TV RECAP: NBC’s New Crime Drama, ‘The Enemy Within’, Episode 1

It's like trying to cram a whole semester of AP Political Science the night before the final exam.

The Enemy Within © 2018 NBCUniversal Media, LLC Credit Will Hart/NBC

Well, NBC’s new crime drama, The Enemy Within, premiered last night on NBC at 10/9c. It’s a little grim for my taste. I’m still trying to process the first five minutes! I get that they’re trying to be different but it’s too much. Less is more.

Morris Chestnut plays Will Keaton, an FBI Supervising Agent who’s leading an ongoing case. His task is to find a Russian rogue spy named Tal, who keeps finding ways to infiltrate the American government. Unfortunately, in Keaton’s mind, the CIA forces him to team up with Erica Shepard (Jennifer Carpenter), an ex-CIA Operative, who’s been sitting in a Supermax prison for three years for espionage and aiding the murder of four other operatives. One of the four was Keaton’s fiancé, so it’s pretty obvious why he objects to her all across the board, but he’s too emotional. At times I felt like he had serious PMS. His emotions overpowered everything he did!


Ripple Effect

In the opening of the pilot, Keaton takes Shepard into custody. Then the show skips over three years. In the present day, secret spies murder three government officials. A black SUV interrupts Keaton from jogging and FBI Special Agent Daniel Zain (Raza Jeffery), jumps out. Zain explains the occurrence and Keaton knows instantly who it was.

Moreover, the seriousness of the show was unbearable. It seemed as though each character had the same monotone attitude, which makes Keaton stick out like a sore thumb. If it weren’t for the fancy name descriptions it would be hard to determine who is who during his meeting with the Deputy of National Intelligence Elizabeth Cordova, and the Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Richard Bergman (John Finn). After the big wigs tell Keaton he’s not trying hard enough, Bergman drops another bomb on Keaton’s pride. That’s why we meet Shepard again but in the supermax prison. She’s kind of freakish because her blank facial expressions make her come off as not all the way there mentally.

What’s In It For Me?

They banter back and forth about the past because Keaton is still grieving about his fiancee. Keaton doesn’t trust Shepard and he wants nothing to do with her. Shepard finally agrees to help the FBI/CIA find Tal. Right after, her subclavian artery has a tracking device attached to it. I did some Google searching for this and it’s near the heart. Before I move on, I want to say that I wasn’t convinced with the extra concessions Keaton offered Shepard for her participation. Besides being transferred to a federal detention center, all they could come up with was an extra hour of music per day? So, how is that going to help her NOT think about being locked down for life???

I did like that they humanized Shepard by making her a parent which I think is her motive for helping Keaton take down the spy. I also believe she just wants redemption. Shepard is very brilliant when she helps them discover the ripped cellphone records and location cutouts. It lets me know that she’s well aware of what’s going on. I just can’t take those blank expressions and sudden impulses. When she broke her tooth with the food tray, I thought, she’s crazy. Shepard is supposed to be an intelligent, highly skilled, clever woman but it the disguise felt like a rookie move.

Will Hart/NBC

More Please

The dialogue is right on the nose. I could pretty much pinpoint exactly what would happen next. If you listened closely, the dialogue gives it away. The suspense wasn’t suspenseful. After they finally got to the “surprising plot twist”, I was like, yeah I saw that coming. Shepard did say to look for someone on the inside. Was the car chase really necessary?

As far as possible love interests, right away Shepard sensed that Kate Ryan (Kelli Garner), FBI Cyber Division Special Agent, had a thing for Keaton. For me personally, I wish there was a black woman on the team and/or as his potential love interest. I’ve seen too many high powered African American characters involved in interracial relationships and I would like to see an African American couple in this genre. Since he’s the “star” – or even if he was a secondary character – that doesn’t sit well with me.

I will say the overall look of the show is clean. The shot selection isn’t something to gush about. The Enemy Within is for audiences who like to fully immerse themselves in the plot. Maybe with two or three more episodes, the story line will be more interesting — as for now, it feels like another cop show. Lastly, I think one of the main characters – or all of them – could be a spy, too. I call Bergman for starters because he clearly wants a way out!

I want to know your thoughts. Is this worth watching?

The Enemy Within airs Mondays on NBC at 10/9c.

1 Comment

  1. A lot of hyperbole in all directions, but I was entertained. The show had a bit of “24” feel. I wish the soundtrack was cleaner when the dialogue was critical. Like when Erica was explaining why she became a traitor. I stopped watching “Revenge” because of whispery soundtrack and overdubbing of cloying music.
    I have, along with millions of others, a bit of low frequency hearing loss, and the producers should realize that they are limiting the audience with whisper dialog.
    I will definitely watch the next episode. So will my wife, we both enjoyed it.

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