Is it possible for one brutal crime to have such a complicated effect on everyone it touched? What happens when things do go according to plan or fail to do so? That's part of the premise behind NBC's new drama "Crisis," which demonstrated how one crime impacted everyone involved, directly or otherwise. The results may be somewhat flawed, but the cast seemed willing to help viewers to overlook some of them for the time being.
"Crisis" followed how one seemingly ordinary high school field trip turned into a major nightmare for everyone on the bus that no one anticipated. The students of Ballard High seemed like ordinary high school students with the growing needs that many teenagers have, but most of the students on the bus came from very wealthy and powerful families with a lot to lose if their children went missing. Agent Marcus Finley (Lance Gross) was very excited to get his first opportunity to work on his first assignment as a Secret Service Agent, which was a detail to help protect the President's son. Instead he ended up getting shot by his own partner, he watched from the ground as most of the kids were taken from the bus. Finley did manage to save Anton Roth (Joshua Erenberg) who managed to lag behind long enough to be rescued. Finley and Anton got away after Finley ended up killing one of the kidnappers, which earned the ire of another kidnapper named Koz (Max Martini) who wanted Finley dead in the worst way. While Finley was initially under suspicion, FBI Director Olsen (Michael Beach) realized what a help he could be to Agent Susie Dunn (Rachael Taylor) in the investigation into the kidnapping. Susie also was forced to reunite with her estranged sister Meg Fitch (Gillian Anderson) who worried about getting her daughter Amber (Halston Sage) safely home. Unfortunately, there was some collateral damage in seemingly unconnected Beth Ann Gibson (Stevie Lynn Jones) was kidnapped along with her father Francis (Dermot Mulroney). The tragedy might repair the already fractured relationship between father and daughter, but it might make things worse when some secrets start to get revealed. Will who make it out alive and who will die trying?
In terms of questions, the show has posed quite a few, but the biggest one involved whether viewers would truly remain interested in the show's not fully formed conspiracy theories. "Crisis" has the potential to be a fascinating thriller of how ordinary people can be pushed into doing horrific things given the right motivation by threatening loved ones. The only problem was that the first two episodes seemed to be going at warp speed to get a finish line as the season will wrap up very soon. The show's warp speed also didn't give viewers enough to absorb the shock of who was truly behind kidnapping the school bus. Sure, there were a few brief scenes to explain things, but there needs to be a little more to explain the character's true motives and provide some insight as to why he was targeting those particular students. Future episodes will also need to find a way to flesh out the hostages in a way that will make them realistic, and a few little more sympathetic to viewers. Sage, Jones and Erenberg were the only ones who had fully formed teenage characters that were more than the sum of their stereotypes. Viewers could've likely gone without seeing the scene of one hostage having a meltdown over an expense shirt getting accidentally torn by another hostage. The scene was a brief distraction that should've been ignored entirely. The conspiracy storyline has the potential to upend everything on the show, but the family stories could use some work to make viewers root for various cast members. Anderson and Taylor shared a strong dynamic, but viewers need to see more before truly rooting for either one of them.
As for breakout performances, Mulroney and Gross seemed to be leading the pack early on for different reasons. Mulroney's performance as Francis was the ultimate combination of morally comprised anti-hero. On the surface, he appeared to be a man who loved his daughter, but he truly had a hidden agenda that would make his use her as a pawn if necessary to make himself more convincing. It's too early to say if Mulroney's Francis was really a villain or a victim of a corrupt society willing to throw people under the bus to get things done. Mulroney showcased Francis as a character with dual personalities that seemed to change at the drop of a hat. While he tried to keep the hostages in line, he watched as his daughter had to struck down by one of the kidnappers as an example. His face switched from utter stillness to a brief flash of pain as he temporarily realized what he was doing before ignoring those feelings once again. Gross, on the other hand, played the mostly heroic character who took a bullet and risked his life to save one kid. Okay, the character may have appeared to be a bit stereotypical in the premiere but his presence in the second episode managed to give Taylor's rather aimless Susie a sparring partner and a purpose at the same time. Gross and Taylor had a playful rapport that will likely develop over the season, but his real connection was with Erenberg's Anton who helped managed to humanize Finley in his quest for justice. Hopefully, Gross and Mulroney will get a chance to share a scene because the premiere foreshadowed a potential face-off that will leave only one of them standing. Let's hope that the show will make the outcome a surprising one. Only time will tell if that's the case.
"Crisis" premiered on March 16th and airs Sundays at 10:00 PM on NBC.
Verdict: The show has a promising premise that demonstrated how much parents loved their children, but the show's singular premise might not be able to carry it over the long haul if future episodes shake things up down the line.
TV Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)