The Runway – Your 2016 Pilot Survival Guide: FOX Dramas

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recon

Recon

Logline: About a rookie FBI agent who embeds herself in a suspected terrorist family.
Cast: , , ,
Creators: Caroline Dries (Writer / EP), (EP), (EP)
Studios: Warner Bros. TV, Outerbanks Entertainment

Alexa is an intelligence analyst working at the FBI, charged with surveilling the successful, seemingly normal, Mazari family. When she learns her targets might be terrorists planning an attack in 40 days, the FBI sends her undercover into the family as an assistant.

Recon is a satisfying thriller in the vein of Homeland. There’s a lot that works in this pilot. A series engine powered by strong dramatic irony (Alexa installed in the Mazari home), a ticking clock (a devastating terrorist attack in less than 40 days), and high stakes. A consistent tone.

As a protagonist, Alexa is engaging and active enough. Her handler Freddie gets the typical handler treatment (supportive, smart, a hint of romance). Where Recon really wins is in its nuanced portrayal of the suspected terrorists. They’re far from one-note bad guys.

If there’s one thing that’s working against Recon, it’s 24: Legacy. Both shows are serialized two-handers about preventing Muslim-led terrorist attacks on American soil. I find it difficult to imagine a Fox primetime lineup with both these shows, especially considering how good 24 is.

And that’s a bummer. I quite liked Recon and its old-fashioned take on surveillance. The Lives of Others and The Conversation come to mind, as well as their maladjusted protagonists. And oddly enough, Miss Congeniality but in the world of terrorism. It’s like if Sandra Bullock were working for the FBI and went undercover in a family of suspected terrorists rather than a pageant.

Maybe another network or another year?

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