New NBC Series – Blindspot

Talk about great openings for a series.

Times Square, New York. Night time but the place is filled with people. A cop on the beat notices a duffel bag on the pavement. It is on one of those small concrete islands that are dividing Seventh Avenue and Broadway in Midtown. The cop notices a tag on the bag.

Call the FBI.

Cut to an NYPD Bomb Squad guy. The entire Times Square has been cleared of people and all traffic has been routed away. It’s just the Bomb Squad guy and the duffel bag.

He approaches the bag and he tells what is happening via a radio connection in his protective suit. As he reaches toward the bag – it moves.

Slowly it is being unzipped from the inside. A woman is inside the bag. She is naked and tattooed from the neck down. The cop tells her, Get down on your knees and put your hands on your head…

Cut to someplace in rural Kentucky. The FBI is about to enter a home where women are being held, not as hostages, but as prisoners. Three women, and a baby. When the guy holding these women prisoners steps out of the room and is standing above the FBI agents on the second floor. They blow the floor out from under him, and he crashes to the ground floor.

Mission accomplished.

As the women are being carried out of the house, an FBI helicopter arrives. Special Agent Weller, there’s a situation in Times Square New York. You’re needed there immediately.

He boards the copter and is whisked away. Later, at the FBI headquarters in NY, we learn that this Jane Doe – the duffel bag lady – has an experimental drug in her body, which when used sparingly in cases involving PTSD, can be helpful to get those bad memories erased.

Only she doesn’t have traces of the drug – her whole system has been flooded with it. She has near total amnesia and remembers nothing from before climbing out of the duffel bag.

The FBI Special Agent is asked, Do you know this woman?

He says he doesn’t know her and what’s more, he’s never seen this woman in his life. The local supervisor raps on the door. Inside the room, they help the woman to her feet, and turn her around so her back is to the viewing window. They undo her hospital gown at the back.

The tattoo reads Kurt Weller FBI.

He’s asked – So why is your name tattooed on her back?

So begins the new series NBC called Blindspot. What looms ahead are a number of questions:

1) Who is this woman?
2) Why has she been tattooed and then earmarked for the FBI?
3) What do the tattoos mean?

The leads are Jaime Alexander as the Jane Doe character, and Sullivan Stapleton as FBI Agent Kurt Weller. While each is attractive and gives a solid performance, there’s nothing outstanding about either of them performance wise. It is easy to say that Jane Doe has the more challenging role as she has to show fear, worry, and must bear the internal stress of being an unknown person. Not just to the FBI but to herself as well.

BLINDSPOT Trailer NBC Official Series [HD]_20150922224956_0

Weller has a six day beard kind of scruffiness to him but he is a veteran of law enforcement and is right up to date in all the latest technologies available to him. Has he been targeted? He sets the team in motion reviewing all of his case files to see who may bear a grudge or who that he sent to jail has been released from jail recently.

Doe is poked and prodded, scanned, x-rayed, and MRI-ed. We will come to learn that she has some abilities that she didn’t know she had. Like she is able to translate a series of Chinese characters that were thrown up on a screen for viewing. These characters came from a tattoo about a half-inch in length that was tattooed on the back of her ear.

That’s an address and a date she tells them. The date is today.

Of course this is help ful as the villain this week is Chinese. Jane Doe also speaks Chinese, so of course she insists on joining the raid to the address. Where Chinese speakers are found. Why not – they were in Chinatown in lower Manhattan.

That’s about as far as I can take you with edging into spoiler territory. To this reviewer the series appears to have elements of both the Bourne films as well as The Blacklist. Which isn’t at all a bad thing.

What they will need to do keep the viewers attracted is to not give up too much information about Jane Doe too quickly, and they will need to have the tattoo clues lead to interesting cases and situations. From the jump the lack of star power may come back to bite this series, and I think they need some better work from the directorial side of things.

First of all – despite the fact that Jaime Alexander has delicious green eyes – I think they had too many closeups. And too many of those were at some side angles with a small portion of the other person’s head at the side of the frames. Second, I think they went to the well too many times with Doe curling herself up in a ball because she has no idea about anything. Second – while the show has some nice bits of tension, the action is kind of weak.

Yet, lest they have to return again and again to  Jane Doe feeling bad about things, we can rest assured that the show will start feeding some memories back into her head, triggered by some events in the present. I’m calling it an intriguing premise built around a terrific opening hook.

I will commit to at least a few more episodes.

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7 thoughts on “New NBC Series – Blindspot

    • Thanks for the comment Rebecca. I’m unfamiliar with Sullivan. He fits the role, and looks good.
      I’d like to see the show stick too, but I am thinking it will lapse into a clue-of-the-week/villain-of-the-week format. An unavoidable happenstance.
      What I also hope that they avoid is that Jane Doe doe not have to save the FBI Agent’s tail each week.

  1. Michael: I watched three pilots this week, Minority Report, Blindspot, and Limitless. Although I didn’t fall in love with any of them, I thought Blindspot was the best of the lot. But unlike you, I liked the premise (Who is Jane Doe?) more than the opening hook (Body Bag), which seemed so much like a TV show teaser, I could not take it seriously. Jason Bourne washing up on a remote seacoast with amnesia was much more believable than Jane Doe emerging nude from a bag in Times Square. But, I’m interested in her story despite the over-the-top introduction. And I like the idea that the clues to her identity are really in her blindspot, on her back, behind her ear, etc. And I worry that moving from one tattoo to another each week will start to feel repetitive. Hopefully, one of Jane’s tattoos will be interesting enough to support a long arc story. FD For my money, the Mr. Robot pilot was even better than Blindspot.

    • Thanks for the comments –

      I am thankful that you made the connection of the ‘blindspot’ for me. Tattoos in the unseeable places on her body. Great thinking.
      Whether the body bag was believable or not isn’t important to me. Bourne did not wash up on a remote sea coast – he was taken out of the sea by a fishing trawler.
      I agree that the tattoo/clue per week will be repetitive – like what we get on most network TV crime stories. Case of the week is as old as the hills. The bright spot is that the tattoo clue
      will help solve/prevent a crime – but will also help Jane Doe regain some memories.

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