‘Graceland’: Out with the old, in with the new roommate in the pilot episode

Aaron Tveit as Mike Warren and Daniel Sunjata as Paul Briggs in 'Graceland.'

Aaron Tveit as Mike Warren and Daniel Sunjata as Paul Briggs in ‘Graceland.’

All right everybody, tonight is the night we’ve been waiting for.  After what seems like a forever-long wait, Graceland finally premiered on USA Network!  If you haven’t seen the show or any of the previews yet, it’s about a group of undercover agents living under one roof (“Graceland”) who join forces to solve crimes involving the likes of drug lords and other “upstanding” citizens of that sort.  Their new roomie Mike Warren (Aaron Tveit), having recently graduated from the FBI Academy, is thrown into the mix suddenly when another roommate and fellow agent gets shot and sent to a safe-house.

Between the smorgasbord of good-looking cast members, a bit of friendly hazing, an action-packed story-line, and loads of secrets, I’m not sure what to talk about first!

I guess let’s start with the cast.  I’m going to be honest here.  This is one of the best-looking casts I’ve ever seen on television.  I mean it.  Every last one of them.  You’ve got the preppy clean-cuts, the tall-dark-and-handsomes, the adorable goofballs, and let’s not forget the beautiful ladies.  The cast isn’t the only thing that’s nice to look at, though.  The show takes place in a beach-town so the scenery, including the house they live in, is absolutely stunning.  But, enough about aesthetics already.

There were several things about this pilot episode that I really, really enjoyed.

The first is the whole idea of this awkward new guy going through a sort of hazing process, and it all seems to be instigated by one particular housemate.  Johnny (Manny Montana) is sent by Briggs (Daniel Sunjata) to pick Mike up at the airport.  Johnny, being a bit of a slacker, sends Mike a message to wait for him under a sign for what turns into several hours.  Once at the house, Johnny shows Mike to his room where Lauren (Scottie Thompson) advises him not to unpack.  Later, Johnny hands Mike a carton of juice that belongs to Dale Jakes (Brandon Jay McLaren), another agent and somewhat irritable housemate who has a hard time sharing, which causes a bit of a fuss.  Johnny also fails to mention to Mike that Charlie (Vanessa Ferlito) has a talent for disguise, which results in the two pointing guns in each others’ faces.  Although an instigator and a prankster, Johnny is quite loveable (and adorable) and I foresee him being one of my favorites.

Second, can we please talk about this whole idea of the agents being “in a movie”?  Not only is it a genius move because it allows them to all be on one page (i.e. when Mike used Johnny’s vignette about shooting the guy sitting on the toilet when he was held captive by the Russians), it’s also just downright hilarious.  Did anyone else enjoy the fact that Mike winds up “married to a hooker” in the “movie”?  It’s kind of neat that they can not only use this tactic when fighting the bad guys, but that they can also use it to entertain themselves while on the job.  I hope they keep this going throughout the whole season.  I’d love to see how elaborate their stories can get!

Third, how about that twist at the end?!  Mike was sent to ‘Graceland’ to investigate Briggs?  Love it.  I feel like this is going to cause a great tension between these two characters.  They have to trust each other because of the nature of their job.  They’re on the same side of the law and the job is flat out too dangerous to not trust each other.  But, they can’t trust each other at the same time because Mike has a job to do that Briggs absolutely cannot know about.  I also got the vibe that Briggs is suspicious as to why Mike was sent to ‘Graceland’ in the first place.  When he’s looking at Mike’s file, we see that Mike graduated top of his class and requested a job in D.C.  Why would they not have assigned their top graduate to his first choice job?  We know why now, but Briggs doesn’t.  That’s dramatic irony for you!

What did you love about this pilot episode?  Who do you foresee being your favorite character and why?  What do you predict will happen in the future between Mike and Briggs?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Also, make sure you head over to gracelandundercover.tv each week where you can explore ‘Graceland’ (the house), unlock exclusive clips, and enter to win prizes!

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