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Quantico Sets out to Break Stereotypes

Sonia See - March 8, 2016

Set amidst flashbacks and present time, Quantico tells the story of FBI Agent Alex Parrish, wrongly accused of carrying out a terrorist act. She escapes the FBI’s custody and is on the run to find out which of her former classmates set her up. The show is divided between her time as an FBI trainee at Quantico and her time as a fugitive.

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(Photo: ABC) Totally not a scene from Grey’s Academy.

Commonly dubbed as “Grey’s Academy”, Quantico tries to mesh soap material with police business. The show is essentially divided into two segments: life at the FBI Academy (think One Tree Hill training to be agents) and the more action-packed fugitive part. While the former tends to linger on personal relationships and feelings, the latter is thrilling and actually interesting. The show has an incredible ability to be both annoying and captivating at the same time. The suspense involving which of the classmates is behind the attack is what keeps viewers in front of their TV every week.

Alex Parrish is played by Bollywood superstar and former Miss World, Priyanka Chopra. While she has been acclaimed for her roles in Bollywood, it appears as though she had a hard time getting in character. She was focused on breaking the typical South Asian stereotype by portraying a modern, non-accented (hah!), and forceful young woman. In fact, in the first episode, we see Alex Parrish having sex in the car of a stranger she met on a plane ride. That would probably be frowned upon in Bollywood. Stereotype successfully broken!

Parrish is this super smart, very skilled and overconfident trainee. Chopra’s portrayal of her in the beginning of the season involves a lot of over acting; she does not seem like she believes her lines. She tries so hard to fit in that she stands out. Thankfully, it somewhat eases out as the season progresses so much that in the midseason premiere, it’s barely noticeable (or I probably got used to it).

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(Photo: ABC) FBI Agents in the making.

The supporting cast, each with their own crazy story and secrets, is solid. From the Muslim twins, the gay guy, the Mormon, the southern royalty and the jock, Quantico hints at everything. With Alex Parrish being both endearing and annoying (but mostly annoying), it would be tough to sit through a show that is strictly about her story – oh wait. Luckily enough, the rest of the cast make this one-Alex-show bearable.

The main storyline is to be thanked for my weekly viewership. The suspense is well timed such that the main plot line does not feel dragged out. It is safe to say that about half of each episode is full of action and makes the audience care about what is going to happen to the characters. On the other hand, the sappy soap opera that happens at the academy is fifty shades of boring. It very much feels like a teenage sitcom with a string of complicated relationships and identity crisis. Nevertheless, Quantico finds a way to balance it out with proper wit and smarts.

With Quantico coming back in force this past Sunday for the second half of its freshman season, it looks like the show is going in a good direction. ABC seems to think so as well since they ordered an early renewal for Season 2.


Quick Cents

The Good
♠ Main storyline is solid enough to keep viewers.
♠ Very diverse cast offers character.
♠ Backstories of other trainees are interesting.

The Bad
♠ Chopra’s over acting.
♠ Sappy soap drama.

Where to Watch
♠ ABC: Catch it on SUN 10/9c.
♠ Hulu: Watch the episodes or catch up on the season.
♠ Amazon Instant Video: Get the whole season on Amazon.

Rating: 7.5 ¢

45 comments

  1. Been meaning to watch this in order to support the casting of a minority woman as the lead. Good to hear it’s (mostly) good–though it’s a bummer that it’s mostly because of other people, not her.

    1. I have ridiculously high expectations for some ungodly reason! She does get better after a few episodes (I think)
      After thorough study, I came to understand that Bollywood tends to have bouts of overacting so it is only normal that she translates that to Hollywood. I love the cast though, I honestly think that without such a strong supporting cast, it would probably flop. Give it a try ☺️

  2. Well, Bollywood does not have bouts of overacting. If you’ll watch some good movies you’ll understand 🙂 I haven’t watched Quantico yet so I can’t comment on that but she’s on cloud 9 these days so yeah she’s been overacting in Bollywood too recently! But you can’t blame bollywood for that! 😉

    1. Everywhere has some bouts of over acting lol
      Wherever it is, whatever country the movie is from, there is bound to have movies where actors are over acting.
      Given that she started acting in Bollywood first, and I have seen a few of her movies (because I don’t just throw words out), I’m afraid I’m not sure where else she could’ve picked up overacting! ☺️
      Matter of fact, in my first post ever, I complain about overacting in Hollywood!

      1. I totally agree with you 😊 And sorry if you thought I was opposing you! I wasn’t. I got the feeling that you think everyone in Bollywood is an over actor. Sorry again. 😊

          1. Hah I was born in Mauritius but as you can probably tell, traveled far too much and lived in too many different places. I’ve been here (the US) for some time now though.
            Funnily enough, my parents named me after Greek Sonia, because my mum liked the meaning.

