State of Affairs Premiere Plot:
Charleston Tucker (Katherine Heigl) has to manage her job as a CIA analyst, while having flashbacks of seeing her fiancé killed in the line of duty.
If the first episode of State of Affairs began the way it ended, I could wholeheartedly recommend the show. Unfortunately, the series starts off with a similar premise to Homeland: a female CIA agent is having trouble coping with the realities at war, but is also damn good at her job.
The biggest problem with State of Affairs is that there are too many characters to care about and no one remembers their names. Worse, no one cares to remember. Even looking up names hasn’t helped me to identify which name belongs to which body on screen. The number of characters makes the main plot a confusing mess that only makes sense if you understand world events and how the CIA works. I follow the news so closely that beheadings aren’t something I want to see in my escapist entertainment.
For most of the pilot, Charleston “Charlie” Whitney Tucker (Heigl) fights with a higher-ranking CIA agent. She wants to rescue a doctor being held hostage by terrorists. He wants to kill the terrorist that killed Tucker’s fiancé Aaron Payton, who was also in the CIA. The higher-ranking CIA agent also wants to have a man who used a cell phone to spy on the French Intelligence service meet the president because he’s convinced the guy can help. Predictably, Tucker has a hand in catching the “helper” using a cell phone to spy on the CIA.
The most interesting part of State of Affairs is that the first female black president, President Constance Payton (Alfre Woodward) doesn’t let her love for her murdered son get in the way of fighting the war. Her son also happens to be Tucker’s fiancé. There was no sign that Tucker and Payton had more than a professional relationship until the last 10 minutes, which featured a remembrance ceremony for Aaron. If State of Affairs focused more on that dynamic in the first episode, the show would feel less like NBC stab at capturing the zeitgeist of strong women in powerful positions at the CIA.
Rating: 5 out of 10
State of Affairs Airs Monday night on NBC.
Allison Lips is the Founder of Wait! What’s a Dial?, a television blog that showcases the writing of millennials. Allison graduated from Rowan University in May 2013. She has a passion for TV history, especially late night and game shows. If she could go back in time, Steve Allen would still be hosting The Tonight Show. Follow her on Twitter @waitwaitsadial.