David Hiltbrand on TV: NBC's 'Crisis' a powerhouse pilot
NBC's new drama knows how to set the hook better than that salty crew on Nat Geo's Wicked Tuna.
Here's the bait, um, premise of Crisis (10 p.m. Sunday on NBC10): Students from the most elite of Washington, D.C., prep schools are on a trip to New York when their bus is hijacked and the kids are taken hostage.
(One might argue that it would have been safer and quicker to take I-95 north through Maryland, rather than the twisty country road they chose, but maybe they were avoiding tolls.)
On board: not only the first son, but also the sons and daughters of diplomats, powerful politicians, and the titans of multinationals. So there's a bit of an uproar when the abduction is reported.
The FBI finds itself under all kinds of pressure to resolve this, pronto. All resources are put at their disposal. Send in the drones!
But the mastermind behind this dastardly conspiracy is two skips and a jump ahead of them at every turn. What is his agenda? Who is he really after? The plot clots.
Crisis is soon operating on multiple levels: the media circus, the frantic, demanding parents, the kids locked up in some remote mansion, the law enforcement officials, and the villains conniving in their secret command center in the mansion's kitchen.
What makes it more intriguing is that there are traitors and turncoats wherever you look. Everyone has their dark little secrets - even the kids.
Amid the suspense, Crisis works in a surprising number of affecting relationships, friendly, family, and foxhole. Central among them is the troubled sisterhood of Susie (Rachael Taylor), the lead FBI agent, and Meg (Gillian Anderson), an influential CEO whose daughter (Halston Sage) is missing.
The series is well-performed both by the adults (Dermot Mulroney, Lance Gross, Max Martini, and Arnold Vosloo) and the junior set (Stevie Lynn Jones, Max Schneider, Brandon Ruiter, Joshua Erenberg, and newcomer Adam Scott Miller).
Exciting and twisty, Crisis is the show that CBS thought it had at the start of the season with Hostages. (Except that one starred Dylan McDermott, not Dermot Mulroney.)
You might wonder how Crisis will keep its dizzying momentum going week after week. Can it make pulling rabbits out of the hat seem spellbinding? Well, it comes from the creators of Life, one of the most overlooked series of the last decade, so magic is an ongoing possibility.
Either way, don't miss the pilot. It's a powerhouse.
10 p.m. Sunday on NBC10