Tuesday, January 7, 2020

REVIEW: 'FBI: Most Wanted' - LeCroix Leads His Team in Pursuit of a Doctor Who Has Killed His Wife in 'Dopesick'

CBS' FBI: Most Wanted - Episode 1.01 "Dopesick"

Jess LeCroix and his elite team of FBI Fugitive Task Force agents track a doctor who's deeply involved in a world of organized crime, drugs and lies, and is on the run after a phone call records him delivering his wife's fatal shot.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of CBS' FBI: Most Wanted.

"Dopesick" was written by René Balcer and directed by Fred Berner

From the very beginning, executive producer Dick Wolf envisioned FBI becoming his latest series to launch a franchise. Just like he did with the Chicago universe on NBC, he prepped a potential spinoff during the first season of the original series. And now, it officially has its own extended universe for CBS with the launch of Most Wanted tonight. This premiere is more concise and clear on what it wants to be than the series premiere for FBI did. In fact, that lackluster focus and the behind-the-scenes struggles during its first season is the reason why I never felt the pressure to watch any additional episodes. This being an improvement doesn't guarantee any future sampling on my part though. It's still a rather generic procedural that should fit in comfortably with everything else on the CBS schedule. In fact, it's very likely going to be a success given its position airing alongside the original drama. Julian McMahon is a sturdy leading man even though his character is saddled with the dead wife trope in the hopes of mining emotional depth. That shows that no matter how much progress CBS makes with its storytelling it is still prone to lazy and unoriginal ideas. Yes, it is incredibly tragic for LaCroix and his daughter to live without her in their lives. It's simply a story that has been covered way too many times. It presents as the only character detail to give LaCroix some nuance as well. It's much more easy to buy into him as the strong authority figure who knows that the members of his team can't cross any lines when pursuing these top ranked fugitives. The Most Wanted list at the FBI is infamous to the public even though the identities of those on it aren't memorialized in a grand fashion. As such, it seems like a solid idea for a procedural. In fact, it presents with a unique hook in that there is clarity upfront about the central crime. In this story, it's clear right away that Dr. Brock killed his wife and has been running a pill farm in his numerous clinics. He views it as an empire in jeopardy because of his partners doubting the legitimacy of what he brings to the table. Of course, he is a lying narcissist as well. He doesn't care about his patients. He will kill them just to steal a car for a couple of hours before trading off for another to avoid detection. His actions are absolutely life changing. Sure, this story has obvious contempt for the pharmaceutical industry and the numerous ways it is propping up the opioid crisis. LaCroix and his team simply don't understand how the people in positions of power are allowing all of this to happen. Is greed really the only explanation? If so, that presents a dire look at humanity and what we are willing to embrace at the expense of others. That can actually provide an interesting glimpse into the way that law enforcement works. There is an obvious time crunch when it comes to the cases that this team works on. They are hunting down these fugitives who have been forced on the run because of their crimes. As such, they have to be creative with the ways in which they can track them down. But that also needs to be done in a way that protects the privacy of those with a connection to the case. Just how much are we willing to accept the government surveilling and spying on its people? That can be a sensationalized topic used for toxic motives. It's certainly a topical subject matter. Reforms have to be done for the process. This show may present things in too simplistic ways. This hour really just focuses on the mission at hand. LaCroix is given some personal details with his dead wife and difficult relationship with his father. However, none of the ensemble members are given anything to really work with in a meaningful way. So again, it's unlikely for viewers to feel challenged by the potential stories told here. It's simply for the fans who are always eager for a new procedural to add to their weekly rotation.