Thursday, September 27, 2018

FBI - Pilot

Although it also relies on a large supporting cast, FBI is a little more centrally focused than Dick Wolf's previous creation Law & Order which split time with police and lawyers every week. Here the focus stays primarily on FBI Agent Maggie Bell (Missy Peregrym) and her partner (Zeeko Zaki) who are the first on scene for two bombings in New York City and later a third, all organized by the same mastermind. Maggie takes it personally when the mother of one of the bombing victims blames Maggie for saving her life and not letting her go after her son (who almost certainly died in the first blast - seriously, it exploded exactly where the kid was standing) before the building was dropped by a follow-up explosion killing more civilians, firefighters, police, and aid workers.

The show has a feel and rhythm of a Dick Wolf production, and although I'm glad the episode stayed with Maggie most of the time I wouldn't mind seeing more of some characters, such as profiler Kristen Chazal (Ebonee Noel) and Jeremy Sisto, and less of others (do we really need yet another tough but fair boss?). While the characters and their motivations were strong, I thought the procedural and reveal for the motives of the crime created at least as many questions as they answered (how did the Nazi and the street gang get hooked up? how did the Nazi kill the gangbangers in custody? given how incredibly sloppy he was here, how did the FBI not put him away years before?).

The show makes the very first episode of the series personal for our central protagonist, which feels like cheating (because it is). Surely the writers aren't expecting Maggie to take every week's crime so personally (because if they do, she won't make it through half a season before breaking down). Instead it was a quick way to show how much Maggie cares (rather than let that come out naturally through Peregrym's performance over multiple episodes). Writers, trust your audience. Let us get to know the characters without hanging blinking neon signs around their necks that scream their defining traits and character motivations 90 seconds after introducing us to them.

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