TV Recap: Quantico, ‘Run’ (Series Premiere)

Written By Aaron Sarnecky



After a major terrorist attack rocks New York’s Grand Central Terminal, the FBI apprehends agent-in-training Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra), who the FBI suspects might have something to do with the attack. If Alex is to clear her name, she’ll have to figure out which of her fellow trainees is framing her.

If you frequent Pop-Break (or don’t live under a rock), you know that the new fall TV season is in full swing. We’ve already had several reviews for new shows. And yet, not all new shows get as much hype as others. That seems to be the case with Quantico. Until very recently I couldn’t tell you very much about it, because I didn’t see ABC advertise it almost at all. It’s like ABC is hoping it will do well without really doing anything to ensure so. Then again, maybe I don’t watch ABC enough on a regular basis.

Priyanka Chopra in ABC's new series, Quantico. Photo Credit: ABC/Phillippe Bosse
Priyanka Chopra in ABC’s new series, Quantico. Photo Credit: ABC/Phillippe Bosse

But here we are, at the series premiere. And the question is, how is it? Well, if you think lack of promotion equates to the quality of a show, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that the premiere is pretty solid. It certainly juggles a lot though, perhaps too much for a premiere.

This is because Quantico has a large cast, all of who are important to some degree. That makes it hard to tell some characters, besides Alex, apart. It does get easier the longer you watch the episode, but I still can’t tell you who most of them are by name. To me they’re the Mormon guy, the Muslim girl, the girl whose parents died on 9/11, etc. That’s to be expected though, I guess.

Early on, the way the show introduces these characters makes it look like a your typical college drama, especially when Alex hooks up with Ryan Booth (Jake McLaughlin), another trainee. Fortunately, things take a dramatic turn in the middle of the episode. The payoff isn’t necessarily the best, but it matches the tone of the beginning of the episode (the aftermath of the attack) and it doesn’t let up after that. The show becomes more about how all of the recruits have might something to hide; any of them could be the traitor.

Now, I’ve watched my fair share of television, so I know that this writing technique is nothing new. In fact, it’s quite commonplace in most mystery or conspiracy stories. Scooby-Doo has been employing it for years. And yet, it is ultimately necessary to some degree, because otherwise there would be no curiosity on the part of the audience. That being said, it can be overdone if every character has some dramatic secret. So far, it’s passable in Quantico, but I sense it going off the deep end in future episodes.

Photo Credit: ABC/Phillippe Bosse
Photo Credit: ABC/Phillippe Bosse

That’s certainly the case with Alex’s tragic past, which involves an abusive father who was also an FBI agent. There does seem to be more to it, considering it’s for some reason part of what makes her a suspect. It is a little far-fetched, but there’s also physical evidence to suggest her involvement. Despite her backstory, it is genuinely sad to see someone who’s innocent blamed for such a heinous crime, and Priyanka Chopra sells Alex’s anguish.

But I’m not totally sold on this show quite yet. I’m guessing that this traitor storyline is just the focus of the first season, which makes me wonder where the rest of the series will go. This season’s plot might have been better suited as a miniseries, but then again, I’ve seen more than one whodunit story done that way, and I’m kind of sick of it.

So far, Quantico has an intriguing premise that’s pretty well executed, and once it picks up, you’ll want to watch the episode until the end. But I question whether the concept is viable in the long term.