The series premiere episode of Intelligence starts with intelligence agent Gabriel Vaughn (Josh Holloway) standing alone in a remote Himalayan forest location, as he accesses various aspects of the internet, looking for Amelia.
He then finds himself apprehended for trespassing on a foreign military base. They detected transmissions coming from him, even though he has no equipment on him. That confuses and angers his captors.
Then the interrogation room door unlocks itself and Gabriel takes advantage of the moment to put a beat down on the interrogator, and makes a break for it.
The man, Gabriel, has serious scraping skills… he takes down a few armed men and escapes by jumping off a cliff into a chilly, mountain top river.
We then watch a kidnapping go down of a scientist and after that, we meet Agents Riley Neal (Meghan Ory) and Lillian Strand (Marg Helgenberger), as Strand recruits Neal to be Vaughn’s bodyguard.
This is Intelligence, from CBS. It’s about an intelligence operative (Holloway) whose brain is enhanced with a microchip that helps him get the jobs done.
We’re shown how the chip was implemented and how it actually works. (There were a few surprising and unexpected features that came with having the chip installed in his brain)
I’ve always liked Josh Holloway but haven’t seen much of him on TV since Lost.
The last time we had a TV series about spies with computer chips in their brains, it was so damn convoluted that no one could follow what the hell was going on. Remember My Own Worst Enemy with Christian Slater? It was a fun concept, especially when Slater’s dual identities started arguing with themselves, but when the series threw in an entire team of character swapping agents, it got incredibly bloated with too much detail.
But in Intelligence, it’s kept to a simple premise of one man with this gift that can have him interact with the web and satellites, real-time, to help him get his job done. But refreshingly, he doesn’t always depend on that connection and I like that.
OK, maybe 80-90% of the time he does, but it didn’t seem pushed or convoluted in the story. Not yet.
They have a good start and if they build on the character stories and veer slightly away from the chip story, I think CBS will have themselves a hit.
I like the other stories going on around Vaughn, though it is a bit worrisome that we found out about a few of the deeper secrets behind Agent Neal already, and about Vaughn’s (ex?) wife.
Was there a real concern at CBS that they needed to put those threads out there so soon, or could they not have waited a week or two drop the mysteries on us as time went on? I’ve always said when you meet all the characters and learn all the secrets of a series in the first episode, that can never be a good thing for a show.
But I’m hoping I’m wrong.
After it’s special premiere night, Intelligence moves to Mondays where it’s slotted to air. Though, to be honest, Monday could be a tough sell for TV ratings.
Everyone is looking good. Helgenberger, who left CSI to “retire from TV acting,” is looking sharp as ever and I think is now in a role that better fits her stern, commanding presence. (I guess retirement wasn’t all it was cut out to be, or that was a wonderfully nice way of exiting from a CBS series that seems to have a slow but inevitable rotating cast door.)
Where oh where has Meghan Ory been hiding? OK, had Once Upon a Time actually been something I watched, I would have seen her there. Or in True Justice or South Beach.
And Josh Holloway, though 44, is looking as good as ever and it looks like he seriously applies himself at the gym. The ladies will appreciate each scene that he wears a well fitted sweater or jacket, or even the proverbial (Twilight clause) shirtless scene.
I hope the show survives the ratings. I’d like to see where they take it. The fact that it’s a mid-season premiere says to me they’re testing the waters with this one to see how it goes. It could survive well enough to get a summer TV slot or surprise everyone with big enough numbers to maybe get a full season treatment next year.
Though, to be honest, genre shows like this are a tough sell. We’ll have to see how it goes, but I like what I saw with Holloway, as he was able to be more expressive than I remember him being in Lost. (Disclaimer: I’ve not seen none of most of his movies.)
Though at present, there are rumors swirling around the internet that Holloway is being considered for the role of Aquaman in the upcoming Man of Steel movie sequel! We’ll see how that pans out.