USA’s new drama television series, Graceland, premiered Thursday night and, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed the pilot. Going into the series, I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was praying that the show wasn’t some mundane “case of the week” police procedural. Sure, Graceland has that element to it, but the twist that was revealed at the end of the episode set it apart from shows like NCIS or CSI for me.
The episode begins with the arrival of FBI agent Mike Warren, who has just graduated at the top his class at the FBI Academy, to the titular Graceland house. Graceland is the secret residence of several agents from the three different agencies: the FBI, the DEA and Customs. The house, we learn, got its name because it was seized from a drug dealer who was a huge Elvis fan, and the name “just kind of stuck.” The episode mostly deals with Mike’s adjustment to the Graceland house and the lifestyle there. He immediately hits it off with some of the other residents, but others are cold and reserved. I think it’ll be interesting to see how the house dynamic changes over time because the ensemble cast has a ton of acting talent. In the episode, we also get to see Mike go on his first mission. He hits some bumps along the way and there is some suspense tossed in there, but the mission goes over well and Mike gets the job done. It seems pretty formulaic a lot of the time to be honest. There is humor and sexual tension mixed into the action, but this isn’t anything revolutionary.
My favorite part of the pilot was definitely the end of the episode, which made the watch worth it for me. In the midst of celebrating the completion of his first mission, Mike gets a call saying that his actual purpose for coming to Graceland is to investigate his enigmatic superior and mentor, Briggs, who has just saved his life. Well hot damn, we have intrigue and an overarching plot. Without this scene, I would probably not be as interested in tuning into the next episode; however, I think this twist has the potential to make Graceland an engaging drama television show.
I wouldn’t try to argue that Graceland is a “must see” show by any means, but the writing is decent, the acting is pretty good and it’s well shot. It’s not an extraordinary drama television series compared to shows like Homeland, Dexter, or Prime Suspect, but if you’re looking for an entertaining show to keep you occupied this summer, Graceland is a perfectly viable option.