Premiered November 5, 2015
I had absolutely no idea what this show was about going into it. For some reason, I thought that it was a British series acquired by Amazon debuting for the American public months after its initial airing. Instead, it’s an international series of sorts that premiered during an Amazon pilot season I didn’t catch and which now makes its official start as of February 24th. I’m really not sure how to describe this show, since it’s a mildly comic spy thriller with plenty of family intrigue and a real-world focus on conflicts involving Iran and Israel. I was struck a few minutes into it when we heard lead actor Michael Darmon singing a song about the United States assassinating someone. What other show has its star play the guitar, crooning about Iranian nuclear weapons and wondering why male hotel maids don’t exist in other countries. There’s an odd mundanity to some of the things that happened in this episode, like talking about what airline they were traveling on in relation to the attractiveness of the stewardesses and ending with a comment about how John keeps parking in Leslie’s spot. There are two supporting mainstays that I recognized immediately in this hour and whose folklore is helpful to their roles here: Terry O’Quinn from “Lost” as John’s father and Kurtwood Smith from “That 70s Show” as Leslie. I’m also very happy to see underrated ensemble player Michael Chernus from “Orange is the New Black” as John’s legislator brother Edward. This show is undeniably intriguing and unique, but it weirds me out a bit more than it entices me, and it’s not something I feel I need to pick up right now.
How will it work as a series? What was supposed to be but never could have been a simple, quick mission turned into a more intensive assignment, and the contradiction between the secret intensity of John’s actual assignment and the boring nature of his cover is going to make for an interesting dynamic. It could work well, and, as previously mentioned, will certainly have its own flavor.
How long will it last? Ratings data isn’t too useful since the streaming services don’t really release it and it’s not all that relevant. The reviews were pretty good, and just getting picked up in the first place by Amazon is an huge endorsement, so I think this could easily be back for season two.
Pilot grade: B