The premise of Blindspot sounds like a great setup - for a two-hour movie. In case you haven't seen the ubiquitous ads for NBC's new drama, the pilot kicks off with the discovery of a Jane Doe (Jaimie Alexander) in Times Square - naked, covered in tattoos (one of which is the name of an FBI agent who has no obvious connection to her), and with no memory of who she is or how she got there.
But viewers who are still smarting from Lost's cruel trickery - promising answers that were never delivered, until it became painfully apparent that the producers actually had no idea where they intended to take the show - can rest assured. The creators of Blindspot have their eye on the long game.
"Everyone's gotten wise to a cool pilot idea maybe not having legs," executive producer Martin Gero tells TVGuide.com. "When I started pitching the show a year ago, the pitch was about 45 minutes, but only about 10 minutes was on the pilot. The rest was like, 'Here's who she is. Here's what the first season's about. Here's what the second season's about. Here's what the third season could be about.' So we had done a lot of work. ... We came in with a pretty solid plan as to who she is, who's doing this to her, and why."
And viewers won't have to wait long to find out. They promise.
"We're living in a post-Scandal world. People want things to move," Gero concedes. "This is a show that was designed to move at a pace that I think is going to be insanely satisfying for the audience. ... They're not going to get impatient on this show. If anything, they might feel like, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa, too fast.' I don't believe in breadcrumbs."
Weeks of planning went into the stories behind Jane's tattoos alone. The ink, which covers her entire body, requires more than seven hours in the makeup room for Alexander. And while the body art itself isn't permanent, the designs are, Gero says.
"The tattoos have years of story on them," he explains. "We thought that was too much of a cheat if we want to go back and change something. ... I've been trying to figure out how to do a big puzzle show for years. I love stuff like Goonies and The Da Vinci Code and National Treasure. For whatever reason, those kinds of puzzle and treasure map type of things really land well with me, but they're really hard to do on TV week to week. ... [But] I've never seen a treasure map on a body. And we kind of went from there."
By the end of Episode 2, the connection between Jane and FBI agent Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) will become clear, Gero promises. (The Blacklist this is not.) "It's something that, once he realizes what it is, it feels like there can be no other reason," Gero teases. "It's based on an incident in his past that has, in many ways, defined who he is, every part of who he is."
Blindspot will have procedural elements, but will also focus heavily on unraveling Jane's full backstory as the season progresses, according to Gero, who cites The Good Wife as an inspiration for the way it incorporates cases-of-the-week into what is, essentially, a character drama. "Jane eventually becomes like a consultant for the FBI, because they realize that she's not just the messenger," Gero says. "The audience and the team slowly realize these cases are not haphazard. They're part of a big matrix that whoever did this to her wants the FBI to see. And so, the cases themselves have meaning in the mythology. And then on top of that, just week to week, what Jane is going through emotionally, what Kurt is going through emotionally, the complexity of their relationship, how she impacts the inner dynamics of the team and the team's lives, is great stuff."
"We're definitely playing with themes of identity and how much the past defines us," he continues. "It's a real nurture/nature conversation in the first season about, like, what kind of person are you if you don't remember who you are? Is there such a thing as a natural moral state or not?"
Blindspot premieres Monday at 10/9c on NBC. Will you watch?