Whiskey Cavalier

ABC has a new show, a spy-thriller wannabe called Whiskey Cavalier. I watched the first two episodes On Demand while waiting for a contractor to show up. I watched it with no expectations but it managed to disappoint me anyway.

The show follows Bill, an FBI agent, who is noted for emotional intelligence, intuition and sensitivity, and Frankie, a rough-and-tumble, come-in-hot-and-shoot-up-the-place CIA agent. Only — plot twist! –the cowboy CIA agent is a woman! Bet you didn’t see that coming. See, even the woman’s nickname –Frankie — is male. How clever!

We first meet Bill Chase (Scott Foley)while he sits brooding in his darkened Paris apartment, listening to bad 1990s break-up pop songs and wallowing in self-pity in the wake of his young French fiance Gigi breaking up with him. Soon he snaps out of it, though, and, using his emotional openness, sharpshooting abilities and general good looks he stops a villain. On his next assignment, he is supposed to bring back an NSA agent who has stolen an important list. Frankie Trowbridge (Laura Cohan) beats him to the target; Bill one-ups Frankie and recovers Standish (Tyler James Williams) the NSA agent who is more than he seems and the rest of the episode is an escalation, with each move clearly predictable.

At the end, Bill and Frankie are put in charge of a team of, um, agents? I guess? The make-up of the team is predictable, too.

The show was cliche-filled. It never tipped over into offensive, although it got pretty close with a predictably homophobic humor bit; two men trapped in close contact and one has to reach into the other’s front pants pocket, a we-have-to-do-this-but-we-don’t-like-it-because-that’d-be-gay¬†bit. Sigh. The team are all types, damned close to stereotypes. The banter is predictable. And so is every plot beat. For instance, Bill has a doofus best friend when he’s on assignment in Paris. Guess who Gigi was cheating on him with? Just guess. You will guess who the ultimate villain is very early, possibly as soon as you see them on the screen.

Two things stand out; the location, which I think is Prague or somewhere in the Czech Republic, and good use of 1990s pop music.

The show lacks the wit and intentional silliness of Castle, the cleverness of Leverage which it seems to be copying the most closely, or the snarkiness of Scorpion. I think I could reasonably predict the arc of Season One (Frankie will go rogue to kill the terrorists who murdered her parents, Bill will break protocol to follow her, the season will end on a cliffhanger.) There is no way to test this, because I doubt the show will last one full season. It’s not terrible, it’s not insulting, it’s just blah.

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