The Company Episodes

2007, TV Show

The Company Episode: "Night 1"

Season 1, Episode 1
Episode Synopsis: The dawn of the CIA is chronicled via the experiences of three college grads---including the idealistic Jack McAuliffe (Chris O'Donnell)---who are recruited as spies and drawn into shadowy Cold War espionage. Jack is mentored by a master spy (Alfred Molina), and the two set out to unmask a mole within the ranks. Jack also develops an unhealthy attraction to a fetching spy (Alexandra Maria Lara). Michael Keaton also stars. Executive produced by brother filmmakers Tony and Ridley Scott.
Original Air Date: Aug 5, 2007
Guest Cast Alexandra Maria Lara: Lili Ted Atherton: Frank Wisner Cedric Smith: Allen Dulles Antony Sher: Ezra Ben Ezra aka The Rabbi Erika Marozsan: Azalia Ivanova Simon Callow: Elihu Epstein Tom Hollander: Adrian Philby

"Night 1" Season 1, Episode 1

Let me start off with a disclaimer: I'm not familiar with the Robert Littell novel of the same name on which The Company is based. However, based on the Internet buzz, I know a lot of fans of the book have been very much anticipating this miniseries. So what I ask of you, readers, is that you be as understanding as you can about my lack of foreknowledge, while still feeling free to tell me what's what when I get it wrong. Thanks in advance. [end disclaimer] Well, we're only a third of the way in, but so far, I like what I'm seeing. Even abridged as it must be for TV, this is clearly a complex, multilayered story. The Company is juggling a large cast of international characters who are constantly double- and triple-crossing each other, but thankfully, I didn't have to strain too hard to keep it all straight. I don't know if the novel's focus was so squarely on the characters of Jack ( Chris O'Donnell) and Yevgeny ( Rory Cochrane), but the friends-turned-enemies situation set up (with impressive subtlety) in "Night 1" is an old classic that provided an easy, human entry point into the murky world of Cold War espionage. For some reason, Disney's The Fox and the Hound, of all things, kept coming to mind - and I'm no Disney fan, but I guess that demonstrates the effectiveness of universalizing the story. For a miniseries, the production values seem above average - but I guess that's what you get with a couple of old pros like Ridley and Tony Scott in executive producers' chairs. We haven't seen a lot of the brothers' trademark action sequences so far, but the ruins of post-World War II Berlin, at least to this war-movie fan, certainly feel authentic, as do the CIA operatives, all crisp black suits and whiskeys neat. Now for a little bit of bad. As I'd suspected would be the case, the weak link here is O'Donnell. Whether he's playing the fourth Musketeer, Robin to a big-screen Batman, or a potential McBeau to the ever-whiney Meredith Grey, this guy's always the same - and not in the good way that Pacino's always Pacino or De Niro's always De Niro. Hopefully, as The Company moves forward and Jack hardens over his long years of CIA service, we'll see more of the conflicted character and less of the O'Donnell charm/smarm that's thoroughly worn out its welcome. Either way, he's still surrounded by a strong cast of Hollywood veterans - most notably Michael Keaton doing a darker, more haunted variation on his classic twitchy paranoiac, and Alfred Molina, alternately warm and menacing, just like he was as Doc Oc to Tobey Maguire's friendly neighborhood Spider-Man (minus a few tentacles, of course). But the real surprise here is Cochrane as KGB agent-by-way-of-Yale Yevgeny Tsipin. For those who came of age in the '90s, Cochrane will probably always be Lucas from Empire Records or Slater from Dazed and Confused. Notwithstanding his previous gig on CSI: Miami - which I avoid like a bloody crime scene - it seems The Company's creators took a chance giving Cochrane such a prominent dramatic role in this high-profile project. So far it's more than paid off, with Yevgeny far more sympathetic and multifaceted than O'Donnell's Jack. The other big surprises tonight: The bleak ending, with Keaton's character silhouetted in a dark office, wracked with self-doubt after the betrayal of a longtime friend and fellow agent - and, of course, the ballet dancer's suicide, which I honestly never saw coming. Based on the previews, it looks like the dark times for O'Donnell's Jack are just beginning, with some 24-style interrogation - as well as explosive action - in the offing next week. Can't wait. For clips of The Company, visit TV Guide's Online Video Guide. show less
Let me start off with a disclaimer: I’m not familiar with the Robert Littell novel of the same name on which The Company is based. However, based on the Internet buzz, I know a lot of fans of the book have been very much anticipating this miniseries. So what I ask of you, readers, is that you be as understanding as you can about my lack of foreknowledge, while still feeling free to tell me what’s what when I get it wrong. Thanks in advance. [end disclaimer]Well, we're only a third of the way in, but so far, I like what I'm seeing. Even abridged as it must be for TV, this is clearly a complex, multilayered story. The Company is juggling a large cast of international characters who are constantly double- and triple-crossing each other, but thankfully, I didn't have to strain too hard to keep it all straight. I don't know if the novel's focus was so squarely on the characters of Jack (Chris O'Donnell) and Yevgeny (Rory Cochrane), but the friends-turned-enemies situation set u... read more

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Premiered: August 05, 2007, on TNT
Rating: TV-14
User Rating: (35 ratings)
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Premise: An epic six-hour drama depicting the global power struggle between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, told from the viewpoint of CIA and KGB spies. The series spans four decades, from the dawn of the Cold War in the 1950s to the downfall of the Soviet Union in the '90s.

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