            Yourself?

          2. I’ve been to India once – a long time ago! My mum is absolutely obsessed with India so she took me along! Lol Absolutely LOVED it. The country is so rich in culture and the food …we (the fiancé and I) are completely in love with Indian food!

            Which part are you from?

          3. That is such a beautiful name! 🙂
            I hope you do get to visit some new places in the near future – travelling, although tiring, is well worth it!

          4. Haha! Actually I really hate the travelling part. I wish i could just snap my hands and reach where ever i want to.
            I really wanna live in US. My dad’s younger brother lives in California.

  3. Quantico is definitely on my to-watch list, after I finish catching up on my Criminal Minds and NCIS, but I do think that I will be deterred by the soap-drama nature of it. I enjoy the office environment banter, but I cannot stand sitcom drama (think hospital dramas), let alone teen sitcom drama :/
    One thing I am curious about though, do you think they are trying a bit too hard to not conform to the stereotypes? And in doing so, they might be falling into the rebellious shock-factor category?
    Loving your reviews btw <3

    1. Thank you so so much for reading! ☺️
      First off, YES I absolutely think they are trying their hardest to not conform to stereotypes. The link (in which an interview was carried out with Chopra) details how she came about to picking Quantico and how she wanted to portray Alex. And secondly, everything that tries too hard to do something always falls flat and yes that’s very much in line with what they are falling into haha

      The good thing, however, about Quantico is that the small mystery they have going on is enough to pique your curiosity. I had to force myself to keep watching the first few episodes but after that, it was easier!

      That being said, Criminal Minds is one of my all tim favourites! It’s a perfect blend of everything.

  4. I had a few major problems with this show, and I gave up on it after 6 episodes. All the actors and actresses in the main roles are unrealistically stunning. More than a class of FBI agents in training, it looks like a model agency. And I hate the fact that each and every one of them must have some kind of romantic involvement with one or more characters. In the long run, it made it really difficult for me to take the plot seriously.

    1. OMG YES!!! Ahahaha this made me laugh because of how true it is. If Quantico were true, it would’ve been the best looking training class of the FBI. I watch it cause I like the supporting cast and the scarce moments they focus on the actual action. Other than that, it’s Grey’s Academy!

  5. As an Indian, I was really hyped for Quantico. Even though I dislike Priyanka Chopra, this was bigger than her; the first time a mainstream Bollywood actress breaking into the world of American TV shows. However, the show, IMO, hasn’t lived up to my lofty expectations despite the amazing pilot. From her appalling excuse of an American accent (it really would’ve been better if she stuck to her normal accent) to the choice of cast (all good actors, but they don’t mesh.. also, no hierarchy in who is the main character not named Alex and who acts in a supporting role). Oh and the sudden change in story annoys me. At the beginning, the focus was on Alex being framed. Now, it’s all about love and romance (*cough cough* Bollywood movie *cough cough*)

    Good review though. I guess my expectations for this show will always be unrealistically high, so I can’t be rational. Your reviews are really well written and thought out, and always nice to read 🙂

    (Also, thanks for liking my article about Room. Really appreciate it)

    1. I’m happy that you brought up that it was bigger than her! It was a HUGE thing that someone of South Asian nationality/ethnicity got a lead role in a TV Show of their choice, yet Chopra tanked it.
      You know? I thought the same – her regular accent is pretty as is, I don’t know why she had to use an “american” accent as she calls it. Whatever she took months of training for definitely ain’t American… Accents are beautiful, not sure why she has such a huge complex about hers.
      I also have to agree that they don’t mesh and I absolutely ADORE the supporting cast. HAH that’s what I thought too – I watched a few Bollywood movies with one of my really good friends and Quantico is essentially going in that direction. I honestly thought Priyanka Chopra would’ve done better. I bet that if they cast someone like Deepika Padukone (?), the show would probably have done better!

      Thank you so so very much for reading and commenting! It is kindly appreciated ☺️

      1. Yeaaa she really did tank it. I feel like the reason she was chosen was because she had a background in the sense that she spent her adolescence in the States.

