ABC's new drama happens to be one of the few new network dramas with any real juice to it

By Tom Gliatto
Updated September 27, 2015 03:30 PM

Quantico has been described, with considerable accuracy, as a hybrid of Homeland and Grey’s Anatomy.

It sounds trite, but who’s to say that Quantico, which happens to be one of the few new network dramas with any real juice to it, isn’t as sound way a way as any to keep TV audiences mindful of the terrorist threat? There’s no reason native soil can’t be protected by a young, diverse cast who share a quality very familiar from other ABC hits: erotic zest, plus a tendency to knit the brow ever so slightly in concentration, as if confronting a major professional challenge for the first time or being frustrated because a phone text keeps getting bounced back.

But Quantico works.

The pilot, at least, is well worth checking out. The story isn’t always plausible – there’s one twist that would blow away every brainstorm that ever disrupted Carrie Mathison‘s peace of mind – but it’s complicated, clever and fast enough that you start to wonder if even the most incidental detail may actually have significance in the season.

For instance, in the first few minutes a beautiful young woman gets into a taxi in front of her home. Cab driver: “Train station?” Beautiful young woman: “No, airport.”

This may merely be pointless, even stupid dialogue, but is there some reason we should question whether she’s taken a lot of train rides? Does she like Amtrak? Has she ever disguised herself as a Red Cap to subversive ends?

Any and all clues may be relevant: We learn in a flashforward that Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra) – who’s going to the airport to catch a flight to Quantico, Virginia, and join the FBI academy – will be the chief suspect in a terrorist explosion that detonates the area around Manhattan’s Grand Central Station during the Democratic Convention.

It’s much too soon, though, to rule out any of her classmates: Despite thorough background checks, they’ve all arrived with secrets, muddied motives and chips so large that some of them are practically missing a shoulder. And what about the academy’s administrators (including Cougar Town‘s Josh Hopkins)? It isn’t clear that their colossal egos allow any mental pathways for the processing of intelligence.

So: A fun show.

Quantico premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.