January 27, 2023
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Life & Culture

Review: Suspenseful plot and rich characters carry ‘Quantico’


In an eerie opening scene, viewers see the smoldering ruins of Grand Central Terminal immediately following a terrorist attack on New York City. Among the destruction lies Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra), a young FBI recruit who has no recollection of how she got there. At a makeshift FBI headquarters nearby, she is questioned, fraught and confused about what exactly occurred. She is then asked to look at photos of her recently graduated class from Quantico, the FBI’s training center for new agents. The lead agent on duty suggests to her that one of the recently inducted agents may have been involved in the planning of the attack. In a flashback, audience members are introduced to the new agents in training — NATS — and get a peek into their lives before they entered Quantico to begin their training. Each character has a mysterious past, which lends itself to the suspense and the drama that ultimately transpires throughout the first season of the TV show “Quantico,” which premiered Sept. 27, 2015, and will end May 1.

To piece together events leading up to the attack, the show employs a technique of moving back and forth between the FBI recruits’ training at Quantico and the present, where Alex, who is a prime suspect believed to be behind the terrorist attack, is working with some of her fellow graduates from the program who believe her to be innocent. It’s a race to find the real culprit before Alex is arrested for a crime she didn’t commit or to find out if she really did.

The most exhilarating part of the show is trying to to figure out who is good and who may not have true intentions. Along the way, viewers learn about the characters’ distinct backgrounds. Among them is Shelby Wyatt (Johanna Braddy), a rich Southern belle; Ryan Booth (Jake McLaughlin), an undercover FBI agent; Simon Asher (Tate Ellington), an ex-Israeli soldier; Nimah and Raina Amin (Yasmine Al Massri), twins who were secretly brought on board to train as one person but now train alongside each other; Caleb Haas (Graham Rogers), a bad boy who has a sensitive side; and Alex, who came to Quantico to get to the bottom of her father’s past. In fact, viewers discover that all of these recruits have some interesting motive for coming to Quantico. It’s made clear early on that it is not going to be easy for the recruits. Only the most capable men and women can make it through, but the NATS are members of a bright class of young, able-bodied and impressionable individuals.

Despite their odd and suspicious histories, they seem all to have one thing in common: wanting to protect the citizens of the United States and to prevent attacks of any kind from occurring on American soil. Many of them are motivated by doing something exciting and out of their comfort zone, and also for reasons of their own. Alex’s father was an FBI agent, and she decides to follow in his footsteps to find out more about his past, and it seems she may find information that has the potential to change her perspective of him.

The show is full of suspense, drama and mystery, and each episode reveals new information that will ultimately lead to the finale episode, where the terrorist is exposed. With a consistent pace and captivating writing, the viewers’ intelligence is not taken for granted and allows them to act as amateur detectives, piecing certain bits of information along the way.

“Quantico” boasts a diverse cast, which lends an international flavor to the show while showcasing America’s melting pot. Each cast member brings something different to the table, together acting as a cohesive group, responding to each other naturally on screen.

Not everything is what it seems, and as the show progresses, secrets are revealed, which alter how viewers believe the show will end. With an ensemble cast of characters who each have their own complex agenda, the show has a thousand different ways it might have evolved, and the writers have not shied away from picking extremes. Nothing is off limits in this show, such as one scene in the pilot episode where a classroom exercise in extreme interrogation goes horribly wrong without warning.

The show follows a familiar theme — the FBI fighting domestic terrorists — but the show takes a fresh angle by introducing the NATS and giving the audience insight into the training. “Quantico” also presents as a kind of whodunit with plenty of clues to allow the viewer to play detective alongside the FBI. In fact, the viewer soon realizes that every scene or nugget of information is presented for a reason, playing its part in leading up to the season finale. And this attention to detail is complemented by a similar focus on the many layers of complexity uncovered in the development of the characters, adding to the overall theme of suspense that exists within the show.