Here it is. The best script of 2015/2016 pilot season (so far). And probably one of the best and most efficient I have ever read. As soon as I laid eyes on the logline a few months ago, I knew it would automatically become a frontrunner in the pilot race at ABC, the way How to Get Away With Murder was a non-brainer last year. And it is NOT Shonda Rhimes written or produced this time, though Mark Gordon, the actual producer, worked on her first two shows, Grey’s Anatomy & Private Practice. Queen Shonda’s perfect recipe to cook up a bomb is no longer a secret. Josh Safran fabricated his own, a very well crafted one. Quantico is exactly what ABC’s audience and to a larger extent what the young demo craves for: a fast-paced thrilling ride full of twists & turns that deals with what’s happening in the world right now through relevant and intriguing characters. From the first act to the very end, it’s exciting, unpredictable… It’s a gift that keeps on giving and that leaves you breathless and hungry for more. People will tweet like crazy with this. If Quantico doesn’t become a hit, then there won’t be any hit next season.
Let me introduce you the characters now. First, you have Alex Weaver, a tough and gorgeous girl, a little bit wild, played by Priyanka Chopra, a Bollywood star ABC signed an exclusive talent deal with and gave a role in the best pilot they had in store. Remember her name. She’s the central character of the show since she’s heavily featured in the present as well as in the future. Yes, in the same fashion as How to Get Away With Murder‘s complex structure, the pilot starts with a flashforward -at the time of the bombing in Grand Central, New York- then goes back and forth between the story of what happened on the first days of training, flashes from the recruits’ past and other post-apocalyptical scenes. Then there’s good looking Ryan Booth (Jake McLaughlin), with whom Alex hooks up, Meredith & Derek style; Brooklyn gay hipster Simon Asher (Tate Ellington); clean cut Mormon Eric Packer; southern belle Shelby Wyatt (Johanna Braddy); golden boy Caleb Haas (Graham Rogers); and hijab wearing Nimah Anwar (Yasmine Al Massri), a character that we will probably talk about a lot, since she’s a Muslim and a woman of many secrets. Once again, ABC nailed it in the diversity department, with a young cast and set of characters that represent what America and even what the World looks like. There are two other very important faces, adult ones, 40ish: Miranda Shaw (Aunjanue Ellis), their Olivia Pope/Annalise Keating style teacher and most importantly director of Quantico; and Special Agent Liam O’Connor (Dougray Scott), their supervisor who knows all their secrets and who’s a bit of a mess himself.
They all have very good -or not so good- reasons to be here and one of the best quality of this pilot is the way he delivers these informations to us, using the first exercise of the recruits to do so. Every trainee is attached to one another and have to look for his deepest secret, the one the FBI didn’t even find during the preliminary tests. This task proves to be very enlightening, exposing them more than they would like. At the end of the pilot, we already have a good idea of who they are and what we can expect from them, but we also know at least one of them is a terrorist and that changes everything. There is a tragedy happening at the end of the third act, and the fourth and fifth acts insanely pile up twists, the way Scandal did when it is at its best. Only one of them, the cliffhanger at the very end, left me doubtful. Maybe because it’s a little too easy, déjà vu. But it opens up to what could be either the starting point of the second part of the season or the starting point of the second season entirely. Since there is no Viola Davis in this show, we can bet ABC will be able to squeeze 22 episodes out of it, so they can use the first season to cover the 21 weeks of training, then move on with life after the explosion.
Quantico is an incredibly strong contender at ABC, not only because it’s a great pilot script that keeps you on the edge of your seat for the whole time but above all because it’s the promise of a show that will keep you on the edge of your seat EVERY WEEK for an ENTIRE SEASON -and hopefully more- alongside characters you can only care about, through a journey that’s relevant to the world we live in. It’s not a soapy Homeland. It’s not just Grey’s Anatomy or How To Get Away With Murder at the FBI Academy. It’s a bomb in the making that’s about to explode. The Clock is already ticking. Tick tock… Tick Tock…