Television: Intelligence, "Secrets of the Secret Service"

So a couple of American "journalists" get captured in Syria and are accused of being spies. We know right off the bat that they probably aren't journalists. How? Well, for one thing, it won't take a whole hour for Gabriel to break them free, so there has to be more to the story. For another, the way the woman (Emily) behaves suggests there's something else going on. (The poor guy cast as the male journalist doesn't even get any lines; he just hangs there, and later just lies there, and then we find out he dies. Geez, why even have him? But I guess a credit is a credit.)

A former president—the one to sign off on Project Clockwork, in fact—goes to Syria Clinton-style to negotiate for the journalists' release. But the real plan is to have Gabriel, and by extension Riley, break the journalists out. Gabriel and Riley are attached to the FP's (can't remember his name) Secret Service detail. Riley is right at home, since this was what she used to do. And of course Gabriel is amused at seeing Riley interact with old friends/flames . . .

It strikes me that Josh Holloway is pretty much doing his Sawyer thing, only less heavily. Gabriel is Sawyer Lite. That's not a criticism. This isn't a bad thing. In fact, I find Gabriel far more tolerable than I ever did Sawyer. And so his needling of Riley is more fun than the way he used to needle Kate.

Anyway, of course Gabriel gets into where the journalists are being held, only to be told by Emily that they are actually CIA and unless Gabriel rescues their target—an American scientist who has something to do with missile guidance systems—they (the journalists) will not go with Gabriel. The logic being that if the CIA agents break out, the scientist will be moved and they'll lose track of her. Emily tells Gabriel where to find this scientist, and that it's a woman, but that's all they know.

Except, of course, Gabriel knows everything. So he's able to figure out who the scientist is, and they find her at a marketplace and are all set to take her home to America when we go the Not Without My Daughter route and have to stop to pick the little girl up from school.

So they have the scientist, they have her daughter, they're headed back to the FP's plane, and the FP and his retinue meet them there. Done?

Nope, Gabriel insists on going back for the CIA peeps. And here is where we get a little bit of a shoot out and discover the male agent has died. But Gabriel and Friends rescue Emily at least and get her on the plane.

And then HQ (Lillian & the Cassidys . . . sounds like a band . . .) discover Emily's mission was not to extract the American scientist but to kill her. So Gabriel and Riley and that other Secret Service guy that Riley used to work with must stop Emily mid-air. Really? Did they just need to fill the hour? Or is this some kind of commentary about how we are sometimes our own enemy, killing our own, etc.

B and C plots for the episode include the aforementioned Gabriel working out the relationship between Riley and that other Secret Service guy (something to do with Panama, but I wasn't paying that close attention) and Lillian continuing to struggle against bureaucracy. The episode ends with Lillian and Clockwork being put under closer scrutiny because the current president is concerned Gabriel might, you know, start thinking for himself and making decisions instead of just doing what he's told.

It's a shame this show is likely to be cancelled; it's actually pretty good by network standards. I think the 10:00 timeslot works against them a bit because (for me at least) I have to make a conscious decision as to whether I'm willing to stay up late and watch or if I'll just save it for later. So far, I've stayed up to watch Intelligence. But really, it's not a show I feel I have to see when it airs. It'll keep.

Shows should have short shelf lives. They should be the kind of thing that won't keep. That's hard to do these days, what with DVRs and all.

As for me, a lot of the shows I watch because they're on and I'm home. Appointment viewing? True Detective . . . And I try not to miss Elementary. Broadchurch when it was on was definitely appointment viewing for me, and Game of Thrones . . . And I look forward to Community every week, though I wouldn't cry if I had to postpone viewing. Those are the majors. What does that tell us? Well, mostly that a compelling through story is the key to getting people to come back, day of, and watch. They can't wait to see what happens next. And they don't want it to be spoiled for them online, so they have to watch NOW to be part of the conversation. Take that as a guide, television writers and producers. Every time you end a story line, be sure to have a new one going. Never completely satisfy them. Always leave 'em wanting more.

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