        Deepika Padukone is my celebrity crush. I really love her acting, her style, her versatility and her charisma. BUT I don’t think the role of Alex would’ve suited her because roles where she’s the good person and bad person (I hope that makes sense) don’t really suit her. If you watch Race 2, where she had to play a dual protagonist-antagonist role, you’ll get what I mean (she killed the role but I felt it was one of her weaker movies)
        If I had to choose someone from Bollywood to play Alex Parrish, I would choose Katrina Kaif because she wouldn’t have to fake an accent, or Kangana Ranaut because she has the right style to play roles like Alex
        You’re welcome, and likewise

        1. I absolutely love Deepika Padukone! My friend had me watch a movie with her!!! She’s flawless . I will find the time to give that movie a try – it’s like a multicultural centre in my house: I watch korean/taiwanese shows, Bollywood shows, French movies …you get the gist lol
          I feel like Katrina Kaif is a bit fake but I honestly wouldn’t know because I saw half a movie with her! I do not know the other person but I’ll google haha

          Tough to see that she spent some years here. To an outsider, she looks like someone who’s trying too hard to hide their accent. I usually call them over accented!!

          1. YES flawless is the perfect word. I had the opportunity to meet her for 5 minutes and she’s as elegant in person as she is in movies (if not more). I’m really looking forward to her Hollywood debut especially because she’s acting with Vin Diesel.
            A lot of people find Katrina fake and I feel like the reason people feel that is because at the beginning of her Bollywood career she was basically Priyanka Chopra but in the opposite way. She was born in Hong Kong (where I’m from) and is only half Indian if I’m right. Also she needed someone to be a voice over because she couldn’t speak Hindi. What Katrina movie did you watch?
            Watch Gangster or Kites (Kangana Ranaut acts in those). You’ll see what I mean
            Yeah I was shocked when I heard she lived in the States. I only found out after watching the Jimmy Fallon show recently

          2. Oohh I saw something about that on Vin Diesel’s page! I’m quite excited tbh cause I think she’ll be great!
            Aha yeah that makes sense and I honestly haven’t a clue about the name of the movie. Probably one of her early works because it was years ago! Oh dear, does she speak Hindi now? Haha it’s quite funny though – acting in Bollywood without speaking the language!

            I need to watch her on Fallon!! I only saw the segment where she ate hot wings and I was like smh …still looks overacted lol

          3. Yes I hope she kills it and gets the exposure to Western movies. I’m really really looking forward to it.
            Yup she does speak Hindi now but I’m told it’s pretty clear she’s a second-language speaker (I am a second language speaker too, so I can’t judge). I think she understood Hindi so it was ok?
            Yeah I watched the same segment and wasn’t bothered to find the whole thing. When she said she studied at that high school I read about her and found out that she lived in NYC and either Massachusetts or Michigan

          4. Hard to believe! But good for her lol

            And aha it makes a lot of sense! I often see a lot of news here and there about Katrina Kaif so I’m guessing people either really like her or really don’t like her!!!

            Hah the only thing I know how to say in Hindi is “chai” …that was honestly the only important thing when I went to India aha …I was like “masala chai” and people understood!

          5. Yes. You either love Katrina Kaif or you hate her. There’s nothing in between.

            I learnt my Hindi watching soap operas with my mom. Hindi is the third language for both my parents, so their knowledge was more classroom language as opposed to street language. I understand a lot of Hindi, but I can’t speak it. I know food, because, well it’s food, but that’s as far as it goes

          6. Aha! That’s where I learnt my korean from – can’t speak, accent way too bad but I do understand it! My fiancé gives me the weirdest looks when I watch tai/korean dramas but I’m always like “I’m learning you know?” Lol it’s better than Rosetta Stone!

          7. It’s actually a much easier way to learn languages! You may miss out a lot of information in terms of grammar or structure, but it’s a lot more fun doing it that way. Rosetta Stone is useless

          8. As long as there are no tests, missing out on grammar and structure is perfectly fine LOL (in foreign languages of course!!!)

          9. Well in some cases yes, tone and structure matters. For example. Some words in thr local language here in Hong Kong have nine tones. Saying it wrong could mean a completely different thing (e.g the word for lamb also means gigolo)

        2. I also think Kangana would be better for the role, cuz she played a similar role in a movie called ‘Game’ some yrs ago an’ she’s a brilliant actress!

  6. I’ve only seen a couple previews for it, and the show looked completely unexceptional to me. With that being said, there are only a few TV series that I finally leave still loving.
    By what you’ve said, it seems like it’s only sort of good. Would you recommend this to me?

  7. I haven’t watched the show but I’ve read a bit about it – and I’ve listened to Priyanka Chopra speak at a humanitarian event. She’s pretty cool, big fan of diversity and junk food. Can’t complain there. 🙂

  8. Accents are really hard to pull off, even for the best actors. I recently watched a clip of a show called Gracepoint (the unnecessary American remake of Broadchurch) starring the brilliant David Tennant and his accent was really awkward in it cuz it kept switching from American to Scottish and back to American again!

    1. Oh gosh they truly are! I often find myself slipping back into British despite speaking American pretty much everyday lol

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