Pilot Perception: Intelligence

Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.

The Show: Intelligence, CBS in the U.S. and CTV in Canada, Mondays at 10/9c

The Pedigree: The show was created by Michael Seitzman (Empire State), very loosely based on the upcoming novel Phoenix Island by John Dixon. He wrote the pilot, which was directed by David Semel (Hannibal, Homeland, Person of Interest, many other shows). Executive producers include Seitzman, Rene Echevarria (Teen Wolf, Castle), and Tripp Vinson (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters).

The Cast & How You Know Them: Intelligence stars Josh Holloway (Lost), Marg Helgenberger (CSI), Meghan Ory (Once Upon a Time), John Billingsley (Enterprise), P.J. Byrne (The Game), and Michael Rady (The Mentalist).

The Premise: This thriller is about an intelligence operative named Gabriel who has a microchip implanted in his brain that gives him access to basically all data in existence. The show is about Gabriel, his personal demons, and the people who protect him (especially a young, female Secret Service agent) and try to use him as a weapon against the enemies of the United States.

A Taste:

What Works: The premise is interesting (if not original) and immediately brings up a whole host of issues that the show can explore. I really enjoyed the way they depicted how the computer works in Gabriel’s brain. Enough interesting bits of backstory were mentioned to make me want to learn more about the characters. And the cast is decent: The leads have good chemistry and John Billingsley is always a delight.

What Doesn’t: The main challenge with a show like this is to make sure the lead has believable weaknesses even though he knows literally everything, all the time. While the pilot presents a lot of interesting ideas and dynamics, the episode itself was not as interesting as I’d hoped. It felt weirdly flat, like something that worked on paper but hadn’t quite come together as a show yet. I’ll try at least one more episode to see if they manage to start fulfilling their potential. (I’m also a little unclear on what the plan was with putting the chip in Gabriel in the first place, and why they chose him if they basically didn’t trust him to follow the rules, but I’ll try to let that go and just accept it as the premise of the show if necessary.)

Our Favorite Line: “Don’t worry, he can’t print.”

You Might Like This if you like Chuck or futuristic procedurals like Almost Human.

If You’re Interested: CBS is rerunning the pilot on Friday at 8/7c, or check their site or On Demand. Then tune in to episode two on Monday at 10/9c.

(Photo courtesy of CBS.)

2 thoughts on “Pilot Perception: Intelligence

  1. I missed the pilot both times. Do you know if/when CBS will be showing the pilot again? I have all the other episodes on my DVR but have not watched them because I missed the pilot. Thank you for your help!
    Jon Thelen

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