Last week, Brent McKee ran a poll in his blog "I Am A Child Of Television" (see link to the left) to gauge his readers' opinions as to which new drama would be canceled first. I wrote in with the opinion that it would be 'Kidnapped'.
My reasoning? First off, it was in the slot held by 'Law & Order' for the last 17 years and that built-in audience wasn't guaranteed to stay there. Also, the theme of the show is too similar to that of FOX's 'Vanished' which had the benefit of premiering several weeks earlier. And third, once 'The Nine' premiered, which would have the incredible lead-in of 'Lost'....... Well, I thought 'Kidnapped' would be a goner.
And then I got the chance to see the show.
I found it to be a gripping hour of Television and it felt more like a movie. Especially with such a high-caliber cast - Jeremy Sisto, Timothy Hutton, Dana Delaney, Delroy Lindo, Mykelti Williamson, and in a small role which I hope will expand, Ricky Jay.
And New York City is a character in the show as well, with several locations well used (like that foot bridge in Central Park).
On paper, the kidnapping itself didn't seem too gripping, certainly without the masonic layers of conspiracy being added to 'Vanished'. But the execution of the scheme and the mastery of the episode's direction combined to enrich the show to make it deeper without becoming ponderous. This puppy moved!
Sisto makes a great albeit unconventional hero as the mercenary hired to bring the kidnap victim home alive. And matching him is his former partner in the FBI as played by Delroy Lindo. In fact, Lindo had my favorite moment from the whole episode - as he walked into the Cain family's palatial "apartment" for the first time, there's this quickly doused look of surprise in his eyes as though he was overwhelmed by the massive display of opulence hidden away there right in the middle of Manhattan.
Hutton and Delaney are totally believable as the parents of the victim, Leopold Cain. And both of them have secrets that may play into the motive behind this crime against their family.
I'll definitely be watching again this week. Next week once 'The Nine' debuts? Well.... Hopefully NBC will continue to re-broadcast 'Kidnapped' on Saturday nights to get maximum exposure for the show.
Now, as for the Toobworld aspects......
My first instinct was to create a theory of "relateeveety" for linking the Cain family to David Caruso's character on 'CSI: Miami'. It seemed fated by more than just the similar last names - Horatio, Leopold..... Perhaps it was a family tradition to name the first-born sons with distinctive first names?
However, Horatio Caine spells his last name with that pesky "e". Family members have altered the spelling of their surnames in the past here in the real world - Ronald Reagan had cousins who spelled it "Regan"; brothers Pete Duel and Geoffrey Deuel differed on whether or not to keep the original spelling. But I think my reasoning to link Horatio to Leopold was flimsy at best.
One thing I'm glad about (so far) is that 'Kidnapped' looks as though it can be kept in the environs of Earth Prime-Time. This version of Manhattan seems to be the same as could be found in 'Kojak' or 'NYPD Blue' or even 'Taxi'.
And even though Delaney's Mrs. Cain seems to have some kind of relationship with a Secret Service agent, I saw nothing to think that we're going to get caught up with any interaction with the sitting President. For all intents and purposes, I think we can assume that the President for this show is the same one for both Toobworld and the Real World... ::sigh::
I blame 'The West Wing', you know. Ever since they made alternate White House politics popular, everybody wants to make some kind of connection to what's going on inside the Beltway. 'Commander In Chief', 'Prison Break', 'The Agency', 'First Monday', 'The Court'..... everybody wants to get into the act and so have to be shuttled off to their own TV dimensions. (Although it's my belief that 'Prison Break' shares the same dimension as 'The Agency' and 'The District'.)
So far, 'Vanished' is able to remain in the main Toobworld despite toying with national politics when it comes to the confirmation hearings for a new Supreme Court justice.
I'm hoping 'Kidnapped' can maintain its self-containment without the need to create a fictional administration. When shows like 'L.A. Law' and 'Live Shot' wanted to make a connection in their plots with the Executive branch, they called upon the Clinton administration which was in power at the time. But even so, what happened to the good old days with shows like 'Barnaby Jones' and 'Perry Mason' and 'McCloud' which never had to beat a path to the Oval Office for their mysteries?
Anyway, I'm recommending 'Kidnapped' and hopefully you have DVR capabilities so that you can snare both this show and 'The Nine'. (Or 'CSI:NY' if you are so inclined.) Me, I've got only the steam-powered VCR, being a Cro-Magnetic tape Man, so I'm hoping NBC will continue to air the 'Kidnapped' repeats on Saturdays!