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Intelligence Review: “Secrets of the Secret Service” (Episode 1.04)

January 28, 2014  |  10:50pm
<i>Intelligence</i> Review: &#8220;Secrets of the Secret Service&#8221; (Episode 1.04)

In theory, this week’s episode of Intelligence should have worked. The plot was ripped from the headlines and had more twists and turns than an episode of Scandal, the drama continues to attract a top-notch guest cast (welcome back Lance Reddick), and there was even a call back to the 1991 Sally Field movie Not Without My Daughter. But the hour meandered along without any real sense of urgency despite how often the characters told viewers how urgent things were.

Gabriel, Riley and Chris are sent to Syria to extract two journalists who are being held captive. They are seemingly going on a diplomatic mission with former President Finnegan, the man who made Clockwork possible when he was in charge. But the mission isn’t diplomatic and their orders are to rescue the journalists and prevent a war.

Part of the reason the episode didn’t work is that the two journalists (including one played by Tania Raymonde of Lost) looked completely fake in the opening shots of them being held captive. It looked like their make-up and clothes had been done up for a high school production. No wonder the Syrians didn’t believe they were journalists. I didn’t believe they were journalists.

Turns out we were both right. They were actually CIA agents on a mission to extract Susan Hawkins, a scientist married to a Syrian national. They rescue the scientist, but along the way Gabriel goes rogue and rescues the CIA agents, too (well only one of them as one has died in captivity).

Although Gabriel has been instructed to not do anything “too chippy,” he accesses the classified information of Riley’s former boyfriend, Secret Service Agent Griffin (Michael Trucco, who recently starred in the short-lived ABC series Killer Women). Turns out, Griffin took credit for a Secret Service rescue and got the promotion that belonged to Riley. Laughably, Gabriel reveals all this while driving wildly to rescue the CIA agents.

The show is in a bit of bind. It dropped the possible ongoing story arcs like Gabriel’s missing wife and the Chinese operative who had the same chip as Gabriel very quickly. Now it is trying to turn the show into one that will center on a stand-alone crisis each week. But neither approach has worked for the show. It clearly doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up.

The episode ends with Lillian being told the current president is worried that there will come a day when Lillian is unable to control Gabriel. As I said last week, I don’t think the show will be around long enough for viewers to see that happen.

Other thoughts on “Secrets of the Secret Service”:
—Someone has got to tell Gabriel that accessing someone’s personal file isn’t all that charming.
—Enough with the quippy one-liners. Gabriel saying “How do you think she’d feel about a half day?” when going to rescue Susan Hawkins’ daughter was ridiculous and way too glib. As was the Riley and Gabriel’s flirtatious chatter during said rescue.
—The Lost reunion between Josh Holloway and Tania Raymonde would have been so much more fun if they had called each other “Sawyer” and “Alex.”

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