Oh, Intelligence. If only you wrote as good as you want to be.
Intelligence centers around Josh Holloway as a decorated veteran who just happens to have a genetic defect that allows a chip to be implanted into his head. This chip allows him to access the internet and anything connected to it, which can be mighty handy. Meghan Ory as his Secret Service guard, tasked with keeping Gabriel's inherent recklessness from getting him killed. Marg Helgenberger is the head of Cyber Command, of which Gabriel is an agent, charged to investigate episodes of cyberterrorism. Or something like that.
The problem with Intelligence is not its premise, which is about as far fetched as other shows, such as Chuck and Person of Interest. The problem has to do with the cardboard characters and the show's insistence in setting stakes too high too soon. In the first episode, the scientist who created the chip is kidnapped - high stakes, but who cares? In the second episode, the team is forced to deal with Gabriel's wife, a CIA agent turned terrorist. She's turned into a suicide bomber and dies In front of Gabriel. In the next episode, a Chinese agent with a similar chip hacks into Gabriel's chip.
So many things happens to Gabriel in the first three episodes, episodes that are supposed to make us feel for the pain he's experiencing. But we don't know Gabriel or his team enough to care. They haven't earned our empathy. They would have done better to follow the example of Person of Interest, the show it is most similar to. Show your heroes working their weekly cases, building up comaraderie amongst themselves, and with us. Then, when the stakes are high, when our heroes are brought to their knees, so are we. We care. We're as devastated as they are. Intelligence never gave us the time and opportunity to develop that relationship with their characters.
The best part of the show is that it's a cornucopia of Fan Alerts. A lot of good actors are given work in this pedestrian show:
Lost Fan Alert - Josh Holloway is not the only alum who shows up. His character's wife is played by Zuleikha Robinson, Ilana herself. That really amused me, for some reason. Tania Raymonde, Ben's daughter, Alex, also makes an appearance as a murderous CIA agent.
Once Upon a Time Fan Alert - Meghan Ory plays Ruby, aka Little Red Riding Hood, on OUAT. I think it's a little worrying that her character's been missing all season, and no one's said anything. What's that about?
Fringe Fan Alert - Is it me or is Lance Reddick everywhere these days? I'm not complaining. On Intelligence he's the secretive head of the CIA, but I keep expecting him to be called Lt. Broyles. And don't forget he too was on Lost as the mysterious Matthew Abaddon.
BSG Fan Alert - Michael Trucco, Starbuck's husband Sam, also makes an appearance as a Secret Service agent who shares a past with Ory's Riley.
The 4400 Fan Alert - I laugh as I write this, as Peter Coyote's been in everything. But his Dennis Ryland was in charge of the agency investigating The 4400. Now he's Marg Helgenberger's father, and apparently in the president's administration.
Life Goes On Fan Alert - Another laugh. Corky's dad, Bill Smitrovich, also makes an appearance.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Fan Alert - Rosalind Chao played Keiko O'Brien, Miles's wife, on both Deep Space Nine and Next Generation. Here she played a Chinese diplomat.
Don't waste your time. Let's hope Intelligence dies an early death and Holloway finds a vehicle worthy of his talents.