CBS 'Intelligence' Series Premiere Is Refreshing And Convincing
Intelligence debuted with a strong episode - cerebrally as well action-wise - along with a good starting plot and set-up for the series, and a generally outstanding cast.
Leading that cast is Josh Holloway in his first major television outing since his portrayal of Sawyer in Lost, one of the most memorable characters in that now classic series. Michael Emerson who played Ben in Lost has done well for himself in Person of Interest, so Holloway had a lot to live up to. He's doing fine so far with his customary mix of sarcasm and no nonsense, a good persona for the lead character who is a master operative with the added advantage of a brain that's hooked into the Internet. It's a good premise for a series for our day and age - the digital equivalent of The Bionic Man - and Gabriel (Holloway's character) even has a lost love he is searching the world to find.
Also excellent is Meghan Ory as Gabriel's secret service agent protector Riley - yeah, he's more important than the President - with a good combination of mental and physical agility. Gabriel loves his wife, but there's a chemistry between hum and Riley that's bound to lead to interesting complications sooner or later.
Marge Helgenberger as head of the unit Lilian I'm not so sure about. Her cool, deadpan performance as Katherine on CSI worked great for that almost anime-come-to-life series, but in Intelligence ... I don't know, I'll need to see more before I buy her as someone with sufficient wisdom and vision to be running this whole operation.
Meanwhile, the world depicted in Intelligence is sufficiently different from and similar to ours to host good continuing story. It's not the Chinese who are our enemies; it's a conservative militant group within China, in the classic James Bondian tradition. And the set-up recognizes and in fact is predicated upon the increasing interconnection of all forms of communication and information delivery - indeed, this is what makes Gabriel's connection to the Internet so powerful and effective.
The series moves to Monday night next week, replacing Hostages on CBS, which had its moments, but was based on a fundamentally absurd premise through the very end. In contrast, Intelligence is a realistic as tomorrow's app, which Gabriel is well aware of, and which makes the story, at least in its premiere, refreshing and convincing.