I have spoken highly of the Intelligence premise, and for good reason. The plot is simple, but full of potential. Gabriel (Josh Holloway; LOST) is an ex-Navy Seal who is selected for an extremely top-secret, and very experimental, project, in which a microchip is implanted into his brain, giving him access to “everything on the information grid”. This allows for Gabriel to access all kinds of info for things like interrogations, defusing bombs, and the like. It also allows him to use satellites, surveillance camera, and other such things to create 3D-like virtual reconstructions of crime scenes in his mind, and then walk through them. Unfortunately, the science behind how all of this works, even if you can accept the initial idea of the microchip, is fuzzy at best. Throw away one liners are used to explain how these complicated, and sometimes ridiculous, uses for the chip are possible. As for Holloway’s portrayal of Gabriel, you soon realize that you may have liked him as Sawyer on LOST not because Holloway played a great Sawyer, but because he played himself well. Gabriel turns out to just be Sawyer with a little less attitude and a few more special effects.
Teaming up with Gabriel is Riley Neal (Meghan Ory; Once Upon a Time), a Secret Service agent assigned to “protect” Gabriel. Why an ex-Seal with one of the world’s most powerful weapons in his head needs a single Secret Service agent for protection is beyond my understanding. But on the bright side, at least for the writers who I can only assume needed this loophole, it does allow for the all too common partners who, while they’ll never admit it, clearly have a thing for one another. Classic right?! Right…? I will say that Ory is one of the better actors on the show, and made Holloway a little more bearable, as the two share a huge amount of screen time together.
These two main players are part of a larger government agency dubbed the Untied States Cyber Command. USCC is headed up by Lillian Strand (Marg Helgenberger; CSI), who can’t seem to make up her mind throughout the season if she is a hard-ass government bureaucrat who sees Gabriel as a weapon, as opposed to a person, or a sympathetic boss and friend. It also doesn’t help that Helgenberger consistently delivers a performance, week after week, that is more dry than the toast I had for breakfast this morning.
Alongside Strand are Dr. Shenendoah Cassidy (John Billingsley; Star Trek: Enterprise), his son Nelson (P.J. Byrne; The Wolf of Wall Street), and Chris Jameson (Michael Rady; J. Edgar), a USCC agent. Dr. Cassidy and his son, with their very entertaining banter, are the light in the dark that is this show. It is usually funny, somehow significantly more well written than the rest of the show’s dialogue, and well delivered by Billingsley and Byrne. I have admittedly loved John Billingsley since his time on Star Trek, and it is nice to see he still has the gift of playing one seriously charming and lovable scientist. Rady also shines towards the end of the season, giving a solid performance and making his character extremely likable by the time we arrive at episode thirteen.
The issue the show really suffers from is no real reason to come back from week to week. The weekly story beats feel canned and generic, the relationships are all monotonous and predictable, save for the Cassidy’s, and the over arcing story involving a female counterpart, Mei Chen (Faye Kingslee; In Time), with a similar chip in her head in uninteresting and brings us the worst actor on the show, in Kingslee. Keep in mind that saying someone is the worst actor on this show is significant, given that the bar is unfortunately set very low.
Overall, Intelligence takes a really great idea for a show and throws it away by doing what every other hour drama on television is doing. It lacks ambition, it lacks originality, and it lacks a lot of talent. I can’t think of a reason I would recommend checking out the show unless you just really love Josh Holloway or you need an hour in your week to completely throw away. The future of the show is unsure, but if it were to be picked up for a second season, do yourself a favor and just let this one pass you by.