ABC’s new Sunday night drama Quantico immediately introduces the dual timeline formula, with the first scene of episode one showing a woman alive amid the debris of a bombed-out building. The story then flashes back to nine months prior when that woman, who we learn is FBI recruit Alex Parrish played by former Miss World/current Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra, is on her way from Oakland to Quantico for training. We also quickly learn this gorgeous woman believes herself to be good at analyzing people, is unafraid to speak her mind, and has a healthy sex drive.
Alex Parrish meets her fellow FBI recruits and is shocked to see the handsome stranger she met on the plane and had sex with in his car is in her class at Quantico. Alex wouldn’t give him her name then (and didn’t care about his), and apparently she’s not the hotshot personality analyst she thought she was as his appearance as a recruit in her class takes her completely by surprise.
In addition to Ryan Booth (Jake McLaughlin) who was supposed to be just a one-night stand, Alex’s fellow recruits include Simon Asher (Tate Ellington), a gay man who loves coffee and displays superior powers of observation. Shelby Wyatt (Johanna Braddy) is a pretty blonde sharpshooter who carries around a mysterious small metal object, and Nimah Anwar is a Muslim (Yasmine Al Massri) who gets a private room because of her religion and who immediately sparks the interest (non-sexual) of Simon. There’s also Caleb Haas (Graham Rogers), an extrovert with ripped abs, and Eric (Brian J Smith), Caleb’s Mormon roommate (Brian J Smith) who’s keeping a huge secret.
Teaching this class of recruits is Liam O’Connor (Josh Hopkins), an agent battling demons who’s turned to the bottle. His immediate supervisor is Miranda Shaw (Aunjanue Ellis), an ambitious agent who saved Liam’s career by re-assigning him to Quantico to teach. She sets the tone for the new class on day one by announcing, “It is not college. It is life and death.”
Quantico‘s dual timeframes – one set in the training class at Quantico, one following the bombing of Grand Central Station – serve the major plotline about a search for the terrorist who was one of the recruits in Alex’s class. The secret to not only the attack but who among her classmates is the terrorist is for some reason trapped in Alex’s memory, and the flashbacks are used to allow the character to recall day by day what the class did during training and what she learned about her fellow recruits. While that might sound a little contrived and like a lazy way to tell the story, the terrific cast led by Chopra pulls it off and makes it believable.
The series also seems a notch above most crime dramas in both style and effects. The quality of both is similar to what you’d see in an episode of Homeland rather than on network TV. And speaking of Homeland, if you’re still not sure what to expect of Quantico, think Homeland minus the bipolar disorder and baby storylines and with a younger, more attractive cast.
Based solely on the first episode titled “Run” and airing on September 27, 2015, the flashbacks to the Quantico training class are more entertaining than the action that takes place around the bombing in New York. That may shift as season one unspools and as we get to know each of the central characters better and become more engaged in their individual stories.
Quantico‘s whodunit story is interesting and pulls you in immediately, without giving away too much. There are sure to be multiple red herrings and with so many recruits to learn about, there’s easily enough material to fill out a full season.
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