Several years ago, ABC’s Castle perfected the art of a rudimentary procedural built not around the cases-of-the-week but around the chemistry of its two leads (that chemistry, it turns out, was illusory). In all other respects — and I’m sorry, but it’s true — Castle was kind of a crap show, where every episode literally began with the exact same first six scenes. But you know what else? I watched it anyway, probably for a good three or four seasons, if not more. I am a firm believer that a good television diet should include at least one procedural, and I am far more partial to the chemistry-driven ones than the grim, case-of-the-week CSI types.
Whiskey Cavalier falls firmly into the Castle brand of procedural: Dumb as a box full of rocks wearing wigs, but the cast is pleasing as hell, brimming with charm and good looks. It’s low-rent Mr. and Mrs. Smith, almost more of a romcom than a spy series. You can watch the pilot episode and basically map out the next six seasons of this show in your mind, and it will probably run for at least that long. Will Chase (Scott Foley), the emotionally sensitive FBI Agent will spend the next year bickering with his new partner in an intelligence corruption unit, the emotionally unavailable CIA agent, Frankie Trowbridge (Lauren Cohan). They’ll kiss in the first season finale, and spend the next season trying to forget about that kiss. In the third season, Trowbridge will finally admit to herself that she’s in love with Will, but he’ll be involved with someone else. He’ll break it off for her right as she starts dating someone else, and in the fourth season, they’ll finally have sex and the show will go completely downhill from there.
There will be a lot of spy shenanigans as well, of course. They’ll bicker and blame each other for their mistakes, and then celebrate their victories at the end of each episode, and their eye contact will linger just a half-second too long. Tyler James Williams will provide a running commentary on their relationship and also gadgets and hacking assistance. Ana Ortiz plays the profiler, but also the designated “best friend,” with whom both Will and Frankie will confide. Frankie and Will will work undercover as a married couple every other episode, while every episode will find a reason to have them roll around in the hay together while dodging bullets.
It will be completely forgettable. And probably kind of fun. You’ll watch it while making dinner, but you won’t tell your friends. You’ll renew your crushes on both Scott Foley and Lauren Cohan, but it will stay between you and yourself. You’ll get frustrated with the tedium of it midway through season two and swear it off, but you’ll check in during season three and get hooked again, only to give up it for good during the fourth season, at least until the series finale at the end of the sixth season, because you want to see if they end up together (they do).
After the series finale, you’ll turn it off and say, “That’s nice,” and you’ll never think of Whiskey Cavalier again, but you’ll still follow Foley to that family drama he does next, and you’ll wonder for a few years, “Whatever happened to Lauren Cohan?” until she pops up as fourth lead in a Netflix drama. When you look her up on iMDB to see what she’s been up to, you’ll find that she’s been working steadily in a British miniseries that you’ve never seen. And then you’ll ask yourself, “Whatever happened to her character on The Walking Dead” before remembering that she just kind of disappeared one day and never came back, even though the show is still on, in its 21st season, but it airs exclusively on Netflix now and Judith Grimes is the lead and Daryl still hasn’t washed his hair.
And there you go: That’s Whiskey Cavalier mapped out for the next 11 years or so. You could skip it, of course — you won’t lose anything by doing so — but I suspect I’m just going to give in to the inevitable. Cohan and Foley make a very attractive couple, and I am not above by-the-books spy missions and eye candy. There’s no need to judge.
Whiskey Cavalier airs on Wednesday at 10 p.m. on ABC, until they move it to Thursdays at 9 p.m. in its third season to take advantage of its ratings, and then bury it on Friday nights in its final season while collecting those massive licensing fees from streaming services.
Header Image Source: ABC