FBI trainees, white lies, terrorism and dual storylines drive Seven's new US drama.
If Grey’s Anatomy was a series about young investigators instead of doctors, it would be something like Quantico.
These are sexy trainees, with plenty of skill and a chip on their shoulder. They learn fast, love fast and do backstories and montages at speed -usually wrapped in pop choons.
Quantico (a very cool name, and it’s actually authentic), is the FBI Academy where the latest intake of future agents is underway.
The lead character is Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra), a voluptuous young woman of Indian-American descent. She’s smart, driven (I’m avoiding the word ‘feisty’) and determined to do her bit to protect the US of A “at all costs.”
On a flight to Quantico she hooks up with Ryan Booth (Jake McLaughlin), a sexy alpha-male who of course just happens to be one of her new classmates. Duh.
Amongst Alex’s new pals is golden girl Shelby (Johanna Braddy), the equally pin-up boy Caleb (Graham Rogers), muslim Nimah (Yasmine Al Masri) and the potentially-gay Simon (Tate Ellington). I say ‘potentially’ because this is a show full of white lies and characters hiding things. What is presented on face value may be undone before episode’s end for any of them…
Training the inductees is dashing FBI Agent Liam O’Connor (Josh Hopkins), the kind of tutor you wouldn’t mind making a pass at you. Assisted by mentor Miranda (Aunjanue Ellis) they put their charges through a boot camp of espionage-proportions.
The first task is for classmates to pair up and uncover a hidden truth about one another. This fast-tracks competitive and deceptive relationships amongst the troupe, which will lead to vulnerability for some and hysteria for others.
Juxtaposed with the Academy drama is a separate storyline 9 months into the future in which Alex awakens from the rubble of a terrorist attack at Grand Central Terminal. Dual time-frames will become a trademark of the series as clues from one backdrop help inform the second: the identity of the terrorist.
It has to be said that the more the opening episode progresses the wilder it becomes -the final sequence is plain ludicrous. At times it can be hard to work out the present from the past, but this becomes clearer. If America’s future agents are as shallow and vain as this lot then we’re all doomed -but this is TV, they only need to entertain us for 44 minutes. This they achieve with a fair bit of success.
That an Indian-born actress in Priyanka Chopra has been cast in the central role is encouraging news (she is the first to lead an American network drama). Several of the others are a bit Central Casting for my liking, but maybe their (other) attributes will become more obvious as the story unfolds. Chopra also trumps them in the likability department.
The dialogue is rather straightforward, proving overly-keen to keep things snappy rather than find opportunities with sub-text.
But the series does have sufficient energy as to keep things moving, so deserves further scrutiny. Don’t expect too much and it’s an easy watch.
Quantico premieres 8:30pm Sunday on Seven.