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FBI - Cops and Robbers - Review - Kristen, Can You Zoom

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Something occurred to me watching this episode. FBI hasn’t fully decided who it wants its characters to be. This is why there’s such an immense hesitation to explore any facet of their lives or personalities that doesn’t immediately relate to the case at hand. Each episode is also careful to avoid almost all references to previous revealed character insights. “Cops and Robbers” ends with OA showing up at Maggie’s place to accept her offer to talk about his trauma. This should mean something for where their partnership and friendship is going. But will it? To be determined in future episodes.

The case of the week is an armored truck robbery. The perpetrators were posing as plainclothes policemen arresting a drunk driver. They pistol whip the armored truck guards and make off with a couple million. At the Bureau, everyone is super excited to work a case that doesn’t involve murder, terrorism, or endangered children. Everyone equals Jubal here but still. He’s still trapped walking circles in the are-we-calling-it-a-squad-room(?). But he chews down on his pencil with vigor. (Jubal’s Pencil has its own Twitter handle now, which says something about this show.) Maggie and OA proceed to question a series of people who obviously have Something To Hide™. First there’s the smug architect who assures them his car couldn’t have been used in the robbery.
“I obviously have nothing to do with that.”
He had tickets to Dear Evan Hansen that night! (Bonus points for referencing something on Broadway that is not Hamilton.) But he clams up real quick when they ask if someone else could have had access. Turns out his brother Nick Salerno once served time for armed robbery and also worked for the armored truck company briefly. They question one of his coworkers named Jason, a former Army Ranger, who doesn’t see how Nick could have been involved. Sure he wasn’t reliable and stole a few things from around the office, but he had no access to the armored truck routes.
DNA off one of the pistol whipped guards indicates otherwise. Nick is promptly discovered dead. Shortly afterwards, there is a second armored truck robbery, only this time explosives were used. And one guard was shot. Maggie and OA reach the scene third or fourth (the place was basically crawling with paramedics and other FBI agents.) OA realizes there’s a second bomb, and everyone takes cover from the eensy explosion. A bomb squad team members alerts them that the bomb was basically an IED. Now call me an armchair detective, but I immediately knew the Army Ranger was responsible...because, well, that’s usually the case in these shows. They do catch him on security footage with the other three robbers. Thank goodness Kristen is there to press the Zoom button, or they would never catch anyone!!!
Thanks to Kristen’s ability to navigate basic computer functions, OA and Maggie bring Jason in for questioning. He is reticent at first, but OA tries to bond with him over what they have in common: horrible, terrible things they saw while serving in the military. This scene is very strong in terms of Zeeko Zaki’s performance, which has basically been carrying the show up to this point. He recounts a time that his division was led into an ambush in a bombed out building.
“The door was green, but there were red streaks underneath like it had been painted over. It’s funny what you remember.” He goes on to tell how a simple difference in direction saved his life. “They went left, and I went right.” After hearing gunfire, OA had turned back, but he was too late to help anyone.
“I look back right as Vega turns around, but his head--It wasn’t there anymore.”
Zaki’s delivery of that particular line is full of sincerity, a sort of casual wonder and horror at the memory. Right before watching this, I took an Uber ride. The driver was a veteran. He served four years in the Marine Corps. I talked with him a bit about his experiences over there, and I was struck watching this episode about how similar his demeanor and tone was to what Zaki uses in this scene.

Mosier worries right away that OA is projecting his own trauma onto Jason, seeing this man as a reflection of himself. Even though he tells Maggie he made the whole story up, Mosier informs Maggie that’s not the case. It seems like that’s something Maggie should have figured out on her own. But again the show has this odd propensity to act like each episode starts in the same place. Nothing changes. Nothing is being built.
There are few surprises in what happens next, though it moves at a good pace. Jason lures them into a trap that he somehow very quickly arranged with his pals. They are briefly trapped in a room rigged with a bomb that OA is able to quickly disarm. The robbers flee on foot and are quickly caught. OA comes face to face with Jason who tries to commit suicide-by-cop. He sobs out that he was a prisoner of war for three months, a detail that explains his earlier remark that his country failed him. OA can’t bring himself to shoot him, not even in forced self-defense. But Maggie shows up in the nick of time to make the shot instead. We learn that Jason will most likely survive, so his nightmare will continue.

A fairly standard FBI episode. It flirted with deeper themes and issues, while opening a small window into a character’s psychology. There was a little action, enough to keep it watchable. But without Zeeko Zaki’s empathetic snapshot of OA’s past, it would have been utterly forgettable.

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