Wednesday, November 16, 2005


I enjoy the military/intelligence agency shows, so I've been watching this one which is new this season. The show is interesting, but it not quite as believeable as Threat Matrix, or my favorite, The Agency. I haven't watched enough episodes of NCIS, but that one looks OK too. Of these, only NCIS is still on the air.

E-Ring's basic premise is Major Jim Tisnewski (Benjamin Bratt) spends the first half of the show convincing a Pentagon committee to sign off on a special forces mission. There is no tension if everybody agrees immediately, so he winds up brow beating, outwitting, end running around, black mailing, or arguing persuasively to get approval. Or, just does it anyway on his own. The other half of the show, the special forces are deployed to their mission.

One thing the shows gets pretty well (so I think) is the buck passing between various branches of government. Many times someone will bring up needing to go through proper channels, waiting for the Secretary of Defense to get approval from the Attorney General or President, or carefully navigating legal issues. Of course, the red tape doesn't stop the military planning - that proceeds on the assumption approval is forthcoming.

E-Ring took a major turn over the last few weeks by killing off Tisnewski's girlfriend, and adding the squad he used to command to the show (they all got recalled from Iraq). I'm not sure if this will be good or bad...

The reason I liked The Agency the best is because it seemed most realistic. None of the characters were superhuman, and the show had a half dozen or more characters that had to work together. The most important supporting characters were the artists Terri Lowell (Paige Turco) and Joshua Nanik (David Clennon). These two spent all their time making fake documents (train tickets, passports, diplomas, official seals, you name it), photoshopping pictures, and forging signatures. Many episodes revolved around the artist's work: having the correct fake passport stamps to enter/exit a country, correct throwaway documents (e.g. train ticket stubs), faked pictures to show to interviewees to convince them something happened and they should cooperate, etc. I remember one episode Lowell painstakingly created a replica of an ancient middle eastern ceramic pot and painted it so it could pass as a museum piece, all so the CIA could plant a bomb in it and deliver it as a gift to some terrorist. Another episode had them matching wallpaper for hours so they could disguise a bug, and so forth.

No comments: