‘Quantico’ ABC and the New Elite FBI (Preview)

Nothing breeds imitation more than success and Quantico seems to prove that. The newest ABC offering shows us a group of new elite FBI agents with one “special” agent being targeted after graduation as suspect in a terrorist act. This new series has a “coincidental” plot point that it shares with at least one existing series.

ABC Family have Stitchers a popular show about to start filming its second season and while it is not allowed to point out any specific similarities at this juncture (which would be seen as pre-airing spoilers), after the show airs on September 27, all will be revealed. That is, if the viewer is aware of both programs, if they are not; here is a tip: Someone close is not who they appear to be. Further discussion will be available with the review after the first episode airs.

Despite the one glaringly obvious “borrow” in the series’ plot, the story of a group of recruits entering the FBI training academy (shades of Silence of the Lambs here) is entertaining enough. The cast is stellar and why shouldn’t it be with a former Miss India and Miss World as star and more than enough stunningly gorgeous performers to make the viewer drool.

In case the wildly talented Priyanka Chopra (The Miss World star of the show) is not the viewer’s cup of tea, there is the delectable Johanna Braddy (Paranormal Activity 3, Video Game High School) and Jake McLaughlin (Safe House, In the Valley of Elah) not to mention Aunjanue Ellis for those whose palate goes for the slightly (only a little mind) more mature entertainers.


Although, as the clip below promises, there is much more here than the academy training program. As seen by the wreckage that Special Agent Alex Parrish (Chopra) is laying in, things have moved past the training program and into the real world of explosions, terrorists and finger pointing. Of course those of a certain age, viewers old enough to remember The FBI television show with Efrem Zimbalist Jr. will be a bit surprised at just who the modern and politically correct organization are recruiting.

Never mind that almost all the new potential agents have a background of money and privilege, although not each class member falls in this category, but there are enough to make it noticeable. One of the trainees is apparently, and openly gay plus two of the new recruits are from muslim backgrounds. It is interesting to note that show never questions the gayness of the one class member while it highlights the Mormon in the group. While it is unclear what message this is sending it does come across as rather odd.

Considering how little time is spent on each agent in the training program, they do come across as likable, however the character’s are only slightly above two dimensional stereotypes. Rather interestingly, in terms of characterization, only two could be deemed middle class average. Parrish and former Marine Ryan Booth (McLaughlin) are two who do not come from families above upper middle class.

Parrish’s character is interesting. Just how much is revealed in this premiere episode via a class project. This assignment is designed to not only show the candidates what will be expected of them as agents but also serves as an initial paring down exercise. Herein lies the first plot hole of the episode, which is connected with another portion of the trainees day to day regimen. (Clue:Red.)

Suffice to say, after the series creator Joshua Safran spends a lot of time pumping up the agency as an elite “best of the best” organization, an oversight, or lack or procedural control, allows something to happen that stretches viewer’s belief to breaking point.

Plot holes aside, and ignoring the other “reality” issue of another candidate in the FBI training program, Quantico is entertaining and does leave one wanting to see what happens next. Even if the next episode just clears up the sudden left turn of the series’ premiere episode.

Perhaps Quantico could have benefited from a two hour, or even a 90 minute, premiere. Things shift suddenly and although the use of flashbacks is effective, there are many occurrences and shifting of roles that are not explained enough to be satisfying or to clear the confusion.

In terms of acting, however, this is a top notch effort by all. Chopra proves that those earlier pageant crowns do not define her as an actor. This performer has got massive chops in that department as do McLaughlin, Braddy, Ellis and Yasmine Al Massri (as Nimah Anwar).

The episode’s score has a “Resident Evil” feel to it, in other words the soundtrack by Joel J Richard (who has scored a huge amount of shows) has a science fiction taste and texture to it. The music fits, however, and moves things on nicely.

Quantico may turn out to be a solid hit for ABC. This is, after all, the network that just gave us The Whispers which was brilliant. The series airs Sunday on ABC, tune in and see what you think, if for no other reason than to see Priyanka Chopra make her move on the American market.


Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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"I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."

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