×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘Stalker’

With:
Maggie Q, Dylan McDermott, Victor Rasuk, Mariana Klaveno, Elisabeth Rohm

Having already tried a “Criminal Minds” spinoff in 2011 subtitled “Suspect Behavior,” CBS was somewhat constrained in terms of attempting another overt brand extension. “Stalker,” a truly nasty bit of business, is the next best (or really, next worst) thing, featuring Maggie Q as the head of an elite anti-stalker unit, which really just allows for tracking down a somewhat more focused breed of psychopath. Produced by Kevin Williamson — he of the “Scream” franchise and “The Following” — the series has a particularly nihilistic bent, one that can hardly be redeemed by its tidy procedural aspects.

Although CBS has done some post-pilot tinkering to smooth and tone down the rougher edges, the distasteful bones remain in place. That includes an opening monologue in which we’re told, “Over 6 million people are stalked each year in the United States,” which mostly sounds like one of those questionable statistics producers bandy about to help sell a show during a pitch meeting.

The premiere involves a killer who is introduced dowsing a woman with gasoline and setting her ablaze. The crime lands on the desk of Q’s Lt. Beth Davis, whose team, the LAPD’s Threat Assessment Unit, oversees celebrity cases (now there’s an episode to look forward to) but spends more time assisting ordinary folks, since stalking, we’re told — abetted by social media — is on the rise.

Davis’ TAU squad has added the obligatory smart-ass newcomer, Det. Jack Larsen (Dylan McDermott, rotating over after CBS axed “Hostages”), to shake up its dynamics. “Big personality, not for everyone,” a colleague says by way of describing Larsen, an assessment that exhibits a gift for understatement.

Larsen’s flirty banter with his eye-rolling boss (he apologizes, sort of, for looking at her chest) serves a dual purpose, creating a device to establish how smart the principals are while hinting at their what-drives-us backstories.

Still, as constructed, “Stalker” just feels like an excuse to showcase people being chased and killed in grisly fashion, with the semi-comforting notion the perps will be caught within 43 minutes. And while one has to grant such shows an element of creative license, the subject matter can’t help but trivialize a serious issue while heightening the perceived odds one might be victimized to ridiculous extremes.

CBS’ modest creative ambitions this season are evident in the network picking up direct “CSI” and “NCIS” spinoffs, and “Stalker” is really little more than an example of doing precisely that without going the extra mile and branding the show as such.

Q was great fun in “Nikita,” but here she and her castmates are stranded amid a tired series of cliches, hitched to a vehicle built on the hope “Criminal Minds” viewers will be too lazy or inert to push a button. Because other than clinging to whatever audience the show’s lead-in can funnel in its direction, nothing about “Stalker” deserves to be sought out, much less found.

TV Review: 'Stalker'

(Series; CBS, Wed. Oct. 1, 10 p.m.)

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Warner Bros. Television.

Crew: Executive producer, Kevin Williamson; director, Liz Friedlander; writer, Williamson; camera, Darran Tiernan; production designer, Chris Cornwell; editors, Rob Seidenglanz, Dan Holland; casting, Greg Orson, Lesli Gelles-Raymond. 60 MIN.

Cast: Maggie Q, Dylan McDermott, Victor Rasuk, Mariana Klaveno, Elisabeth Rohm

More TV

  • Joseph Mawle

    'Lord of the Rings' Series at Amazon Casts 'Game of Thrones' Alum Joseph Mawle

    Amazon’s upcoming “Lord of the Rings” series has cast Joseph Mawle in a main role, Variety has confirmed with sources. Mawle joins previously announced cast members Will Poulter and Markella Kavenagh. Official details of Mawle’s characters are being kept under wraps, but sources say he will play a villain named Oren. Amazon declined to comment. Reps [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Jacob Tobia Joins

    TV News Roundup: Jacob Tobia Joins 'She-Ra and the Princess of Power'

    In today’s TV news roundup, “She-Ra and the Princess of Power” Season 4 adds Jacob Tobia, and The Weather Channel announces the premiere date for its climate change special with the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.  CASTING Jacob Tobia has joined Netflix‘s “She-Ra and the Princess of Power.” Voicing Double Trouble, Tobia joins Aimee Carrero, Karen Fukuhara, [...]

  • TV Ratings: 'Watchmen' Premiere Draws 1.5

    TV Ratings: 'Watchmen' Premiere Draws 1.5 Million Viewers

    Who will watch the Watchmen? Turns out 1.5 million people, that’s who. The debut of the highly anticipated HBO series delivered that many sets of eyeballs across all the premium cabler’s platforms on Sunday night. For comparison, Sunday’s premiere was up 21% in linear on last week’s “Succession” season finale, and up 20% from the [...]

  • Variety Sundance Portrait Studio

    Melanie Lynskey Joins Showtime Pilot 'Yellowjackets' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Melanie Lynskey has been cast in one of the main roles of the Showtime ensemble drama pilot “Yellowjackets,” Variety has learned exclusively. The project tells the story of a team of talented high school girls soccer players who survive a plane crash deep in the Ontario wilderness. The series chronicles their descent from a complicated [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Writers Guild Boosting Efforts in Project Development Amid Agency Standoff

    The Writers Guild of America, locked in a six-month standoff with major talent agencies, has announced that it’s boosting efforts at gathering TV, streaming and film project development data to help members find new employment opportunities. The WGA made the disclosure in a message to members on Monday. The guild directed its 15,000 members to fire [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content