Well I’ve made it through three episodes of NBC’s replacement for The Blacklist — State of Affairs. The Blacklist will resume on February 1st, 2015 – so, unless we hear differently, State of Affairs is a fill-in while James Spader & Co are on hiatus.
To her credit, star Katherine Heigl has done rather well for herself with this show. She is a definite plus in a show that finds itself in sort of no womans land between Homeland and Madam Secretary. Heigl plays Charleston ‘Charlie’ Tucker – a CIA analyst who is in charge of a team that prepares the Daily Briefing Book for POTUS, or as she’s correctly referred to – President of the United States. POTUS is of course an acronym or short hand.
When President Constance Payton enters onto the Capitol Building’s Congressional floor, she’s announced as The President of The United States. But behind the scenes, and obviously out of Payton’s hearing, the Secret Service, and staffers of all the cabinets use the shorthand POTUS – far fewer syllables if you were counting.
Anyway Charlie has field experience, and obviously knows her way around a myriad of technological assets at her disposal. In the pilot episode, Dennis Boutsikaris had the role of CIA Director Skinner. But beginning in the 2nd episode, Skinner has been replaced by Raymond Navarro as the new CIA Director. Nestor Carbonell has the role.
Right from the jump, literally within a minute or so after he’s been introduced we get this:
Charlie Tucker: Looking forward to working with you, sir.
Director Navarro: You won’t be working with me, you’ll be working for me.
Okay, if you have some tension between the lead, Charlie Tucker and her new boss, Director Navarro, that’s fine. But do we have to be hit over the head with it so quickly? Later in the episode, we find out that Charlie is receiving some text messages on her phone, that lead us to believe that some one knows something about that attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, which killed the President’s son who was also Charlie’s fiance.
Okay, I think it is safe to assume that Navarro didn’t get appointed Director of the CIA from doing well in the retail sector. He’s likely been in The Company for a while. So, although through three episodes, we have no indication that he is behind these disturbing phone texts, I’m picking him as the likely person.
Especially since Syd, played by James Remar, who is Charlie’s off-the-books ground operative has not been able to connect another new character Nick Vera, (Chris McKenna) with this phone business. It seems that Nick and Charlie have a past that stretches back at least five years, when Nick was on a CIA black site, a ship in international waters, and his job was interrogations.
In a scene that seems a direct lift from Zero Dark Thirty, Charlie is repulsed by the tactics used by Nick to elicit intel from one Omar Fatah, who in the Pilot was introduced as the world’s number one terrorist. Charlie complains but Nick shuts her off and threatens worse.