TV Recap: TNT’s Legends, Series Premiere

Written by David Oliver

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Going into this show, I was expecting a guns-a-blazing summer thriller to keep on as background noise. Little did I know what I was in for.

The Sean Bean-starring action drama finds him as Martin Odum, the titular character – playing “legends,” or different people, as he goes undercover for the FBI. Similar to Carrie from Homeland, however, the character is troubled. His boss Crystal (Ali Larter) says, “He’s got some kind of personality disorder.”

Photo Credit: Marco Grob
Photo Credit: Marco Grob

The main plot in the pilot is about the Citizens Army of Virginia, where the show introduces Bean as Lincoln Dittman, a follower of the group. He defends himself in front of the leaders, who toy with him before telling him the “founding father” of the organization wants to meet with him. The FBI almost blows his cover when they raid the place for weapons.

Bean’s acting is mesmerizing – he switches from a fumbling, stuttering American accent as Lincoln to a poised British accent as Martin in seconds.

Martin’s family life is classic to any character in this line of work. He hasn’t seen his son in six months, and his estranged wife (Amber Valletta, Revenge) delivers an annoying cliche. “You can’t just pop up after months of being gone and expect everything to be the same.”

Meanwhile, we later learn Martin and Crystal once had sex, another similar situation to the start of Homeland. The FBI team also includes Maggie Harris (Tina Majorino, Grey’s Anatomy), who acts like a Scandal gladiator digging up information to keep up with Martin’s legend cover, as well as Bobby, who [SPOILER] doesn’t make it past the pilot.

Eerily enough, Martin switches into Lincoln’s voice when describing his story without even noticing.

Photo Credit: Marco Grob
Photo Credit: Marco Grob

To add more complications, there’s a man in a trench coat following Martin around (Morris Chestnut, Nurse Jackie). “I tried to help you. You don’t know where your life begins and your legend ends…there is no Martin Odum.” BAM. That’s a layered twist I admit I didn’t see coming.

Martin asks for Bobby’s help in discovering who this man is, but as Bobby is just about to uncover intel, someone comes at him from behind and Martin later finds him dead, his Wii cardio-like exercise still playing on the TV.

The founding father mission takes Lincoln and members of the Citizens Army to a strip club, where Crystal acts as a stripper to keep Martin in the loop. Bean and Larter’s chemistry is well apparent – thanks, TNT.

The founding father (Zeljko Ivanek) kills one of Martin’s men who helped him during his undercover work. The FBI storms in later, saving the day.

Later, when Martin finally catches up to Mr. Trenchcoat, it’s too late – someone stabbed him!

“I want to know what the hell’s going on,” Martin says. “You were never supposed to remember,” Mr. Trenchcoat says, handing him a book with the “answers.” For a second I thought the book was A Game of Thrones and got excited.

It’s like Homeland meets Scandal meets 24, but I’m not complaining. With a little less cheesy dialogue and more character development, this show could be a critical hit in addition to a strong anchor series for TNT.

Legends airs Wednesday nights on TNT.

Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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