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Aug 13 2014

Legends – “Pilot” Review. Major Identity Crisis…But in a Good Way.

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Legends key art _vertical (featured)Season 1, Episode 1

Air Date: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 9/8c on TNT

Rating:

 

“First rule of undercover – make the lie as close as possible to the truth.” — Nelson Gates

 

Imagine having to become someone else so completely that you begin to blur the lines of who you are and who you’re pretending to be. That is the dilemma facing Martin Odum, a deep cover operative (DCO) for the FBI played by our dashing leading man Sean Bean. A “legend” is a cover identity for an undercover operative and Martin has more than he can keep track of. Here’s the twist – is Martin Odum his true identity or is it a “legend” as well? Queue dramatic music.

Martin (as Lincoln Dittmann) has infiltrated a terrorist cell but now his loyalties to the cause are in question. Will his cover be blown?

Martin (as Lincoln Dittmann) has infiltrated a terrorist cell but now his loyalties to the cause are in question. Will his cover be blown?

If you are a fan of anything dealing with spies, then Legends is the show for you. The season premiere is wrought with tense moments, kick-ass action sequences, and explosions. Of course, there is intrigue, and Bean is downright fantastic throughout! He’s got moves like Jagger! I’m in awe of how he operates. The way Bean presents himself as he transforms from his Martin Odum character into Lincoln Dittmann is hypnotic. Lincoln Dittmann, an out of work construction worker, is one of Martin’s legends and he uses this identity to infiltrate a back country terrorist cell known as “Citizens Army of Virginia.” Complete with a stutter and slightly Southern accent, Bean is Dittmann.

“Pilot” introduces us to Martin by giving us a brief but very specific look inside the life of an FBI DCO. Martin’s personal life has suffered tremendously due to being away for six months being Dittmann. It’s no coincidence that Dittman’s faux personal life mirrors Martin’s in that they both neglect their respective wife and child. At work, Martin is revered in both a positive and negative way. His many successful missions have garnered him praise from superiors and colleagues alike, along with skepticism and concern. How many legends does Martin have? Having so many identities to manage can take a toll on a person, especially when your life is constantly on the line.

L-R: Crystal McGuire (Ali Larter) introduces Martin (Sean Bean) to their newest team member Maggie (Tina Majorino)

L-R: Crystal McGuire (Ali Larter) introduces Martin (Sean Bean) to their newest team member Maggie (Tina Majorino)

Throughout the season premiere, we are introduced to Martin’s support team, including his handler and DCO Team Leader Crystal McGuire (Ali Larter), who also has some personal history with Martin. Maggie Harris (Tina Majorino) is very tech savvy and helps keep the backstories of the legends straight – at least online. Nelson Gates (Steve Harris) is the Director of the DCO Task Force and while he knows the risks of keeping Martin in the field, he believes it’s worth it. As an aside, I am thrilled that Harris is able to showcase his acting chops with such a meaty role. I thought Harris’ small part on last season’s Justified was a sad waste of his talent.

A very notable guest star in “Pilot” is Emmy® winner Zeljko Ivanek who plays a radical extremist known as “The Founding Founder.” Having Ivanek as the villain ups the ante because he brings such a powerful realism to every role he portrays. You believe The Founding Founder is ready to blow up whatever he has to in order to make his point. While it’s unclear if we’ll see more of The Founding Founder, what we get is profound.

The Founding Father (guest star Zeljko Ivanek) underestimates Martin (Sean Bean).

The Founding Father (guest star Emmy® winner Zeljko Ivanek) underestimates Martin (Sean Bean).

I will say the strip club scene didn’t impress me. If anything, it detracts from the credibility of Larter’s character. Yes, Larter is beautiful and has a killer body, but was it really necessary to show it off that way? It makes her character look desperate and sadly, a little cheap. McGuire redeems herself later, proving she’s not just a pretty face, but I hope the writers don’t continue putting Larter out as the sex kitten because it really isn’t complimentary to her as an actress or the character she’s playing.

There is a deeper mystery surrounding Martin and his true identity. With a stranger (guest star Billy Brown) stalking him and ultimately giving him clues about his past, will Martin’s mind be able to handle it? He shows some signs of slipping into his legend characters with relative ease – could one of his legends be his true identity? I love the way the suspense builds as we see this mysterious stranger lurking about. Their confrontation is quite volatile.

Overall, “Pilot” definitely whets your appetite for more Sean Bean and his arsenal of intricate legends. I also want to see what the task force can do. There are many great supporting characters who I hope will get a chance to shine this season. Although “Pilot” focuses mostly on Bean’s character Martin Odum and how fractured he is with his various legend personas, Legends doesn’t mess around. People die in the spy business and some characters bite it in the premiere. No one is safe…well; hopefully Bean is because enough of his film and television characters have died in the last few years to make anyone have doubts. TNT promoted Legends using the hashtag #DontKillSeanBean. So Tweet it and keep Sean Bean alive!

 

What did you think of Legends’ series premiere, “Pilot?” I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment here or tweet me @judybopp.

Tune in to Legends, Wednesdays at 9/8c, only on TNT.

For more on Legends, go to http://www.tntdrama.com/shows/legends.html.

Follow Legends on Twitter @LegendsTNT. #DontKillSeanBean

LIKE Legends on Facebook http://facebook.com/legendstnt.

 

Photos ©2014 TNT/Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.

 

© 2014, Judy Manning. All rights reserved.

Judy Manning

Dream chaser extraordinaire! Judy is sarcastic and goofy! She is an avid admirer of all things supernatural, paranormal, and mystical. (She finally came around to zombies, but NO clowns...she loathes clowns). She loves to read and write, watches way too much TV, and enjoys many genres of film. She's enjoys music of the Trance/Electronica variety (and let's be honest most music from the 80s). She also has a wicked sweet tooth. Cupcakes beware.

About the author

Judy Manning

Dream chaser extraordinaire! Judy is sarcastic and goofy! She is an avid admirer of all things supernatural, paranormal, and mystical. (She finally came around to zombies, but NO clowns...she loathes clowns). She loves to read and write, watches way too much TV, and enjoys many genres of film. She's enjoys music of the Trance/Electronica variety (and let's be honest most music from the 80s). She also has a wicked sweet tooth. Cupcakes beware.

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