TNT rolls out its brand new undercover series called Legends later tonight. Starring Sean Bean as a deep cover undercover operative for the FBI, the series has a strong production team behind it. Howard Gordon of Homeland and the X-Files is on board, as is Brad Turner of 24 and Hawaii Five-0. That looks like an impressive lineage.
As the pilot episode begins, Bean as Martin Odum has been deep undercover with a right-wing militia group called the Citizens Army of Virginia. His cover ID is Lincoln Dittmann, a disillusioned construction worker who has lost his family and his job due to the recession which he blames on the US Government. He’s itching for payback/revenge in the form of action and starts to agitate to do something more important than deliveries and maintenance. But before he can be admitted to the covert action wing, he must undergo more vetting and be granted approval by the founding father.
The local head roughs him up a bit, and plays with his head to see if he’ll break under pressure. He doesn’t, but just then, this outpost is raided by the ATF.
Odum/Dittman and another guy get busted (for show) by the ATF. Next thing you know we are back in the San Fernando Valley in California. Odum is called in by his handler Crystal (Ali Larter) and she reports to Yates of the CIA who is played by Steve Harris. While at HQ in LA, we meet the rest of the crew, Odum gets a call which he takes as Dittman and is told to report to Chicago for an assignment, and he will finally meet the ‘founding father’.
So inside of the first 15 minutes, we’ve gone from Virginia to California to Chicago. The CAV is going to blow up a meeting of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) which would place all of the world’s leading bankers in one place. That sounds ominous and that’s your set up.
I like Sean Bean. I think he carries plenty of menace when’s he’s supposed to be bad (Patriot Games) and plenty of rough-hewn charisma when he’s supposed to be good like when he played Boromir in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and Ned Stark in Games of Thrones. Here he has the role of a smart and tough operative who needs a new cover and back story for each assignment that he takes. Which brings us to a problem. A mysterious stranger asks Odum, Who are you? Which means, Who do you think you are?
It may be that Odum has changed identities so many times that he may not be who he thinks he is. So says the mysterious stranger. This adds a Bourne-esque quality to Odum. Which means that aside from the action, chases, explosions, and gun-fire, there’s a mystery bubbling beneath the surface.
The series will have a plenty of state-of-the-art electronic surveillance and communications bells and whistles. So much so that Odum changes the orders for the backup swat team to be five minutes out rather than the original two minutes out. So we are led to believe that Bean’s Odum is an undercover who can think on his feet, as well as walk and chew gum at the same time.
I don’t think he’ll be restricted to just outsmarting folks, but that’s all they gave us in the pilot. One thing for certain is that he won’t be riding a horse or clanging broadswords with his opponents. With the supporting cast of Larter, Harris, and upcoming are Morris Chestnut and Tina Majorino, the series has a chance to be entertaining and exciting.
By the way, the term ‘Legends’ refers to the back story which has to be created along with ample records on file for each case Odum takes on. The understanding is that Odum will be dealing with serious and well equipped bad guys who will have the means of tracing Odum’s cover stories or ‘legends’. Adapted from the 2005 Robert Littell novel Legends, the show will air on Wednesdays at 9:00 PM on TNT.
As a voice in the trailer asks, Do you know where your life begins and the legend ends? Have a look –