Rating: 4.5 stars
ABC’s new show “Whiskey Cavalier” merges the best of drama and comedy following FBI agent Will Chase (Scott Foley) and CIA operative Frankie Trowbridge (Lauren Cohan) as they lead a dual-agency cooperative.
The show has plenty of fight scenes, explosions, comedy, drama and romance, and offers elements of a wide variety of genres making it appealing to almost everyone.
Foley and Cohan are both good fits for the show. Trowbridge, codenamed Fiery Tribune, meets Chase, codenamed Whiskey Cavalier, at a bar while the two are on separate missions at the same site. Trowbridge plays a strong co-lead that is not afraid of conflict and is cold and ruthless in her endeavors. Chase undergoes an emotional breakup in the beginning of the show. He keeps trying to move forward from it, but his ex-girlfriend, Gigi, pops up at inopportune times. He continues to be the emotional character throughout the first two episodes, a subversion of stereotypical gender norms which gives the show a progressive feel.
Even though the spy drama series was popular in the 1980s, shows like “MacGyver” and “Remington Steele” showcased strong male leads, while women took the back seat. “Whiskey Cavalier,” however, pairs Trowbridge right alongside Chase and the two share the spotlight equally. This show offers a more culturally relevant take on the espionage dramedy that has been largely nonexistent on television in the past 30 years.
Chase and Trowbridge’s unique dynamic often creates conflict between the two. They both want to be the head of their ragtag cooperative team, but neither is willing to relinquish control. Their relationship is further complicated by elements of romantic interest between them.
In addition to dealing with this tension, the two are fighting various enemies in an attempt to maintain order in the world. This show often falls back on classic and expected tropes. There are big explosions and gunfire, witty jokes and the aforementioned romance. All of this has been done before — this is not a unique take on the basic building blocks of an action-comedy.
However, Chase and Trowbridge are charismatic co-leads that have chemistry on the screen. The plot is not overly creative but includes fun technology and spy gear that is a feature of any action show. But the acting brings a new and relatable take on the classic dramedy formula.
Bill Lawrence, an executive producer of the show, also produced shows “Cougar Town” and “Ground Floor,” which both had solid plots that inevitably fell flat. It will be interesting to see where the writers will go from here with “Whiskey Cavalier.” The first two episodes offered a stable launching point for the show, and if the action and witty banter between Chase and Trowbridge continues, the show could be a success.