QUANTICO takes a How to Get Away with Murder approach with its story telling.
We start with “the event” – a terrorist explosion.
Then we backtrack over what happened leading up to the attack through flashbacks. Sound familiar?
Over the course of the first episode the writers take us back and forward at a giddy rate, so much so, that Quantico ends up at times feeling messy – at least in its opening episode.
Which in some ways it is. It asks a lot of viewers, unveiling subplot after subplot. Some are fascinating, some dangle weirdly, though if they come together this series could be promising.
In a nutshell; Quantico is flawed. It’s even a bit soapy.
However, there’s certainly enough here to draw us back for a second look. The characters are interesting and the pacing excellent.
One of the surprisingly strong elements about Quantico is its lead, Priyanka Chopra, a Bollywood star and former Miss World.
She’s compelling as a FBI recruit Alex Parrish who is accepted as a trainee at the FBI’s training base Quantico.
She’s searching for answers about her father, a former agent.
Her fellow students are diverse, from different backgrounds with different stories.
There’s Ryan Booth (ex-military), the orphan Shelby Wyatt, Mormon Eric Packer, openly gay recruit Simon Asher, Muslim Nimah Amid and Caleb Haas.
On day one, the recruits meet their instructors Miranda Shaw and Liam O’Connor who seem to have some sort of history (subplot one).
They are given an assignment to each investigate one of their fellow recruits and discover a secret that has been redacted from their files.
We learn about the death of Alex’s father. We discover Shelby lost her parents in 9/11.
The handsome Caleb, who is probably only there because both his parents are agents, deliberately choses to investigate Eric. He hints he’s uncovered something shocking. Eric grows increasingly panicked. Fearing his secret is about to come out, he shoots himself in front of the whole class.
Everyone in Quantico, it seems, has secrets.
And one is a terrorist behind the attack on Grand Central Station.
The authorities know it’s one of this class of former recruits. We see photos of the now agents on a wall in the incident room. But they already think they know who the terrorist insider is: Alex. Of course we have to assume she’s been framed.
How that happened and who is really guilty will no doubt be slowly revealed through the flashbacks as we follow the lives of seven of the FBI recruits as they are pushed to the brink and candidates whittled down.
Alex manages to escape custody through the help of Miranda Shaw and sets about finding evidence to clear her name.
Though a bit of a mishmash at times, Quantico is fast paced and far from dull.
And the formula of flashbacks did work for How to Get Away with Murder so here’s hoping the writers pull all the stories together and present us with a solid mystery thriller.
It will certainly present a guessing game as to who the terrorist is as more secrets are revealed each week.
Quantico, which drew 10 million US viewers for its debut, is showing on Seven.