What are the things that make a ‘whodunit’ interesting? A lot, actually. The key, though, is to have a string of suspects, all of them convincing enough to turn out to be the mastermind in the end. Priyanka Chopra’s debut international show, Quantico, gave us all this and much more in the pilot episode.
First things first. The first episode of this ABC thriller was a big surprise. It had a heavy dose of drama, and a sprinkling of riveting sequences that left us wanting more (even though they gave us enough plot twists for a season, all packed in just the pilot episode).
No prizes for guessing Quantico’s story (courtesy the viral trailer). Still, here is an elaborate breakdown.
Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra) is a newly-minted FBI agent who wakes up in a pile of rubble after what looks like a massive terrorist attack in New York City ‘since 9/11’. She’s brought in for ‘interrogation’ by other agents because she’s the only survivor, and she’s told that the suspect is one of the 50 people Alex had her FBI training in Quantico with.
Flashback to six months earlier (clear ‘inspiration’ from How To Get Away With Murder, except without those flashy transition effects) and we land in Quantico where we meet all the recruits for the first time.
Shelby Wyatt is a rich orphan from Georgia who is apparently a bad-ass gunslinger, Simon Asher is a gay man from New York City but he could just be faking it (or that is what we could understand from his introduction scene), Nimah Anwar is a Muslim woman (or women as we later came to know) from Ohio who deals with a racist store owner in her own introduction scene.
We also have Ryan Booth, the guy Alex made out with in his car just hours before landing in Quantico (unknowingly of course that he too is an FBI trainee). There is also Eric Parker, a very serious Mormon and his roommate Caleb Haas, who is bad at physical training, shooting and more or less everything that has anything to do with being an FBI agent but is still there. These six, plus Alex, will be the focus of the series.
On the second day of their training, the recruits are attached to one another and they are asked to figure out one thing about him or her that is not there on their character profile. Everyone gets to the job and the results are revealing indeed. We learn more about the characters and also about Alex herself. A big accident also happens in this process but revealing more would be spoiling it.
We cut back to the present, and Alex learns that the FBI agents do not want information from her but are merely stalling the process long enough to be able to arrest her. She is arrested and shoved in the police van where she cries and begs for the agents to listen to her but no one believes her. However, someone comes to her rescue (her trainer from the academy, Miranda Shaw, who believes that Alex is indeed innocent).
So now Alex is at large, hiding from the FBI and trying to find on her own who was actually behind the attack.
Priyanka Chopra is perfect TV material. While everybody in the US is raving about her looks, here’s what we have to say: PC is definitely much more than just a pretty face. She oozes confidence and wit, and is second to none on the show. Her accent, while Facebook and Twitter trolls would not stop making fun of it, is perfect. She doesn’t try to go over the top, rolling her tongue or not finishing words as the Americans usually do. She speaks each syllable of the word and is very easy on Indian ears. Yes, she isn’t all Raj Koothrapali (The Big Bang Theory) or Apu Nahasapeemapetilon (The Simpsons), who speak English in an Indian accent that we Indians too have difficulty relating to.
To her credit, PC seems to have walked straight out of Shondaland, but as long as it makes us want to watch the next episode, we’re good.
Quantico airs Oct 3|9pm on Star World.
Author tweets as @soumya1405