A drama about a group of trainees at the FBI Academy sounds like just another TV show. But when you add in the fact that one of those trainees is accused of masterminding a terrorist attack in New York, now we’re talking.

Quantico, one of ABC’s new fall dramas, is in a way two shows in one. The series flashes back and forth between the present (when the future FBI agents are in training), and the future (when FBI must figure out the truth after the attack on US soil).

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Let’s start with the present. Alex Parrish, played by Priyanka Chopra, is Quantico‘s protagonist. At the Academy, she meets some of her fellow trainees, the other characters who viewers will get a chance to know on a weekly basis. There’s Ryan Booth (Jake McLaughlin), Shelby Wyatt (Johanna Braddy), Simon Asher (Tate Ellington), Nimah Amin (Yasmine Al Massri) and Caleb Haas (Graham Rogers).

The producers did a great job with casting because each of them has their place on the show and the actors fit the characters really well. Chopra, especially, is a smart choice for the lead role. She delivers the strength and command that a character like Alex needs.

“The FBI Academy is the toughest boot camp and hardest grad school all rolled into one. It is not college. It is life and death,” says Miranda Shaw, the Assistant Director of the Training Division. She’s not joking. The trainees are put to the test in more ways than one. In the pilot, they are given their first assignment, which involves finding out a secret about each other. They’re determined to ace this test because it’s not a given that everyone will make it through the training. Talk about pressure.

(On a related noted, Miranda Shaw is a character I’m really looking forward to seeing as the season progresses. She’s had to work really hard to get to where she’s at in her career, with many sacrifices along the way. She’s looking to break the glass ceiling at the FBI, something that I hope she achieves.)

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Through this first assignment, viewers will get to see a bit more of who these people are. Simon, for instance, is a very nice and likable guy. Caleb can get a little too confident and cocky. And Nimah might have some secrets of her own, but will her fellow trainees find out? That’s the thing about Quantico; they all have secrets, but this is the FBI, after all, so will any secret stay hidden for long? Especially when they get to interview each other in front of the entire group? Some buckle under the pressure, with one incident taking a turn that no one (character or viewer) expected.

But the training at the Academy isn’t the only focus of Quantico. As mentioned earlier, the show also flashes forward to the aftermath of a terrorist attack. You’ve probably seen the previews where Alex wakes up in the rubble, with everything around her looking like Ground Zero on September 11 (which you can see in the preview below). Why is she there? Why is she being framed? And who is the actual terrorist?

This adds a new and exciting dynamic to the show. While watching, I was looking forward to each time the flashforwards occurred, but what the writers/producers have┬ásmartly┬ádone is to make sure it’s a slow build — don’t give everything away at once — so that by the time they get to the climax of the episode, we’re ready for the big action to take place.

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This first season of Quantico is sure to be an exciting one to watch. If the focus was only on training at the FBI Academy, that probably would have slowed down the show. But adding in the flashforwards throughout — seeing an agent-in-training accused of pulling off a terror attack and the need to find out who is the real terrorist — elevates Quantico to a higher level than it otherwise would have been (How to Get Away with Murder also employed flashforwards to great success), and makes for a much more action-packed, fast-paced, mysterious and highly entertaining adventure.

Will you be tuning in to Quantico? Are you intrigued by the premise? And are you looking forward to the back and forth between present day and the future?

Quantico premieres Sunday, September 27 at 10pm on ABC.

(Image and video courtesy of ABC)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.