Monday, March 26, 2018

Pilot Review: Instinct

Instinct (CBS)
Premiered March 18 at 8pm

There are actors who end up in roles on television for years that help to define them in a certain way, and when the show inevitably goes off the air, they’re left to find a new part. CBS is particularly known for this, with actors like Michael Wetherly departing “NCIS” early to star on “Bull,” and in this case, Alan Cumming, who earned three Emmy nominations for playing political operator Eli Gold on “The Good Wife,” wasn’t invited along for spin-off “The Good Fight.” The Scottish actor is playing a much less buttoned-up character here, but he’s still just as excitable with a flair for the dramatic. Starting out by daring a student to hit him and then sucker-punching him instead was awfully theatrical, and he took right away to the cop-advisor relationship that is so central to so many different cop shows, including the recently-premiered “Deception,” with a magician subbed in for this author. Cumming is effortlessly great, and it’s obvious that he’s having a good time. Bojana Novakovic, most recognizable for playing Frank’s beloved Bianca on “Shameless,” seems less strict and willing to open up than many cops in similar positions, and they’re a good pair. It’s always good to see Naveen Andrews from “Lost” and “Sense8,” and I have a feeling that he’ll be around a lot as the resident CIA help, with Sharon Leal from “Supergirl” as another top cop. We also have Whoopi Goldberg in a random recurring role which lets her enjoy herself. Lines like “I’m not bossy, I’m your boss” and “You get to come everywhere with me, but I can’t go with you?” show that the banter here is ready to go, and so if this is your kind of series, it stacks up pretty well so far.

How will it work as a series? Their dynamic has already been established, and Lizzie seems to want to have Dylan around if only for some company as much as he wants to be involved, which is helpful since it puts them on the same page. Formulaic procedurals like these work great, and I suspect that Dylan can turn even the most monotonous of cases into something page-turning.
How long will it last? I thought I had heard good things about this show, but I guess that’s not the consensus, which is decidedly mixed. The ratings were considerably better, besting most of its competition but not as fantastic as CBS sometimes gets from its other shows. I’d still lean towards a renewal at this point, though it’s far from guaranteed.

Pilot grade: B

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