“The last thing we need tonight is a car chase.”
She gets that wish.
The car their suspect is about to get into explodes.
That’s three explosions so far, for those keeping count. What is happening here?
Another bomb is discovered, this time in a gym in the Bronx. Bell and OA speak with Brick Peters (Mac Brandt), a career Army veteran and the gym manager who admits there is heavy gang activity in the area. The bomb squad speaks to the agents, and OA, being prior military, realizes the bombs are the same ones that used to be used by the U.S. Army. They aren’t used anymore but have made their way down to El Salvador. OA asks Brick if they have a MS-13 presence, but the closest he says they have is this scrawny guy.
The gang idea is truly intriguing to me, as you would never think that a gang would be behind this sort of attack. It’s less than typical, and I’m enjoying the originality thus far.
Their informant Wilmer (the scrawny MS-13 guy) is having a bad day. And by bad day, I mean he’s got two pissed off agents demanding answers. The interrogation scene gives us a badass view of Bell. We don’t see the conflicted woman we saw before. She’s angry and fearless and gets what she needs by blackmail. It is Missy Peregrym at her best.
Oh, and OA drew a picture of Wilmer with a knife in his neck. So, I suppose that’s one way to interrogate someone.
Back on the Streets…
They go looking for Bernardo (the guy who had the bomb and gave it to Wilmer) and discover a room full of spiders at the apartment in which he supposedly lives. Poor OA (watch and see why). He’s not there, though.
Oh, and Wilmer’s day just got a lot worse. He’s dead. And missing his heart. Ouch. Jail isn’t a good place for a gang member, I guess.
They’re also without an informant now. Because of that, they put Bernardo’s face all over the news. Tips flood in, and they find him in an “abandoned” warehouse. They take him in and discover the warehouse is where the bombs are being made. There’s blood on one of the tools, and they take it in too, hoping it’ll help them confirm the suspect.
Bernardo doesn’t want to talk.
But Kristen, our analyst, has figured out a major factor: the detonator used has a common factor with a past bombing.
And by that discovery, we learn that MS-13 is working with a white nationalist, Robert Lawrence and he becomes the prime suspect. While interviewing him, he and OA exchange words regarding minorities. During this exchange, the team can tie the blood sample to a familiar face: Brick Peters. He was a bomb specialist in the Army and he has been building the bombs for Lawrence all along.
Bell and OA raid Bricks’ mother’s diner, finding an empty grenade box. This discovery means all the bombs aren’t accounted for. As Robert Lawrence goes on TV for a discussion about minority communities and the recent bombings, Peters forcibly gives up information by Solberg. They discover the last bomb is at a minority leaders summit where Kristen waits. In a wry twist of events, she is the one who answers the bomb (phone) when Lawrence tries to set it off. He is arrested, and the case is closed.
The episode ends with OA taking Bell to the wake of the small child who was killed at the beginning. Maggie locks eyes with the mother and a look of understanding coming over both of their faces.
What I liked:
- While Dick Wolf is not shy about having strong female leads (see Olivia Benson, SVU), the second main character is Muslim, something you don’t often see in shows (or isn’t done well). Often in TV we are only introduced to Muslim characters in that of terrorism. Zaki’s character exchanges words with Robert Lawrence and Brick Peters during the episode, as both have negative things to say about his ethnicity. Oddly enough, from the little we get from his backstory, he’s the most patriotic of all of them. Oh, the irony. I love the irony.
- The show’s pacing and actors’ chemistry is great. It has plenty of action (there are literally three explosions in the 43-minute period), but also great technical talk, too. The storyline is original and relevant for today’s climate without being too political. They address issues that we’ve seen on the news. As I said earlier, we’ve become sort of neutral to violence, but the relevancy and original takes on the topics keeps you rooted in the episode. One of my initial concerns for this show was how it would be different from Wolf’s other projects, and so far, I can say it has enough differences.
- I loved the familiar faces, whether it be from Wolfs’ previous shows, or the actors’ as well. Several actors were on previous shows with the main cast. (Zaki and Brandt, for example.) I’m a big fan of Missy from Rookie Blue specifically, and you can see the growth in her acting. Furthermore, she’s played law enforcement both times, and I think fans of Rookie Blue will enjoy her reprising a similar role, just with more mature characterization and experience.
What I Didn’t Like:
I don’t have any glaring criticisms yet. The show is only one episode in, anyway.
What I hope for:
- OA says he served in the military and specialized with bombs. The show also mentions he has a past in undercover work focused on terrorism. I am curious to how these intertwine and how long he has been out. My hope is that they keep him painted in the light we see now. For The Brave fans out there, Hadi Tabbal announced he would be in a later episode, and I hope that somehow it has to do with OA’s past.
Questions I have:
- Bell’s husband’s death. We see the picture of a man in her drawer at one point, then OA also asks about her husband’s passing. We get a brief explanation, but there aren’t many details. How long ago did this happen, how will it affect her work? Bell has been in New York three years, so she says. Did he die before that or did it happen in NYC? I am nervous that her character will become her “cracks” so to speak. I love a strong female character, but I also think there’s a fine line between using tragedy to build your character versus also making a strong female character stand on their own. This should be interesting as the season progresses. Regardless, I have high hopes for both her character and the other female characters we did meet.
- Nielsen doesn’t stay with the show, and Sela Ward comes in next episode. How will this change the dynamic?
- This show hints on several current political climate topics. Is this important for today’s culture, or will people shy away from FBI if these kinds of storylines continue? It makes me think about how many people shy away from the heavier topics because TV is an escape. They dance a dangerous line, but it could be something that sets them apart from other shows.
All in all,
FBI’s Pilot is worth your watch. There’s action, humor, despair, and my favorite thing about shows: interesting characters. There are a lot of law enforcement shows on the air right now, even some about the FBI as well, but I think this one has just the right amount of sparkle that it is going to do well with audiences.
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