Review: ‘Quantico’ Star Outshines Pilot

The FBI has definitely gotten a lot sexier since Clarice Starling was a recruit. Taking a page from the holy book of Shonda Rhimes, the new ABC drama Quantico has the DNA of an FBI procedural, but creator and writer Joshua Safran has obviously been influenced by the Viola Davis smash. The pilot does a good job of shrouding everything and everyone in secrecy, but is the show doing too much too soon?

Quantico starts with a bang—or the aftermath of a bang. Grand Central Terminal has been devastated by a terrorist attack, and our leading lady, Priyanka Chopra, wakes up in the rubble. It is later declared the biggest terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11, but the action swiftly backtracks to show us all of the FBI recruits arriving at the Quantico base in Virginia. Clearly, we are going to have to concurrent storylines with a lot of flash forwarding and rewinding.

It must be said that Chopra makes an impressive television debut as Alex Parrish. The camera loves her gorgeous face, but her no-nonsense demeanor is worth staying for. Everyone is pretty much represented here—A gay guy! A Mormon! A gun-wielding blonde hottie! A nice guy soldier!—but Chopra is the main focus. After the bombing, the FBI detains her in order to gather some information on her fellow recruits. Is one of them a terrorist, or are they stalling to get more information on her?

While the bombing seems to be the through line of the first season, the more interesting stuff is in Alex’s interaction with the recruits at Quantico. Their first assignment is to take a case file about another recruit and identify the missing element or secret. When it comes time to turn in their homework, some of the students own up to the missing information while one young man unravels completely. Since the pilot spends a lot more time insinuating that everyone is hiding something, I would’ve liked to have seen more interaction between all of them at the base. The terrorist plot is interesting enough, but the immediacy to it is missing.

There is enough here to keep viewers watching. It seems that every single network is on the hunt to own the next big drama, and Quantico promises that we will want to tune in every week to watch the story unfold. The supporting players—especially Tate Ellington as the smiley Simon and Yasmine Al Massri as the mysterious Nimah—do a good job at making you want more, but no one has anything on Chopra. She’s a great beauty, but she just might be the breakout performer of the fall. Her Alex is guarded and cocky, but the accusations made against her in the pilot suggest a vulnerability that will make people really like her. She has the potential to become a sensation in America even if Quantico doesn’t stick the landing.

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