NBC’s “Blindspot” is the latest entry into the quickly expanding procedural mystery genre. Like "Minority Report," "Limitless" and the many other shows that already exist, it hopes to lure us in with a weekly mystery and keep us coming back with a bigger mystery arc throughout the season.
Jaimie Alexander stars as Jane Doe, a woman discovered naked in a bag in Times Square. She’s covered in tattoos and has no memory of who she is or why she was human luggage.
Sullivan Stapleton is the gritty, FBI agent Kurt Weller who’s assigned to the case after his name, Kurt Weller, is found tattooed on Jane’s back. Fortunately we’re reminded that FBI agent Kurt Weller’s name was tattooed on Jane’s back, and that agent Kurt Weller is there because of the agent Kurt Weller tattoo several times. Kurt Weller.
After the initial set up, "Blindspot" does everything it possibly can to craft an interesting mystery without offending the audience with suspense.
Why does Jane have amnesia? She was drugged. Not only are we immediately told that, but we’re told it might be permanent memory loss, unless it’s not. (SPOILER: it’s not). In fact, the memory she conveniently regains, coupled along with a flashback at the end of the episode reveal way too much, too soon, about what might be going on.
The point of a mystery is to make the audience ask questions, to watch them squirm as they try to figure out the answers.
You introduce concepts. A mysterious man is watching. A doctor kills the bad guy. You don’t tell us they’re the same guy, and that that guy wiped Jane’s memory with her blessing in one episode. That’s three episodes worth of information in one episode.
Another example, later in the episode, we’re told Jane has a mysterious tattoo that has been covered up. Now, we’re talking. That’s something we can keep in the back of our mind … nope. It’s a Navy SEALs tattoo. And we’re told she must be Special Forces right before Jane has a Jason Bourne moment and realizes she can beat people up.
We didn’t need an explanation for her fighting skills so soon. Now in subsequent episodes when Jane can magically do whatever weird thing the plot needs done like, and I’m speculating here, flying a plane or hacking a computer, we won’t even question it. We’ll just assume she was trained to do it.
Why do I keep thinking of NBC’s “Chuck?”
Alexander delivers a solid performance considering she doesn’t have much of a character to play yet, but Stapleton’s Agent Kurt Weller is rough to watch. He was too intense throughout every scene and his face didn’t know what to do. It was like he was acting in a parody.
Wait. IS “Blindspot” a parody? That would make a lot of sense.
The culmination of the plot was an attempt to blow up the Statue of Liberty… an empty Statue of Liberty. The highly-skilled FBI agent Kurt Weller is overpowered by a nobody, and then agent Kurt Weller tells the amnesiac Jane to take the shot despite knowing that the man holding him hostage has a large explosive device in his backpack.
Clearly this is a parody of procedural shows. Genius!