REVIEW: Fun-fuelled FBI thriller ‘Quantico’ has us hooked from episode 1
Having made its stateside debut in September of last year, FBI thriller series Quantico has already been making a huge splash in America. Described as Grey’s Anatomy meets Homeland, the show’s pulse-racing pilot also encourages comparisons to 24, the Bourne films, and How To Get Away With Murder, and sets up a mystery that’s already got us hooked. So strap yourselves in for plenty of intrigue, cover-ups and conspiracies, as hugely entertaining Quantico‘s bringing all that and more to your Thursday night viewing.
First up, we’re loving the premise of the show, which follows a group of bright young recruits as they arrive at the FBI training base in Quantico, Virginia (yes, we looked it up, and it is a real place). It’s a diverse crowd, including gay Brooklyn hipster Simon, southern belle Shelby, ex-Marine Ryan, well-connected golden boy Caleb, and hijab-wearing Nimah. At the top of the class is our heroine, the fiercely competitive but nevertheless irresistibly likeable Alex Parrish, played by Bollywood beauty Priyanka Chopra. Don’t they look sweet together?
Don’t be deceived by the summer camp-style arrival of these fresh faced FBI trainees, though. We learn right from the beginning that Alex has at a later point been framed (or has she..?) for the devastating bombing of New York’s Grand Central Terminal, and then proceed to follow her desperate scramble to uncover which of her fellow recruits was responsible for masterminding “the most devastating attack on American soil since 9/11″. Through a series of flashbacks, we soon find out that each recruit, including Alex herself, has plenty of dark secrets to hide, making for a pretty compelling mystery.
Terrorists, bombings, moles in the FBI… It’s all sounding rather heavy at the moment, right? Don’t worry though; Quantico makes it obvious from the offset that it’s not taking itself too seriously. In fact, part of the reason we’re already in love with the show is its cheeky sense of humour and playful sexual tension. Alex unknowingly hooks up with fellow recruit Ryan before even arriving at the training base, which inevitably makes for some juicy, innuendo-filled encounters such as this one:
Much to our delight, the pilot’s also jam packed with the kind of cheap thrills that shows like this exist for. As each character is introduced, we’re convinced that their gasp-inducing backstory makes them our suspect, before another bombshell drops in the form of someone equally questionable. There’s everything from twins, to statutory rape, to patricide, to fatal illegal abortions… whew! But what is a youth-oriented FBI thriller series if not utterly sensational? We’re not complaining; it does it in style.
So at this point I’m going to put it out there that I don’t think one of the Quantico recruits has single-handedly masterminded the terrorist attack; even if it would please me immensely if it transpired Alex was in fact behind it all. Instead, there’s just gotta be some higher institutional conspiracy behind it all.
Episode 1 takes care to introduce us to lady boss Miranda Shaw, who directs the Quantico training programme and acts as a mentor to the recruits. The highest-ranking woman in the FBI (woo!), we know she holds a certain sway over recently demoted, seasoned FBI agent Liam O’Connor, whose history with the agency appears to be shrouded in mystery, and who’s way too quick to turn against Alex when she’s accused of the bombing. But I’m not going to pretend I have any real idea of where the next 21 episodes of this season are going. Like each of the FBI’s dubious rookies, Quantico‘s keeping its cards close to its chest for now. It’s no surprise that the show’s already been renewed for a second season, and earned leading lady Priyanka Chopra this year’s People’s Choice Award for Favourite Actress in a New TV Series. We can’t wait to see what else it has in store.
Make sure you’re watching Quantico when it begins tonight (10.03.16) at 9pm, only on Alibi.