With a take-no-prisoners pace and gadgets galore, ABC's "Threat Matrix" should attract those who can easily suspend disbelief and get the warm fuzzies from seeing threats to national security being blown to smithereens every week.
With a take-no-prisoners pace and gadgets galore, ABC’s “Threat Matrix” should attract those who can easily suspend disbelief and get the warm fuzzies from seeing threats to national security being blown to smithereens every week. “Threat Matrix” shows potential as counterprogramming for the aud that doesn’t give a hoot who wins “Survivor” or if Ross and Rachel wind up together forever on the series finale of “Friends.”Special Agent John Kilmer (James Denton) heads an elite force that responds to leads in the threat matrix, a daily briefing given to the president about imminent concerns to national security. Kilmer’s team has the authority to cull data and resources from an alphabet soup of intelligence ops, including the FBI, the CIA and the NSA, via a variety of gee-whiz Tom Clancy-esque technology. As a result, skein zips right to confronting the baddie and doesn’t waste much time on procedure. Writing around this does cause the show to veer dangerously close to campy (when one suspect looks nothing like the man caught on a security camera, it’s explained away as the result of massive plastic surgery) but the action moves so swiftly that such blather doesn’t create a hitch. Much to Kilmer’s angst, the taskforce also includes his ex-wife Frankie Ellroy-Kilmer (Kelly Rutherford). Tension between the two is the least effective part of the show, with Kilmer’s moony concerns over his ex-wife’s safety an unnecessary subplot used to ratchet up a viewer’s emotional involvement. The good guys vs. bad guys-with-bombs plot provides sufficient dramatic tension. That said, beyond the exploration of this awkward personal relationship, not much time is given over to character development of anyone else. The cast of supporting characters who populate the threat matrix team blend together. It’s never made clear who really does what job or why, except that they all know how to skillfully use their gadgets, which are shown in loving close-up. After years of the nets being called to task for the lack of ethnic diversity on TV, “Threat Matrix’s” overtly “It’s a Small World After All” multicultural approach isn’t satisfying either: It seems to act as a defense if the week’s bad guy happens to be an ethnicity other than Caucasian. The audience deserves more credit. Production values are slick, although the f/x shot of information coursing to earth via satellite has been used a million times already — and gets repeated more than once here.