Review: Chase 1×1

It sucks


In the US: Mondays, 9/8c, NBC
In the UK: Living, 2011. But with a different name

Ladies and gentlemen, we have our first unqualified “too painful to watch” show of the Fall season. We’ve had stupid in Hawaii Five-0 but it was fun stupid. We’ve had dull in Terriers. We’ve had predictable in Outlaw. We’ve had simply bad and stupid in Nikita, but that at least had some decent action. But now we have mind-numbingly dull crossed with stupid in the form of Chase, in which US Marshall Kelli Giddish (last seen in Past Life) and her motley team-mates hunt down implausible escaped fugitives while simultaneously educating the viewing public about the Marshall service, Texas, rodeos, women, Texan music and her entire backstory. And running. Running lots. Because, you know, it’s called Chase.

It sucks.

From Emmy Award-winning executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer (“CSI” franchise, “The Amazing Race,” “Pirates of the Caribbean”) and executive producer Jennifer Johnson (“Cold Case,” “Reunion,” “Lost”), “Chase” is a lightning-fast drama that drops viewers smack into the middle of a game of cat-and-mouse as a team of U.S. Marshals hunts down America’s most dangerous fugitives.

Kelli Giddish (“Past Life”) stars as U.S. Marshal Annie Frost, a cowboy boot-wearing deputy whose sharp mind and unique Texas upbringing help her track down violent criminals on the run. Starring as the members of Frost’s elite team are Cole Hauser (“K-Ville”) as Jimmy Godfrey, an East Texas kid who never grew up and is a true American cowboy; Amaury Nolasco (“Prison Break”) who plays Marco Martinez, a good intelligence guy who loves to talk; and Rose Rollins (“The L Word”), who portrays Daisy Ogbaa, a weapons/tactical specialist and a woman of few words. Rounding out the cast is Jesse Metcalfe (“Desperate Housewives”), who stars as Luke Watson, the fresh-faced newcomer whose Washington, D.C. upbringing did little to prepare him for the Lone Star State.

“Chase” is produced by Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Jerry Bruckheimer Television and Warner Bros. Television. Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman (“CSI” franchise, “The Amazing Race,” “Cold Case”) and Johnson serve as executive producers, while KristieAnne Reed co-executive produces. David Nutter (“The Mentalist,” “Without a Trace,” “X-Files”) directed and serves as an executive producer on the pilot, written by Johnson.

Is it any good?
It is quite dreadful. Now, this isn’t the fault of Giddish, who’s good, if not quite the sparky fun that she was in Past Life. I don’t know what’s up with Prison Break‘s Amaury Nolasco’s accent but it isn’t pretty and K-Ville‘s Cole Hauser doesn’t have much to offer beyond the stoic, manliness and Southern accent he always offers. Yet neither of them are a real spanner in the works.

It’s simply the writing. It’s dreadful. The dialogue is largely clunky exposition, with Giddish explaining her character background while having fights with suspects (“My mother died when I was eight”) or the status of the US Marshall service within the US law enforcement system. Characterisation is perfunctory and largely designed to either bolster Giddish or to fit particular plot/demographic requirements (must have another woman, must have newbie to have plot explained to, must have Latino character because it’s Texas, must have manly character to appeal to Republicans and because it’s Texas…).

The action scenes are there purely for action, not because they make sense. So we have Giddish chasing a guy through rodeos and restaurants for five minutes (do these people do nothing but go to the gym? Even the bad guys?), even though there’d be no need in real life, and it puts numerous people at risk. But worse than that, it’s dull action – never, and it shocks me to my heart to have to say this, has an attractive blonde woman running been so boring to watch. It’s cliché action that you’ve seen countless times before.

Similarly, the bad guy has to be unrealistically, ridiculously clever or else the whole thing would be a simple chase show, rather than some vague stab at being Criminal Minds that makes no actual sense: let’s think like the fugitive, say the good guys, let’s learn what music he likes because that’ll tell us all about him. Really?

Everything is by the numbers and echoes any number of other procedurals on the air. By the middle of the episode, you’re going to be bored and insulted by Chase. Beyond having Giddish in the central role, it offers nothing beyond what you could find done better elsewhere.

Avoid, since I suspect it’s not long for this world anyway.


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.