Late to the Party: Should I be Watching NBC's Crossing Lines?
Aug 18 2013 11:20 am CET


I mean, I'm still watching it, but save yourself the disappointment. Go! Save yourselves! I cry, shouting a cliché backed by an instantly forgettable gravitas and/or accent. And you do go. And that's good, because otherwise... you would still be there? Or something. I dunno. Ooo, is that a pretty moment of high tech policing? Man, that reminds me of all the style and promise this show had in the pilot. Remember that? And also other cop shows? Hey look, there's that vaguely interesting plot thread we dropped three episodes ago! Oh, the credits are here already? I wonder what's in the fridge...

Crossing Lines was friggin' catnip to many, myself included, when it debuted. A police procedural, set in all of Europe, with all of Europe (or at least the parts that Americans know) represented by a crack team of international police skill sets. Guten tag Herr German technology genius. Oi! Irish SWAT guy. Hello incredibly beautiful Italian "undercover" (because she blends in so well!) specialist. And William Fichtner portrays a weary but superb American detective? And Donald Sutherland is in it to have a grandfatherly beard? Sign me up!

Oh, said the producers and/or network executives, but there will be more! We won't just have them go from country to country dealing with crimes both specific and general, oh no. There will be an Overarching Purpose to Fichtner's involvement. Okay, we all said, he's very believable, so go ahead – just so long as you keep having interesting crimes and interesting criminals like in that there pilot episode. Sure thing! Said the executives, not understanding that "sure thing" means "we agree." I suspect English isn't their first language. Nor is television.

I'm fine with a different country, and thus a different accent on the guest stars every week. I love it when a plan comes together and thus would be loving a group of purposely distinct individuals forming a crack team. I'm even fine with both the French dude in charge and Fichtner having Deep Dark Histories that may be connected to one another? Despite Sutherland talking to both of them about what I think is this very question all my memory can dredge up on this topic is "What nationality is Donald Sutherland playing? I'm just curious. Also, whose wife is that?"

But here's the real problem: ALL OF THEM, every member of the team – including I think the dead ones and the one who keeps wandering off every other episode because they realized having two French people made the team less international or something – have a capital H history, and I can't follow half of it, and I'm the guy who had an alphabetized index of Lost side characters. The writers seem to be searching for something more than a multi-national procedural with one season-long meta-mystery, because – maybe with Fichtner aboard – now the show has to mean something, it has to go somewhere.

It doesn't, it currently isn't, and please stop trying and get back to intriguing crimes and multiple accents applying their crime-fighting specialties. I think I am, for the first time, hate-watching a show. I hope it doesn't get boring – episode seven is making me worried – because then I'd have no excuse for leaving it in my queue. And if I take it out of my queue, then... I suppose I might miss... something?

Curse you, Crossing Lines! You've foiled me this time by hitting just enough familiar notes to keep me watching. But I, the previously unmentioned and yet Vitally Important plot point of a villain, will be back! And you'll know I'm back because a member of the team (I'm going to propose adding a Slovakian forensic accountant to the mix) will succinctly provide three quarters of my backstory, following which the team will deal with a diamond heist and then encounter me again in the last six minutes of the episode, foiling me via the clumsily inserted one-off character and/or plot device from the episode's first five minutes.

Arrivederci promising concept. We'll always have that serial killer in Paris.

Aaron Mucciolo –

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