TV Review: ‘Intelligence’

Intellegence CBS Review

CBS' hooked-to-the-grid hero has a high-tech gimmick but feels like a pleasant throwback

Intelligence” bills its technically enhanced hero as “the next evolution of intelligence,” but the series itself feels like a throwback — and a comfortable, well-constructed one at that. “Lost’s” Josh Holloway provides a welcome dose of humanity as the however-many-million-dollar man, a covert agent plugged directly into the information grid, essentially putting the entire Internet at his fingertips. With Meghan Ory as his Dr. Watson and Marg Helgenberger as the boss, this feels like a show developed when computers were the size of a refrigerator, but it’s also the sort that, if maintained properly, could run a long time on CBS.

Basically another way to reboot a secret agent story for the 21st century, the premiere describes Holloway’s Gabriel as “this generation’s Manhattan Project,” designed to tackle threats working for something called U.S. Cyber Command, presumably because UNCLE and SHIELD were already taken.

While Gabriel might be able to access any information at a moment’s notice — and, unlike “Chuck,” have the special forces training to fight his way out of a jam — he also has a bad attitude, and is still pining for his missing wife, a fellow agent who either died or went rogue years earlier.

So to protect the government’s investment, he’s assigned a Secret Service agent, Riley (“Once Upon a Time’s” Ory), whose job is to play the role of sidekick and basically prevent him from getting himself killed. If the playful banter has a familiar ring to it, so does most of what’s in series creator Michael Seitzman’s script, including the scientist (John Billingsley) who invented the Super Soldier-like gizmo.

As for other gimmicks, Gabriel can game out situations in his head, walking through three-dimensional representations — a helpful side effect that perhaps most closely resembles the virtual device from the movie “Disclosure,” with a touch of Sherlock-vision from the recent Guy Ritchie movies.

For all the talk about tech, nothing here reinvents the wheel, but the action is crisp and the dialogue breezy, as when Gabriel speaks Mandarin. “I got an app for that,” he deadpans.

CBS will launch the show behind “NCIS,” before it moves into the Monday slot where “Hostages” has helpfully lowered the bar on expectations.
That scheduling marks a return to the escapist, good-vs.-evil of “Hawaii Five-0,” which fared pretty well there, albeit with stronger lead-ins. While it might not be the most daring of  strategies, in practical terms, it’s hard to say it’s a not a smart one.

TV Review: 'Intelligence'

(Series; CBS, Tues. Jan. 7, 9 p.m.)


Filmed in Los Angeles by ABC Television Studios in association with CBS Television Studios.


Executive producers, David Semel, Tripp Vinson, Michael Seitzman; director, Semel; writer/story, Seitzman; camera, Sidney Sidell; production designer, Drew Boughton; editors, Patrick McMahon, Augie Hess; music, Clinton Shorter; casting, Tricia Wood, Deborah Aquila, Lisa Zagoria. 60 MIN.


Josh Holloway, Meghan Ory, John Billingsley, PJ Byrne, Michael Rady, Marg Helgenberger

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  1. DLN says:

    Go back and watch NBC’s “Search” from 1972 with Hugh O’Brian and Burgess Meredith. Similar concept, way ahead of its time. The pilot episode predicts the Internet, GPS, biometric security, and numerous other technologies with astounding accuracy. The agent, called a PROBE, is networked into a control room full of computers and specialists via a full-spectrum “scanner” that resembles a webcam. This was 1972, for God’s sake!!!

  2. DICK says:

    Two very good actors Holloway and Helgenberger, and good casting on the Secret Service Agent, will not carry the absolutely horrible casting of the rest of the characters and an absolute void of any real and meaningful scripts that could be seen as believable or interesting.

  3. Willy says:

    Apparently you have concept of what is going in the DOD. Cybercom is a real department the show is trite full of bad dialogue and no real understanding of how Intelligence commands work!! The one scene that amazed me was them showing up on a mission with a car clearly marked Cyber command …

  4. The ‘Doc’ shoots a state of the art sniper rifle and bullseye’s without glasses. Nerds that turncoat are left behind. Chinese girl with other chip is forgotton. But wait, there’s a missing wife, maybe, maybe not, so lets let an international spy go. ” Come On Man “

  5. T.D. says:

    I was really annoyed with the so-called “bodyguard”. Cliche, useless damsel in distress. She either needs to actually do her job and stop getting injured and kidnapped, or be gotten rid of all together.

  6. Peterh16 says:

    Actually Chuck is better since he is an ordinary joe thrown in an extraordinary situation. His intersect is a much better concept reminiscent of matrix, whilst intellingence chip is a so outdated idea. And you are wrong, chuck has the intersect which allows him multiple skills to kung fu, to shooting with eyes close skill access in brain databanks, meaning his skills is beyond even of that in intelligence josh holloway. The reason they gave a special forces an intelligence chip??? because he is a jar head. To conpensate for lack of “intelligence”

  7. IMHO says:

    This show is a train wreck.. Marg Helgenberger was annoying on CSI and she’s annoying here. The writing is actually horrible, as they force too much exposition into the pilot…Chinese enemies, missing wife, can-do sidekick. Horrible.

    It looks like they’ve already shot 13 episodes…there’s no way the series goes beyond that.

  8. Tammy Jones says:

    I know I’ll love this! I love Josh as a lead actor and I love this sort of action show.

  9. lotrfan says:

    I’m looking forward to watching this.

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