A mysterious tattooed woman and an FBI agent join forces in this US drama.
In Times Square, a duffel bag is left abandoned. But it doesn’t, as you might expect at the beginning of a new crime drama centred on a specialist FBI unit, contain anything so mundane or predictable as a bomb. Instead, a naked woman emerges. But why is she there? Why is she covered in tattoos? And what do the tattoos, which include the name of special agent Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) written across her back, represent?
Suffering from drug-induced amnesia, “Jane Doe” (Jaimie Alexander) herself isn’t much help. The mystery only deepens when Jane reveals the kind of combat skills associated with a Navy SEAL, and her tattoos prove to be a kind of elaborate treasure map offering clues about crimes.
If the premise for writer and producer Martin Gero’s action series seems to be stretching credulity beyond breaking point, the result is actually considerably better than you might expect. In part, that’s because Blindspot never rests too heavily on its high-concept origins, but instead gets its leads out and about investigating new cases, all keyed off by Jane’s ink, every week. Gun battles, conspiracies and disreputable people doing dastardly things abound, which is fun. Meanwhile, a story arc revolving around Jane recovering fragments of her memory presses on, taking plenty of twists and turns. Throw in strong supporting performances – notably the presence of Marianne Jean-Baptiste (lately seen in Broadchurch) as Weller’s forceful boss, FBI assistant director Bethany Mayfair – and there’s much here to admire.
Which isn’t to say the series is anywhere near perfect. At times, notably in the early episodes, there’s the sense of a show too obviously still finding its feet, of writers working out how it should be paced, especially in the development of the central, and sometimes difficult, relationship between Jane and Weller. Slightly ickily, the camera sometimes lingers a little too voyeuristically on Jane’s tattooed body.
More subtly, you might find yourself asking if this would be a better show if it had been made for HBO or another pay channel, where it could take more creative risks, rather than NBC. Not a series that leaves an indelible impression, then, but a polished and – ahead of its second season this year – promising mainstream offering.
The seaside date went OK, but it was time to leave while the bodies distracted everyone.
Jane covers her tattoos if a plot doesn’t require them.