Quantico is a new ABC thriller that feels so much like a Shonda Rhimes show that I simply assumed it was until researching this review and discovering otherwise. It’s Joshua Safran, who was behind Gossip Girl and Smash, but it may as well be Shonda Rhimes, because the pilot borrows everything from the Rhimes kitchen sink, right down to ignoring the reality of any particular profession to further a plot contrivance, it’s ridiculously attractive cast, unnecessary sex, huge plot turns, time jumps, and bad writing.
It burns, but it burns so good.
However, much of what makes Quantico so compelling to watch, in spite of all its flaws is former Miss World, Priyanka Chopra, who looks like this:
Does that make me shallow? Probably, but there is shallowness in Quantico as far as the eye can see. The cast may be the hottest on network television right now.
See what I mean?
But a show needs more than eye candy to succeed (I guess). It also needs preposterous Scandal-like plotlines, a Blacklist-like mystery, and the ability to move the plot at breakneck speed without actually breaking the plot’s neck (at least until the third season).
It remains to be seen, however, if Quantico can keep its pace up without collapsing in on itself. The pilot episode alone included a gratuitous sex scene, a suicide by self-inflicted gunshot to the mouth, secret Muslim twins, a terrorist bombing of Grand Central station, and a frame-up job. There’s also a secret Daddy, a conservative gay Jew with something to hide, FBI agents playing undercover FBI agents, and Josh Hopkins intensely square-jawing lines like, “Don’t question the chain of command.”
I’d summarize the plot, but honestly, the appeal of Quantico would be lost in the translations. Suffice to say, it involves two timelines. In one, a new class of aspiring FBI Agents is entering Quantico. In another, one of those aspiring agents is being framed for the bombing of Grand Central Station. While she’s on the run from Johnny FBI, she has to piece together clues from her stint in Quantico to figure out which of her classmates is the real terrorist, and they all have secrets (many of the sexual variety).
It’s exhilarating, and exhilaratingly bad, but like any good Shonda Rhimes’ series, it goes down easy and it often moves so fast that there’s no time to catalogue the plot holes. It’s especially hard to focus on the with all the lips and the abs and the flesh draining blood from the brain. Quantico is basically Scandal meets Homeland by way of wannabe Skinemax, or the Taylor Kitsch of television shows: Intriguing, vacuous, and oh so pretty.