A handsome FBI agent and a sexy CIA agent who don't get along but work together to save the world... if they can overcome their throbbing sexual tension? It must be a new ABC drama, and boy oh boy, is Whiskey Cavalier an ABC drama.
Also known as the show that gave Lauren Cohan the excuse she needed to leave The Walking Dead, Whiskey Cavalier stars Scott Foley (Scandal) as CIA agent Will Chase — aka Whiskey Cavalier — and Cohan as FBI agent Frankie Trowbridge — codename Fiery Tribune, if you care — who meet while they're on different jobs for their respective organizations that involve the same target.
You'll never guess it, but even though they are polar opposites — he's a sensitive guy, she's a meanie — they work GREAT as a team (if they can manage to stop trying to one-up each other, natch), and by the end of the episode, they are put together in a task force to stop all types of very Eastern European-looking enemies from doing bad things all over the globe.
But spy stuff, schmy schtuff, because while Whiskey Cavalier spends 90 percent of its time on a mild case-of-the-week job, its consistent core is the rocky and comical relationship between Will and Frankie, who will no doubt share a kiss or maybe even some heavy petting by the season finale. This is peak filler ABC, a not-so-serious drama that just wants to, like, have a good time and stuff. And that's totally fine! Will you leave it having a greater fundamental understanding of how our federal agencies combat international corruption and terrorism? No! Will you be able to get through three-quarters of a bottle of wine and not think about your sucky job while watching it? Probably! Will you forget about it 15 minutes later? Definitely. And I don't think the show minds any of that.
What's worth watching about Whiskey Cavalier comes from its tone. Even helium would say Whiskey Cavalier is light. The opening scene sees a weeping Will singing along to "Total Eclipse of the Heart" at home alone with the curtains closed and a coffee table full of old rom-com DVDs because he's been freshly dumped by his fiancée, and Frankie spends most of the pilot saying she doesn't do emotional attachments and barking at Will for being such a softy. Car chases are scored by AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" to assure the audience that this is all pretend and no one except the standard-issue TV Euro goons will get hurt, and because there's a commercial about it already on the internet, I don't think it's a spoiler to say that the pilot's culminating struggle is decided by a tampon bomb.
A tampon bomb. Hell yeah, ABC, you be you.
Worth noting is that the pilot of Whiskey Cavelier doubles as a vacation with its travels around Europe. In the first episode alone, the episode heads to France, Russia and Germany, which adds to the intrigue, or what passes as intrigue, and fun. Maybe it's a soundstage, maybe it's a green screen, but it adds plenty of scope and eye candy, which is what the show offers.
Joining Will and Frankie on their squad are Will's FBI pal Susan (Ana Ortiz), Frankie's CIA buddy Jai (Vir Das) and NSA hacker Edgar (Tyler James Williams), who provide more antics as observers of Will and Frankie's reluctant chemistry and who have their own foibles. They're all fine and appropriately charming, particularly Das. But if there's one thing that's not so much fun about Whiskey Cavalier, it's that the three of them — all people of color — are relegated to the sidelines while the two white leads kick down doors and punch bad guys in the face (at least in the two episodes I saw). ABC has been one of the better broadcasters when it comes to addressing diversity, but this feels like filling a quota.
It's too early to decry that as a series-long issue, though, and it could be mostly harmless. Which is exactly what this show is. In fact, based on the above, I'm sure you already know what this show is and what will happen. It's not bad, but it's not good. It's ABC's idea of fun. And that means the pilot ends with Will and Frankie arguing about who the leader of the squad is while Portugal, The Man plays them off.
Whiskey Cavalier will premiere with a special sneak peek after the Oscars on Sunday, Feb.24 on ABC (estimated to be at 11:35 ET and 10 PT). The pilot will re-air in its regular time slot on Wednesday at 10/9c, also on ABC.