In a deserted Times Square, a bomb officer does a manual inspection of a mysterious duffel bag that has a tag that says, “Call the FBI”. Although nothing looks out of the ordinary, he feels for wires and detects movement from inside the bag. Hundreds of things must have run through his mind but nothing could have come close to what happens next. A naked woman emerges from the bag, trembling. As she gingerly steps out of her temporary container, her body slowly displays one puzzling view to the bewildered witness. It is bizarre enough for him to say, “Are you guys seeing this?” What the guys see is one for the books: the body of the naked woman is covered with a myriad of colorful tattoos.
With that scene, NBC’s action television series Blindspot wins the award for most captivating opening scene.
Blindspot is about the naked woman with freshly-inked tattoos from head to toe (just imagine the pain she endured). Her name is Jane Doe (Jaimie Alexander). Obviously, it is not her real name, but she has “chemically-induced state of permanent amnesia” so she has no say in this matter. However, Jane Doe is no ordinary Jane Doe. Her tattoos are akin to mysterious hidden messages that are keys to solve criminal activities all over the globe.
One of the most prominent tattoos of Jane is inscribed across her back, between her shoulders. It says “Kurt Weller” and Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) turns out to be one hot FBI agent who looks deadly in a bulletproof vest as he does in a tuxedo. I have to add that he has the third-best beard in the world, after Juan Mata and Faruq.
Weller is ably assisted by tough-as-nails FBI Assistant Director Bethany Mayfair (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), the sometimes skeptical FBI Agent Edgar Reade (Rob Brown) and the gambling addict FBI Agent Natasha Zapata (Audrey Esparza). Blindspot, like most crime shows, has a resident nerd, this time in the person of Patterson (Ashley Johnson), the head of FBI Forensic Science Unit. Patterson does not have the eidetic memory of Criminal Minds’ Dr. Spencer Reid or Sleepy Hollow’s Ichabod Crane, but she is charming like the two gentlemen. Dr. Borden (Ukweli Roach), the psychologist tasked to enable Jane to regain her memory, completes the group.
As Weller and his team are drawn closer to Jane’s enigma, they realize that how much she does not know is just as important as how much she knows or knew. As they inadvertently expose Jane to perilous situations, they discover that she is not as clueless as her amnesiac state leads them to believe. Jane is actually the lovechild of a nerd and a martial artist + weapons specialist, and she knows how to use her skills when she or Weller’s team is in a tough spot.
Between chasing the bad guys and ear-deafening explosions, Jane’s history unravels in the form of mostly black-and-white flashbacks. Her backstory is as complicated and as interesting as her tattoos. Her hairstyle now is way better than before, but the level of gorgeousness of the company she keeps remains consistent.
The first ten episodes of Blindspot are entertaining as serial TV shows go. It does not pretend to address existential questions, so it focuses on various types of conflict that might kill X victims if they remain unresolved. Stapleton and Alexander are believable as protagonists who kick ass. There are times when I wish to question the veracity of the characters’ survival, but Stapleton’s beard is more than sufficient to make my brain cells freeze temporarily and believe in everything Blindspot preaches.
The supporting cast is not shabby either, with their own story arcs to boot, which makes Blindspot not solely as Weller and Jane show. FBI Assistant Director Mayfair’s story is something that I wish to be fleshed out in future episodes. What I wish to have less of is the extreme close-up shots of Alexander’s eyes. They are beautiful, no doubt about it, but her eyeballs filling up a third of the screen more than twice per episode is toeing the line between expressive (for her) and traumatic (for me).