Graceland is the latest show to be called an original program on the USA network. Created by Jeff Eastin, this series promises to draw viewers in with both high drama as well as some key emotional moments. This should not be surprising to Eastin fans since he is also the creator of White Collar, another USA network staple. So what’s the difference, you might ask? The best answer is perhaps that the storyline is based on actual events.
Members of federal law enforcement agencies work together to form a task force dedicated to putting an end to criminal activities in southern California. They even go so far as to live in a spectacular beach house seized from a drug lord. By teaming up, various angles and approaches work to their advantage. For purposes of television, the group is limited to three departments. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has the most personnel with four members. The Drug Enforcement Agency contributes one member, and Customs adds a staffer to round things out.
Aaron Tveit from Les Miserables fame is the lead role as newly minted FBI agent Mike Warren, who gets thrown into the sea of seasoned law enforcement professionals after graduating top of his class. Green? Yes. Warren might have the book and street smarts to make it in a world where getting out alive means passing off some truly incredible lies, but he still lacks the experience of casework notches under his belt.
Good thing Daniel Sunjata, aka Paul Briggs, is around to teach the fresh faced kid a trick or two. Longtime Sunjata fans will likely remember this guy from shows such as Rescue Me and Grey’s Anatomy. Both actors are experienced actors with many credits to their names. The chemistry between them on Graceland is solid, and compelling enough to draw in viewers each week.
Using six characters as part of the main cast is a smart move. Viewers get a wide range of people to focus on, and the cases are diverse. One storyline is weaved into the overall continuity, which will likely take the entire season to complete. Let’s just say everyone has secrets, despite the claim to the contrary repeatedly made.
While there might be some dark moments on this show, there are also comedic bits thrown in so that the episode balances out. These do not necessarily fall into the laugh out loud moments, but rather smile worthy ones.
Only time is a factor whether or not the new Eastin original succeeds. New shows typically get people to watch the pilot episode, but they do not always keep interest and so ratings slip. Perhaps a volleyball game out on the beach would help? Four attractive castmates shirtless is a definite boost for business.