‘Quantico’, A Melodramatic Battlefield

This drama and crime series is frontlined by Indian actress Priyanka Chopra. ‘Quantico’ comes from the mind of  former ‘Gossip Girl’ writer and ‘Smash’ executive-producer Joshua Safran. Although themes such as crime and mystery might seem left-field for him, the show succeeds. The network even added more episodes to its first season, now totaling to 19 episodes. Some things are evidently done right.This show has undoubtedly Shonda Rhimes qualities and characteristics. It presents strong female characters who are non apologetically bad-ass. It has universal appeal, with a wide range of diverse characters coming from different walks of life. As recruits for the FBI, each trainee has to prove themselves and show their strengths to impress officers O’Connor (Josh Hopkins) and Shaw (Aunjanue Ellis).  They also have to make strides to preserve their spot in the famous institute.

‘Quantico’ is a who dunnit with a twist, as each episode operates in a two-time narrative. First, there is the present day where Parrish (Chopra) is accused of leading a terrorist attack from inside the FBI during her training. Second, are flashbacks which give insights on the other trainees: their personal histories and their relationships. These provide background and complementary information aiding the viewer to try to figure out who was the mastermind behind the devastating attack. In that sense, everyone is a suspect and may have a motive that prompted them to orchestrate this devilish plan.

Indeed, after each episode, another recruit appears to be incriminating. I have to admit that the first episode which premiered last September hadn’t completely convinced me to stick around. Although it had good moments,it hadn’t made me long for more. Upon recommendation and because of Chopra’s charm on screen, I decided to give the show a second chance. ‘Quantico’ grows better as each episode unfolds, more drama, twists and turns make light of day and nourishes the storytelling. If at first it seemed predictable and unauthentic (law enforcement proceedings-wise, the last moments of the first episode come to mind…). What I mean to say is that in ‘Quantico‘ dramatic sometimes prevails over realistic. In that first episode were jammed-back hints of every recruit’s backstory to instill in the viewers the notion that, once again, every single one of them could of done it. On the other hand, this also makes place for a lot of character development and many layers to one’s story. Gradually, the series does get breezier. It focuses on a number of story lines, without becoming overwhelming.

Overall, the FBI Academy in ‘Quantico’, as a whole is aesthetically appealing. Beautiful people and up to date facilities and exotic locations are set in order for each recruit to try to better themselves. Every episode brings an exercise to be completed and an ability to be learned. It’s a race against time as well as competing against their colleagues; knowing their strengths and exploiting their weaknesses. Some of the missions include: safely freeing hostages, finding evidence and creating a persona to go undercover. Knowing how to  play nice and work under pressure becomes essential. There is also glamour and flings behind the though job they are preparing to enter.  The show sometimes seem soap opera-esque, especially the lust and the banter between characters in certain scenes. An important redeeming quality of ‘Quantico’ are supporting roles namely Simon Asher (Tate Ellington)whose intentions are never clear and has many layers to his personality. Chopra as the leading lady is also refreshing as she brings a certain sincerity. Both of their portrayal are complex and multifaceted which is one good reason you might find yourself coming back to the show.

Are you looking for something entertaining but not too intricate and a likable and fierce heroine? Then, ‘Quantico’ might be your next favorite show of this fall’s lineup. It currently airs on Sunday nights on ABC.

My rating of ‘Quantico’ five episodes-in: 3.5/5


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