RogerBW's Blog

Blindspot, season 1 29 November 2016

2015-2016 police procedural, 23 episodes. A woman is found in a bag in Times Square: she's alive, naked, totally amnesiac, and covered with tattoos. The FBI investigates.

Well, at least they didn't do too much of the whole dwelling on the sexy naked tattooed female body thing… after the first episode, at any rate. But mostly this ended up being a generic modern series: about 80% crime-of-the-week where Good Cops kick down doors and shoot the bad guys, and about 20% arc stuff about how "Jane", as she decides to call herself, got into that bag in the first place.

For that to work, the arc material has to be compelling, and it just… isn't. As the season went on and secret groups inside and outside the US intelligence community proliferated, I just got a feeling of undirected foreshadowing, like a J. J. Abrams series where the writers are at liberty to invent whatever they like – because buildup makes for good drama, and the producers have no overall answer because the show will probably be cancelled before they have to reveal it anyway.

The only stand-out among the cast is Marianne Jean-Baptiste as the local FBI boss, trying to be smart and stay on top of the deep political games while everyone else is having fun running around and shooting people. Anghenyyl fur qvrf orsber gur raq bs gur frnfba.

Acting is very flat. Plots are uncompelling. This is filler TV for the age when TV drama has got a bit smarter: it uses the minimum amount of smartness to be credible, spreads it as thinly as possible, and aims its appeal at the mouth-breathers in the audience. Naturally it was renewed for a second season.

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  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 02:16pm on 29 November 2016

    Tattoos are like all hand drawn art, there are tell tale signs of style about the artist. Even if done from a pattern, ultimately it is followed by hand and uniqueness creeps in. How healed they are, how faded from UV light or skin movement gives an idea how recent the tattoos are. Given the resources of the FBI and the moderately limited number of tattoo artists who can do good work (assuming it was any good), coupled to the length of time it takes to tattoo a large proportion of a person's skin, it should be possible to track down the tattooist. Of course if the series is as bad as you say they probably neglected most of that.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 02:28pm on 29 November 2016

    Some of that was mentioned in the early episodes (and it's specifically described as having all been done in a very short time, with extreme pain); the tattooist remains a mystery, though.

    But it fairly soon settles into crime-of-the-week "we've suddenly worked out what this tattoo might mean, let's look into it", which in turn shades into inter-agency rivalries.

  3. Posted by Owen Smith at 10:28pm on 29 November 2016

    Specific tattoos mean specific things that turn into inter-agency rivalries? The mind boggles. Why anyone would tattoo someone with such clues is presumably something the writers have no plan for ever explaining.

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