'Quantico' Is Off To A Strong Start

Fellow Shonda Rhimes fans, rejoice! We have a new ABC series that will keep us occupied and on the edge of our seats on those occasional rough days that a Shondaland production is not on the air. Set on the FBI training base in Virginia, the Quantico Season 1 premiere proved to be both entertaining and intriguing. It borrowed many elements from Rhimes' storytelling techniques (most notably the nonlinnear narrative) and, although it's still too early to know whether it will be as big a success as her shows, the premiere was certainly promising.

It presented us with a diverse cast — and right now all of them are suspects as we ask ourselves who framed Alex Parrish? The mystery is already multilayered, because whoever framed her is also responsible for the massive terrorist attack in New York City. Is she simply a convenient scapegoat? It doesn't seem that way, since the brief teaser we got at the end of the premiere stated that Alex has been framed since the day she walked into Quantico.

We surely won't get our answer for a while (because what fun would that be?), but the small clue in the teaser indicates that a high-ranking individual at the FBI is likely responsible for framing Alex rather than one of her fellow recruits. (Although one or more of them could certainly be pawns in the plot.) In fact, it seems entirely possible that she was only selected for the training program so that she could take the fall for the major terrorist attack that was undoubtedly in the works for months or even years.

Although Caleb departed after Eric's suicide, IMDB shows that his character will appear in every episode this season. And, although he doesn't seem to have the smarts to frame anyone on his own, I'm keeping my eye on him this season as a potential suspect. We know he's a legacy whose parents are high-ranking agents, so it seems plausible that they have the means and connections to frame Alex from the inside. Caleb could have only been accepted into the program so that he could follow orders and assist in the framing of Alex. The fact that he'll be a regular all season doesn't necessarily mean he'll change his mind and return to Quantico next week, but it does indicate that his character will be important when it comes to driving the plot forward.

And then, of course, there's Ryan, who we first met during his hookup with Alex in the opening scene. By the end of the episode we learned that he's actually spying on her under the orders of Agent O'Connor. That definitely makes him look pretty darn supsicious, but I highly doubt the show would play its hand so early — so I'm going to go ahead and call him our first red herring of the season.

Series premieres are often tricky to pull off, especially those in the mystery genre, because they need to draw us into the mystery and provide enough teasers to intrigue us without giving away anything major. Quantico's premiere proved to be a huge success. The hour flew by and it balanced action scenes with an interesting human interest element thanks to the recruits' first assignment of uncovering one another's secrets. Plus, Quantico is shaping up to be a decidedly feminist show with plenty of diversity when it comes to religion, race, and sexuality — and that's something the TV landscape desperately needs.

Who framed Alex? What other secrets are the recruits and their instructors hiding? I'll definitely be tuning in every week to find out.

Image: Guy D'Alema/ABC