“Chase” at least earns its title: There’s lots of frantic running in this fast-paced hour, by a group of U.S. marshals in hot pursuit of the baddest of the bad. Yet Jerry Bruckheimer’s action vehicles have started losing steam, and there’s little to distinguish this one. Kelli Giddish stars as the lead manhunter, who can hold her own against a perp twice her size. Yet however polished the product, it’s hardly a premise that leaps off the page, and while the show deals with major crimes, the series feels more like petty theft from CBS’ playbook.
“Now who’s ready to go hunting?” asks Marshal Annie Frost (Giddish), underscoring the predictable “Let’s find this bastard” dialogue. (A colleague, for example, explains to a newbie that their jobs are “like hide and seek — only with guns.”)
In this case, said bastard is a ruthless killer played by Travis Fimmel (once the WB’s “Tarzan”), suggesting this might be one of those series where that week’s quarry is more interesting than the nondescript if inordinately attractive group of lawmen and women on his or her tail. The cast includes Cole Hauser as Frost’s partner — who unfortunately insists on calling her “Boots” and has a Tonto-like habit of arriving late to every confrontation.
Giddish recently starred in Fox’s short-lived “Past Life” (also from Warner Bros. TV), and she has a gal-next-door quality to go with her Texas twang. Whether she’s fully believable as the illegitimate child of “Silence of the Lambs’?” Clarice Starling and “The Fugitive’s” Sam Gerard — or maybe just the sister of Mary McCormack’s marshal on USA’s “In Plain Sight” — is another matter.
There’s obviously an audience for this kind of ready-set-go actioner, but with CBS awash in such fare, one would think NBC needs at least some kind of wrinkle to set its entry apart.
If nothing else, the Peacock web’s Monday lineup sets up a rather interesting juxtaposition, with “Chase” following the heavily serialized, mysterious drama “The Event,” as the network tries to climb out of the hole that neglect and the ill-fated Jay Leno experiment left behind.
Despite the requisite Bruckheimer flourishes, “Chase” uses such a 1970s template it’s hard to imagine the show inspiring much passion, on a night where tracking down an audience poses a formidable challenge — and check-your-brain thrills can be found against breezier backdrops on CBS’ “Hawaii Five-O.”
The title notwithstanding, in other words, “Chase” settles for inertia, when the task of capturing viewers would appear to call for bolder strokes.