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FBI - Pilot - Advanced Preview - The Start of Something Really Good

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Every once in a while, a TV show comes along that is called a sure thing. FBI has one of TV's most successful names backing it, and a captivating roster of talent in front of the camera. It could get away with being mediocre. But the pilot overflows with promise that this won't be the case.

A common remark made about almost any crime procedural is that the outcome can be too predictable. This observation is rooted in expectation that these shows are meant to be thrillers, focused more on mystery than problem-solving. No one who has watched TV before will find many surprises in the terror-centered case the pilot orbits around. I would argue though that no one gets addicted to this genre for the weekly outcomes. The appeal is watching the characters interact and collaborate to put the puzzle together. FBI delivers the goods here. Even though the suspenseful pilot is fascinating enough to watch, with a strong enough screenplay and beautiful direction by Niels Arden Oplev, what will bring viewers back for many more episodes is the people.

Missy Peregrym is Special Agent Maggie Bell. The lead agent assigned to work the terrorist case, Bell is dedicated to doing everything she can to close the case. It is immensely refreshing that she's not portrayed as either extremely "by the books" or rebelliously maverick. She just puts in the effort to get the job done. There is tragedy in her past, but it's not her defining motivation or characteristic. It's something that happened to her, something that could have happened to anyone. Peregrym brings a thoughtful passion to her performance that mesmerizes.

The other lead agent is played by Zeeko Zaki, someone audiences may not be as familiar with as Peregrym. He stars as Special Agent Omar Adom Zidan or "OA", the nickname everyone calls him by. "OA" is newer to the New York Bureau than Bell and has done undercover work in the past. The pilot is clumsy in some of the ways it addresses various aspects of racism and prejudice, but one of the strongest moments involves someone's comments to Zidan and how he handles the interaction. Zeeko Zaki has a keen intensity which serves his character well. You can feel Zidan's fiery integrity.

Viewers will have two great characters to root for right away, as Bell and Zidan's partnership (and possible friendship) is just getting started. The team also includes Jeremy Sisto's Special Agent Jubal Valentine and Ebonée Noel's analyst Kristen Chazal. There are really no weak links in this ensemble right now. FBI sets out to establish its own identity, bringing an emotional and physical grittiness that is missing from most older procedural shows  right now. It is just the beginning of this series, but if this exciting pilot is any indication, this is just the start of something really good.

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