Taking a narrative and style points from ABC’s sudsy predecessors, “How To Get Away With Murder” and “Revenge,” “Quantico” pulls double-duty by sweeping from a current storyline in which heroine Alex Parrish (Indian-born Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra) is framed for a September 11-esque terrorist attack to past arcs FBI training that casts her fellow Quantico recruits in a suspicious light.
The pilot does countless things right, particularly the characterization of Alex. She is a tough, capable woman but doesn’t sacrifice emotion to be so. When she’s scared, she shakes and pleads. When she’s upset, she cries. When she wants to have sex with a man she just met, she does so and isn’t ashamed to admit it. When terrifying things happen, she acts, even if that includes killing her father as a teenager or escaping FBI custody to figure out who framed her.
And the list could be endless as her fellow Quantico recruits all have secrets running the gambit from tragic—Shelby’s parents died in during September 11 terrorist attacks—to horrific—Eric raped and impregnated a 14-year-old Malawian girl who died after getting an illegal abortion—to mundane—Caleb’s parents are both FBI agents and pulled major strings to get him into Quantico—to so jaw-droppingly awesome I wouldn’t dream of spoiling it.
“Quantico” doesn’t just walk the line between primetime soap and genuine drama, it moonwalks across it, thanks to nimble writing and acting from creator Josh Safran (“Smash”) and a varied and diverse cast that includes Johanna Braddy (“UnReal”), Aunjanue Ellis (“The Book Of Negroes”) and Jake McLaughlin (“Believe”). It also effortlessly transitions between past and present while incorporating enough breadcrumbs to lead to future bombshells without being too obvious or too subtle.
Admittedly, if “Quantico” burns through recruits as quickly as it does in the pilot, viewers will have difficulty rooting or caring about anyone. Caleb, the resident “gold-plated boy" with the self-deprecating one-liners, disappeared just as he became likable.
If “Quantico” can maintain their sexy-suspense “Homeland”-meets-“Grey’s Anatomy” vibe, Parrish and Co. will be thwarting terrorist attacks for years to come. Grade: A
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Photo Credit: EW.com