FBI 1×13 Review: Crime and Family Matters

I’ll be the first to admit that I thought FBI was just going to be another procedural show. Just one of many, many others that we already have cluttering our TV schedule, without nothing really new to offer. But I watched a trailer and realized Missy Peregrym was going to be in it, so I just had to give it a chance. The Rookie Blue fan in me wouldn’t let me pass this by, so when it premiered, I was ready for it.

I came for Missy Peregrym, but I stayed for the entire cast and the incredible stories they tell every week. I mean, don’t get me wrong — it had a rough start. At first, I struggled to connect with the characters a lot. They were still finding their rhythm, but they did it with only a couple of episodes in.

It is still very much a procedural, but now, in episode 13, they have finally found their balance in dealing with the case of the week, and giving us some interesting background and personal stories for the agents. Because honestly, as much as I like the twists and turns of the cases, I like the characters a hell of a lot more. When we get tidbits about Maggie’s husband, or OA’s sister, or how we found out that Jubal is actually divorced and has a kid this week — that’s when this show thrives.

All of this is to say that this week’s “Partners in Crime” was the epitome of that balance. We had a fantastic case, full of unexpected twists and turns that left my head spinning, but we also had a subplot about Jubal’s personal life that wasn’t entirely related to the main plot. Sure, there were parallels — and he finally did the right thing in the end, because he saw a father suffering when his daughter was in trouble — but it wasn’t intrisically related to the case they were working on.

And the reason why this is so important is because we are finally, finally getting some info about these agents’ lives. We see them risking their lives, trying to solve difficult case after difficult case, but we didn’t really know who they are. Give me some background on Kristen and Dana next. Let us see them off duty. What do they do when they’re not at the Bureau? What are their hobbies? What are their families like?

Don’t get me wrong, I love love love Maggie and OA — and I am  so stoked that we are going to finally dive into her personal life next week — but I will love all of them more if I get to see them  without their FBI vest on, you know?

That being said, this week’s case was absolutely fantastic. I’ll be honest and say that, at first, I thought it was going to be just an okay case. Bank robbery? Boring. But it all spiraled into a confusing web of facts and people and interconnecting stories that, by the end, I was giving it a standing ovation. Kudos to the writers, who managed to weave such an intricate storyline about a guy who just wanted to have a family again. As bad as what he did was, he really was just looking for family connection.

And even though the focus of this episode was on Jubal, I really, really loved every single second of Maggie fighting to give that girl the benefit of the doubt. When she tells that NYPD officer, “You move without my consent, and I’ll have your badge”, I was cheering out loud. Damn, girl. That was badass.

But what I really loved was the entire sequence of Maggie going into the restaurant undercover. Maybe it was partly because I got such an Andy McNally vibe from Peregrym at that moment, but that entire scene was flawless. We’ll have a more in-depth discussion about Maggie some other time, but I’ve always felt that Maggie Bell is what Andy McNally would have turned out to be, had Rookie Blue continued its run. And maybe it’s because Peregrym brings so much of McNally to her current role, with Maggie’s tenacity and loyalty and empathy, that I find myself caring about this badass agent more and more with each passing episode.

I despised Patrick Cross from the very first moment — especially after learning that he had kept those girls in captivity, tied up for eight months, and then forced them to commit a crime with him. But when Dana tells Maggie what she thought he was really looking for when he kidnapped those girls, I couldn’t help but empathize with him. After all, we all crave family connection and a support system. He just went about it in a horribly, horribly wrong way.

And that’s what sets FBI apart from the rest of the procedurals on the air today. The way they tell these stories — especially the way they are so consciously and effectively using this platform to tell compelling stories of representation, unlike other shows — is what really makes me come back week after week.

I am excited to learn more about these agents, and I’m really, really excited about next week’s episode.

FBI airs on Tuesdays at 9/8 on CBS.

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Luciana Mangas

30-something Brazilian journalist. Crazy about TV. Currently in love with DC and Marvel superheroes, that tattooed lady from NBC, clone conspiracies and dystopian futures. You can reach her at @lucianamangas on Twitter and talk about how much you love TV as well. Or puppies. Puppies are cool too.

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