The Event

You've seen the ads. And you may be wondering, so what is the Event? To investigate, a visitor has come to a wooded area of Calabasas, California (doubling for Atlanta), where four stars of NBC's twisty thriller have reunited at their characters' family home for the first time since they shot the pilot.

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It's an idyllic Thanksgiving flashback scene straight out of Norman Rockwell's sketchbook. Daughter Leila (Sarah Roemer) introduces her brainy boyfriend Sean (Parenthood's Jason Ritter) to her seemingly loving parents, airline pilot Michael (Gilmore Girls' Scott Patterson) and homemaker Val (Dexter's Julia Campbell). There's just one problem: Several years later, as we'll see in the premiere, one of them will be kidnapped, another will be suspected of hijacking, one will be plotting to kill the president and another will be dead.

So much for giving thanks. "It's totally bizarre," says Ritter of what unfolds. "There is a lot of adrenaline coming in the second, third and fourth episodes."

The Event's story lines will span the globe — from a compound in Mount Inostranka, Alaska, where Laura Innes' mysterious Sophia is being held captive with her people, to Sean and Leila's romantic island getaway, to the Oval Office in Washington, D.C., where President Martinez (Blair Underwood) presides. "I've never seen anything this ambitious and of this size," says Patterson, comparing the series to "a big-budget film."

Early on, President Martinez is troubled to learn that he has been kept in the dark about Sophia and the other detainees, whose origins will be revealed in the second episode. It's been speculated that these prisoners may be aliens from another planet, but Ritter says the V cast shouldn't get their scales ruffled. "They're not lizards," says Ritter, joking, "They're doing something very different where Laura Innes turns out to be a smoke monster." Funny guy, that Ritter.

Another theory: The detainees are future us — coming back to share their technology. But would the producers borrow so closely from sci-fi hit The 4400, which had a similar story line? Remaining cryptic, Ritter says, "Because of the advanced technology, that would not be out of the question."

But Patterson warns, "Perception is not always reality on this show." And exec producer Evan Katz adds, "We're going to make sure the audience is never completely in the dark, so they can enjoy the show. Mystery is good — confusion is not."

Katz remains tight-lipped as to when he'll reveal exactly what the Event is. But Ritter was told it will be no later than early in Season 2. "It's something huge that affects everybody on a global scale," teases Roemer, who remains in the dark herself. "Every time I think I know, I find out something that completely disproves my theory."

One bit of refreshing news from Katz, who spent seven seasons threatening to end the world as a producer on 24: "I have no interest in presenting a vision of a postapocalyptic world. I want to entertain the audience and show them a good time."

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