Night. Times Square. New York City. Lights flashing. Sirens screaming. Horns honking. People scurrying. And in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, a large canvas bag reposes silently and motionlessly on the pavement as a police officer asks passersby whether the bag belongs to them. A tag reading, “Call the FBI,” hangs on the side of the bag.
The police have cleared Times Square. Now the only occupants are the bag and a member of the NYPD Bomb Squad. Holding a Geiger counter, the officer approaches the bag tentatively. When there’s no sign of radioactivity, the bomb expert puts down the Geiger counter and slowly reaches down to touch the bag. AND THAT’S WHEN IT MOVES! As the officer looks on in stunned horror and disbelief, the zipper slithers open, and the bag gives birth to a nude woman covered from head to toe with elaborate tattoos. And she’s suffering from total amnesia.
Welcome to “Blindspot,” NBC’s riveting and intriguing new series that offers viewers myriad questions. Who is Jane Doe (Jaimie Alexander)? How did she get to Times Square? What do her tattoos mean? Why can she speak fluent Chinese? How did she acquire some of her amazing skills? (“How do I know how to do all this?” she asks at one point.) Is she a threat to national security? How is she involved with the FBI? And the list goes on.
Judging from its pilot, “Blindspot” has the potential to be one of the best new shows of the fall season because it has everything – mystery, drama, intrigue, action, suspense, and even the possibility for some romance. Be forewarned, however, that this show grabs you from its creepy beginning and doesn’t let you go until the closing credits begin to roll.
After Jane is taken into custody and examined closely, law enforcement officials discover that one of the tattoos on her back bears the name of FBI agent Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton), but he has never seen the woman in his life. Also a toxic screen reveals that Jane’s system is flooded with an experimental drug that induces amnesia. In fact she is so spaced out that she doesn’t even know the difference between coffee and tea, and she has no idea what food she likes.
Because his name is tattooed on Jane’s back, Weller is naturally assigned to the case, and as the investigation into Jane’s identity proceeds, she notices a picture the FBI took of a tattoo behind her left ear. This one just happens to be in Chinese, and suddenly Jane is flawlessly translating the message into an address and a date, which is the current day. Thus Jane and Weller rush away to find the address and see what Jane’s mounting mystery holds for them there.
Revealing any more of the plot at this point would spoil some of the many surprises in the show’s thrilling first episode, but the events definitely will hold your attention and leave you waiting impatiently for the next installment of the story. Of course the main key to solving Jane’s identity lies somewhere within the massive tattoos covering her body, and it will be fascinating watching the authorities search for an answer as the series continues.
Alexander, who is known for her portrayal of Sif in the “Thor” movies, is perfectly cast in the part of Jane. From the moment she emerges from that bag in Times Square, Jane is at once confused, terrified, disoriented, and just completely out of sync. Alexander conveys all of her character’s conflicting emotions and feelings flawlessly, and in an online interview with Christina Radish of Collider, the actress offered some interesting insight into the show and Jane. First she explained her reaction to shooting the creepy opening scene.
“It was insane! I went through seven hours of tattoo application, and then, when I came out to Times Square, it was scary. There was not a car in the street, and there was not a person walking around. It almost looked apocalyptic. I thought, ‘How did we do this? Where is everybody? I can’t believe we were able to do this.’ We have no visual effects in the shot, at all. We didn’t paint anything out. We had a very slim amount of time to get all the shots, and we just nailed it. We had a lot of help from the NYPD, and we had 150 production assistants there, just keeping everybody back. Every time I opened the bag and came out, it was intense. It was scary and eerie and epic, at the same time.”
As you will see in the first episode, Jane has had some very advanced self-defense training, and she definitely can take care of herself even if she doesn’t understand why. But Alexander explained that she doesn’t want her character to be a superhero.
“I’m continually making sure she does not turn into a superhero. That seems to be the default. It’s like if you have a strong, tough woman, she has to be a superhero, or it’s not justifiable. But, this is based in reality. She has a specific skill set that she learned, and it all has to be believable. If she’s fighting in the kitchen and she sees a metal pitcher full of ice water, she would use it as a weapon because she knows that maybe the guy is bigger than her, but she’s faster. We incorporate all those types of moves. I can use sharp elbows, I’m fast, I have long legs, and I can do a chokehold. We’re making it really realistic, so it’s going to be very relatable. And we have so many great military guys that are training us right now.”
Stapleton and Alexander work very well together, and even in the early going, it is obvious that the chemistry between the two of them is going be something special. Weller already has adopted a very protective attitude toward Jane, and it will be interesting to watch that develop.
If its pilot is any indication, “Blindspot” is going to be one of the best new shows of the season, and in the Collider interview, Alexander promised thrills with every episode.
“The thing is that this show moves at such a fast pace that you start to get answers in the pilot, and then you get a lot more in the second episode. We don’t hold back, and there are no filler episodes. Every episode is action-packed with crazy stuff, so much so that it’s stuff you see in films. There’s never an episode where we’re all going to be at the FBI talking, for budget reasons, or somebody is out of town that week. It’s literally go, go, go, all the time.”
“Blindspot” definitely deserves a spot on your must-watch list, and it earns the final score of an unsecured 10 until we have a few more episodes to solidify its evaluation. In the meantime, don’t miss it.