Priyanka Chopra tweeted eight minutes of her ABC drama Quantico and we are hooked. New York Times recently gave star billing to Priyanka and had the show’s description spot-on as Homeland-meets-Grey’s Anatomy, with a bit of How to Get Away with Murder.
The preview opens with Priyanka Chopra lying on the debris of what was once Grand Central Terminal. It is obvious that there has been a terror attack and Priyanka’s Alex Parrish is badly injured. The show then goes back into a flashback and we see Alex saying goodbye to her mother nine months ago. There is just a slight hitch: Her mother thinks she is heading to the train station while she is really going to the airport and needs to hide the fact.
It seems the characters make something of a profession of lying. On board the plane, she meets Ryan (Jake McLaughlin). He is ostensibly heading to the Philippines, she says she is going to Chile and is part of Doctors Without Borders. You guessed it, they are both lying but that doesn’t stop them from having sex in the car. She then ups and leaves him because he is not her type. She also gives him 5 reasons why. They will meet again at the FBI Academy in Quantico, as trainees.
We also get a glimpse at other trainees and they all have secrets to hide. One of those secrets will lead to the biggest terror attack since 9/11. Now, who is that person is for Alex Parrish and us to uncover during this season of Quantico.
Intense and action-fuelled, the show races through the first eight minutes. With so much packed into it, the TV show raises important questions of race and colour. Priyanka’s Parrish has a mind of her own and is quite a badass. Priyanka, for all the criticism she got when Quantico’s trailer was unveiled, is emphatic as Parrish. You can complain as much about her accent, but she gets hold of your attention and keeps it there.
Meanwhile, Priyanka -- who is days away from Quantico’s world premiere -- couldn’t have got a better build-up in the American media if she asked for it. While people are seeing her face on buses, billboards and television every day, it is the media which is actually floored by her.
In a New York Times interview, the actor was given a star rating. In fact, while describing the setting of the interview, the writer described how sun broke through the clouds the moment Priyanka walked out of her trailer. “The golden hour on this late September afternoon was anything but. The air was hot and hazy, the sky the colour of the industrial concrete buildings doubling as the set of the FBI Academy. Then Priyanka Chopra sauntered out of her trailer, a vision in mirrored shades and towering gold stilettos. And suddenly, as if by divine intervention, setting sunbeams pierced through the clouds. “The sun opened up, right?” she said with a squeal and a kick. “I said” - she crooked a finger toward the sky - “’Come to me.’” That the sun should oblige this Bollywood actress might not seem unreasonable to her fans in India, where she is one of that nation’s highest-profile celebrities,” the interview said.
Describing Quantico as ABC’s continued drive to promote diversity on screen, the article goes on to describe how other female actors like Sofia Vergara (Modern Family), Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy) and Kerry Washington (Scandal) were part of the same effort. While describing Priyanka’s audition (her first ever, by the way), the article quotes show’s creator Joshua Safran, “She walked in the room, and it was like the molecules shifted in that way that superstars have,” he recalled. “I was very confused because I didn’t know who she was, but we all sat up straighter.”
Safran said he had imagined a protagonist hardened by tragedy and aloof. He hadn’t quite envisioned Alex as a bombshell. “One of the things we talked about was, ‘Is she so glamorous that she can’t play this regular person?’” said Mark Gordon, one of the show’s executive producers. “What we quickly came to realize is that she’s a huge star internationally, but she’s actually quite regular. She’s very accessible both to women and to men, and that’s especially important at ABC, where a large percentage of the audience is women.”
Earlier this month, The Hollywood Reporter had mentioned Priyanka in its list of top 10 actors to watch out for on TV this year. Priyanka’s name comes first in the very strong list which also has names like Lena Waithe and Rachel Bloom. The magazine called her a “Bollywood megastar, who boasts combined 27 million Facebook and Twitter followers and has starred in more than 45 films in her native country and holds its enviable title of highest-paid actress.”
Read: What’s with Priyanka’s accent in Quantico, asks Twitter