haha.

  2. I just found Good Girls on Nexflix and wow, my favourite show. It’s funny, and witty but MAN those scenes between Beth and Rio…just simply hot. The show where he watched her make the money…..was so sexual and they didn’t even have sex. THe way he looks at her just goes right through me. UGH. There is a lot of talk if they are in love or lust in their completely unhealthy relationship lol. I think he has feelings for Beth, but I am not wondering if she does for him or not. I mean she wants to kill him. I am watching it a second time and just watching closely their interaction as I didn’t pick up on the subtle things in the first season. What do you think?

    1. The way that unexpected chemistry between characters can change the whole trajectory of a whole series is what keeps me coming back to TV again and again. Because, yeah, I never would have expected, based solely on the first episode, to ship Beth and Rio like I do, but like you say–the two of them are just FIRE together.

      To be honest, I can’t get a good read on Beth, though I feel the same as you that Rio does seem to have feelings for her, even he might deny them to himself. There’s no other good explanation for why he keeps her around even after she’s betrayed him (more than once).

      The latest season burned me a bit on the two of them, in that it reminded me how very brutal Rio can be (eeek!) and that their relationship will likely always involve power plays. It was a bit more than my heart could take in 2020, when I’ve been craving pure fluff. All of this is to say that I’m a few episodes behind in season 3, but look forward to catching up before season 4 starts airing next spring.

      Thanks very much for your thoughtful comment and long live Brio, those strangely lovable psychos of ours…

      1. The music tells is a bit more I think. I was trying to listen to the words of a song and put on the subtitles….sometimes it gives cues as to what is going on. When you get to the paper making by Beth and Rio watching, you have to listen to the words of that song.in the back ground…you can also google the words….El Musgo by Gabriel Bruce. That song is so Rio I think. Rios voice and the way he says things just gets me. :-). THe one thing I love is that Beth is not a size 6 skin and bones….she has curves and a real body and Rio loves her that way, not what we are used to seeing. It’s about time TV portrayed women more the way they really are. By the way on a side note, something that really gives me the ickies is Beth (Christina Hendricks) feet. So very awful, gross. Really bothers me LOL. Season 2, episode 8 when she is sitting on the bench with Rio in the back yard, you can see her bare feet.

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