Unfortunately, rarely a day goes by without a news report of a child’s disappearing or being kidnapped. Usually such incidents involve just one or two children at a time, but a riveting new television drama has raised the level of the subject to horrifying heights.
“Crisis,” which made its debut on NBC at 10 p.m. on Sunday, March 16, is set in Washington, D.C., and as the first show in the series begins, students at the prestigious Ballard High School are preparing for a field trip. Now keep in mind that these aren’t your run-of-the-mill students. Their parents are wealthy politicians, diplomats, and business magnates, and one boy’s father just happens to be the president of the United States.
Shortly after the bus has departed from the school grounds, a group of armed men hijack it and kidnap the students. During the confusion a precocious boy named Anton Roth (Joshua Ehrenberg) manages to escape with Marcus Finley (Lance Gross), one of he Secret Service agents assigned to protect the bus.
The rest of the victims are taken to a building where they apparently are going to be held until we find out whatever demands the kidnappers plan to make. In addition to Anton and the president’s son, the captives include a stereotypical blonde beauty named Amber Fitch (Halston Sage), whom all the other girls probably loathe. There’s also the bitter and rebellious Beth Ann Gibson (Stevie Lynn Jones), who is the product of a broken home and whose estranged father, Francis (Dermot Mulroney), turns out to be one of he chaperones, much to Beth Ann’s displeasure.
As the plot continues to unfold, we meet several of the characters who obviously will play key roles in series. Among these are Susie Dunn (Rachael Taylor) and Meg Fitch (Gillian Anderson). Susie is a special agent for the FBI and one of those in charge the investigation, and Meg is the CEO of a multinational IT conglomerate. Now what is interesting about these two is that they’re sisters, but they haven’t spoken in years, and also Meg is Amber’s mother. The tense situation forces a somewhat reluctant reconciliation between the two sisters, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out as the series develops. In an online interview Anderson, who starred for nine years in the popular “X-Files” series, spoke about the characters’ reunion and explained what she likes about the series.
“I play Meg Fitch, who is the CEO of a multinational IT conglomerate. One of the heads of the investigation is a young woman called Susie Dunn, who is my sister. We have been estranged for about 16 years, and so when we meet again as the result of the circumstances, obviously it’s not under the best circumstances to be reuniting, but also we see the impact that our estrangement has on how the situation moves forward.
“I did a show for a long time that each episode was its own individual episode, and it wasn’t linear like this. And so it’s interesting learning really for the first time upon reading each script the direction that your character is going. I like the spontaneity of it, and it’s fun. It feels wonderfully unpredictable. It’s a cat and mouse game, but it’s compelling in that way. There are so many surprises in every episode that I’ve read so far. Things take place that I could not or would not have imagined, and that’s exciting.”
One of the most fascinating people in the series is going to be Francis because at first he comes across as a real milquetoast, but you have the feeling that something shocking is lurking under this façade. In a recent online interview, here’s what Mulroney had to say about his character.
“I play Francis Gibson, who’s a seemingly mild-mannered chaperone on that bus, and I’m concerned for the well-being of my daughter, who’s one of the students. It happens that I used to be in the CIA, which may or may not come into play. All of the characters in this piece face their own challenges. A lot of them are dealing with concerns for their family and so forth, and that goes for me too. So if one of the taglines for the show is, ‘How far would you go for your child,’ then Gibson himself is showing that he’ll go all the way. Currently the father of an independent teenage daughter, Gibson’s having some trouble seeing eye-to-eye with her and really having the most fulfilling relationship that he would hope. I’m sure there are a lot of parents of teenage girls who go through something similar. In this case it really gets under his skin because he doesn’t really feel it was his doing that he lost contact with his daughter through an ugly divorce.”
The first episode of “Crisis” really sucked me in because the suspense is palpable, the acting is consistently good, and the entire situation is completely believable. In fact I liked this show so much that I may have to record several episodes so I can binge watch it instead of having wait an entire week to see what happens next. But my major fear with the series is how sustainable it will be. When the kidnapping plot is resolved, will some kind of another crisis arise? Or will that be the end?
Nevertheless, I liked this series well enough to give it a tension-packed eight, but I do have a major quarrel to address with the writers. During a particular scene involving two characters, one of them corrects the grammar of the other one. The only problem is the correction is incorrect. If you want a full explanation of the whole thing, you will find it at sloopy12.wordpress.com.
The bottom line here, however, is that “Crisis” has a great deal of promise, and I hope it can earn sufficiently high ratings to keep it on the air until we see what happens to the students from Ballad High School. If this show gets the ax before some kind of resolution is reached, it definitely will initiate a personal crisis for me.