Allegiance Premiere Plot:
Katya O’Connor (Hope Davis) and her husband Mark (Scott Cohen) are forced to choose between supporting the Russian government with their attempts to recruit their CIA analyst son, Alex O’Connor (Gavin Stenhouse), as a spy and protecting him from the family secret.
Allegiance is a complex show with lots of ambiguity. The only clear bad guys is the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), which won’t take no for an answer. As far as the SVR is concerned, Alex is theirs and it’s only a matter of time before Alex will be on their side. However, it’s clear that Alex is extremely loyal to the United States and only wants to use his knowledge of the Russian language to help his country. Prior to Victor Dobrynin’s (Morgan Spector) interference in his parents’ lives, the only connection Alex thought he had to Russia was his mother, who was born in Russia. His has no reason to help the SVR and they know it.
Alex has gone his whole life without knowing that his mother and father were Russian spies, who thought they had severed all ties to their comrades in Russia. At first that makes, Katya and Mark sympathetic characters. That is until it is revealed that Katya and Mark allowed Victor to recruit their oldest daughter, Natalie (Margarita Levieva), as soon as she turned 20. In front of her parents, Natalie acts like she resents their actions, but as soon as she’s alone with Victor it becomes clear that she’s still very much connected to Russia. Natalie only resents her parents’ protectiveness of Alex. They are willing to run away so that Alex doesn’t lose his job and can continue, but they expect her to go along with all of the SVR’s orders.
Despite not wanting Alex to be involved directly with Victor, Katya and Mark decide to spy on Alex in order to get the information the SVR wants, which crosses a major line. Once they spy on their son, they are no longer the people who realize that they made a huge mistake in their past. Now, they are actively helping a foreign government.
Alex’s family is all sorts of messed up. By the end of the pilot, he only scratches the surface. His sister manipulates people. His parents lie and because of their actions Victor actively attempts to recruit Alex for the SVR.
While Victor is a bad guy from an American perspective, he has to do what his government demands. If Victor was an American, we would be applauding his efforts to get intelligence. After all, a double agent is a useful tool.
By pairing up Allegiance with The Blacklist, NBC made its best decision in years.
Rating: 9 out of 10
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.