“Quantico” (ABC) pilot preview: A bomb in the making that’s about to explode! Tick Tock Tick Tock…

Quanrico

Written & produced by Josh Safran (Smash, Gossip Girl). Co-produced by Mark Gordon (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Criminal Minds) & Nick Pepper (Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders). Directed by Marc Munden (Utopia, Black Sails). For ABC, ABC Studios & The Mark Gordon Company. 58 pages.

Description: A group of young FBI recruits, all with specific reasons for joining, battle their way through training at the Quantico base in Virginia. Between target practice and tests of physical endurance, they have to learn the art of investigation while competing against each others. They only have a 50/50 chance of finishing and there are no second chances. But they’re about to face something even bigger: 9 months later, one of them is suspected of masterminding the biggest attack on American soil since 9/11…

With Aunjanue Ellis (Mentalist, The Help, Ray, The Book Of Negroes), Dougray Scott (Hemlock Grove, Desperate Housewives, Hitman, Taken 3), Priyanka Chopra (Barfi!), Jake McLaughlin (Believe, Crash), Graham Rogers (Revolution), Tate Ellington (Straight Outta Compton, The Mindy Project), Johanna Braddy (UnReal, Greek, The Riches), Yasmine Al Massri (Crossbones)…

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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…

18 comments

  1. Thank you for another informative website. The place else could I get that kind of info written in such an ideal method? I’ve a challenge that I am simply now operating on, and I’ve been on the glance out for such info.|

  2. gaychen says:

    Finally queen priyanka , youngest miss world in the world who won miss world 2000 and highest paid actress in indian cinema who has blockbuster movies and super hit flims , body like godess and hair like rupenzel and lips like pillow and skin like sun kissed tan and who can dance inidan classical to carberat and hiphop will debut this year in america, she will give a tought competition to Hollywood beauty ,

  3. Rony says:

    thank u so much for sharing this information with us I’m eagerly waiting for Quantico and I’m sure it’s gonna be a hit without doubt with all these ingredients on it

  4. TVNerd says:

    How do you get all these scripts? Do you have inside info about what pilots are heating up and which are not getting picked up? But I agree with you I think Quantico and Brainy Bunch look like winners for ABC fall 2015.

    • Lulla says:

      I don’t have any inside info for now, not sure I will. But if I do, I’ll make articles about it, be assured.

  5. tash says:

    Glad you made a preview of this one because I didn’t really know how to feel about the synopsis when I read it and the way abc described it “grey’s anatomy meets homeland” didn’t help.
    So it feels like a potential flagship drama for abc with all the ingredients you can expect from it : young and attractive cast, characters with complicated lives, twists, diversity, love stories, plenty of drama, friendships … and so on.
    Despite your enthusiasm, I still don’t know if I’m gonna give it a chance. Probably because I gave up on Scandal this year and I stopped watching HTGAWM very soon (just saw the pilot actually). I will probably wait on reviews and ratings.
    Scheduling might be a problem but if it’s as good and abc-compatible as you describe it, then I’m sure the audience will connect with (scheduling is not the only reason a show succeeds).

    Just one question : do you really think it can run for 22 epidodes a year? if not, thursdays could be a good slot after HTGAWM ends, even though I’m pretty sure abc is gonna use this slot to launch smoke and mirrors which is a shondaland-produced show and may be the solution to keep the TGIT alive through the whole season.

    • Lulla says:

      I also think “Smoke and mirrors” will take “HTGAWM” spot. Plus, it would be a mistake to wait for mid-season to launch “Quantico. They really can make 22 episodes per season, there’s enough material for it.

      • tash says:

        Ok it’s good to know because with all the mini series stuff (especially on abc with american crime, secrets and lies, galavant, agant carter), that question gets stuck in my head each time I read about a new project.
        Quantico (if the pilot is that good) will probably end up at 9 even though abc usually avoids that slot for its freshman dramas. But next season with Agents of Shield fading fast and HTGAWM not reliable enough, abc won’t have a choice.
        On Tuesdays, after a strengthened comedy block, it could do well (cbs did it with Scorpion despite bad ratings for The Millers).

  6. Tonya says:

    I would like to see ABC Tuesdays as Shark Tank/ Quantico/ Agents of SHIELD or Quantico/Agents of SHIELD/ Agents of SHIELD spin off. I know abc has strong comedy pilots this year. I would rather see them bring back tgif in full force and drop the Tuesday comedy block.

    • Lulla says:

      The fact that ABC has strong comedy pilots this year is not gonna help to drop Tuesday comedy block. Modern Family, The Middle, The Goldbergs, Blackish & Fresh Off the Boat will all be renewed, that doesn’t leave much room…

      • Tonya says:

        The problem is the Tuesday comedy block has not been a success for years. Maybe they can move Once Upon a Time to 9 on Sunday and have the 8 pm hour with 2 comedies, therefore keeping the same amount of comedy slots. The Muppet show seems like it could work well on Sunday night as lead in for Once Upon a Time.

        • Lulla says:

          I agree with “The Muppets Show” on Sundays but the problem is “Once Upon A Time” also appeals to a very young demo that won’t be around at 9…

          • Tonya says:

            The maybe true but at the same time people watch tv differently now. I think Once can survive at 9. The show is watched by more then just preteen girls. And who knows maybe showing the show at 9 instead of 8 will allow for some more maturity in the show, a chance to evolve and hopefully stabilize Sunday for ABC.

          • Lulla says:

            It can survive at 9, probably. But since it took a real hit the past few weeks, moving it may be even more dangerous now. And ABC needs a “strong” show to start the night.

  7. Boby says:

    Tu connais mon avis sur le projet.
    Moi je demande juste où est-ce que ABC va programmer la série ?
    Parce que bon, le TGIT ne peut pas être étendu à 4 heures de programmation et j’imagine très mal ABC attendre mars et la fin de la saison 2 de “How To Get Away With Murder” pour proposer “Quantico”. Mais alors que faire ? Déplacer “Grey’s Anatomy”, la série la moins “Twitter-Buzz”, serait le plus approprié, mais alors bigre, quelle série doit-on mettre à 20h00 entre “Quantico”, “Scanal” et “HTGAWM” !?
    !!! ALERTE SCHEDULING ISSUES !!!

    • Lulla says:

      I’m so sorry, but I don’t speak french. So I’m not sure I understood correctly what you wrote.
      Anyway, in my opinion, ABC shouldn’t mess with the TGIT for now. So Grey’s Anatomy should stay at 8, Scandal at 9 and HTGAWM at 10. But if Grey’s had to move to make room for Quantico, then I would put it at 8. I think Quantico can have a chance Wednesdays at 10, if Nashville moves to Sundays. Pushing Agents of Shield to 10 on Tuesdays and putting Quantico before at 9 can also be a solution but only if the 8pm timeslot is strenghtened. As long as ABC avoids Sundays…
      Of course, if HTGAWM had been more reliable, they would have made a great pair with Quantico, on Tuesdays for example.

      • Boby says:

        If “Quantico” is really strong like you said, I think the show could have a chance Thursdays at 8. It will complete the Twitter-Buzz line-up.
        “Grey’s Anatomy” could move on the schedule.

        • Lulla says:

          If it’s really strong, it can self start on another night. ABC should not mess with the TGIT for now. “Grey’s Anatomy” could return to Sundays at some point, but it’s too soon. Thursday is their strongest night of the week.

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