Over Winter Break, I began watching a new show on Netflix called Quantico. It follows Alex Parrish (played by Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra), a young Indian American who is at Quantico, VA training to become an FBI agent. That is in the past. Presently, Alex, an FBI officer, is on the run in the wake of a major terrorist attack which she has unrightfully been accused of. Season one goes back and forth between related methods of espionage and criminology in the past at Quantico and current methods in the present used to clear Alex's name. If you're not already intrigued, get this - this show has the greatest degree of diversity of any show on television. I know there's Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, both of which are great, but they are Netflix originals, and therefore follow a very different set of rules and expectations. Quantico plays on ABC and therefore is designed for the average viewer. Here's my top 8 reasons for watching Quantico. Season 1 is on Netflix now. Season 2 is on ABC and can be watched on the app or online.
1. Calls attention to current events: Exhibit A - The "Muslim" Ban
There have been a number of moments this season that bring the audience to recognize parallels between the universe of Quantico and our unfortunate reality in the United States presently. The most salient example of this was about two episodes ago, when the republican Speaker of the House Roarke tried to pass a bill that essentially banned immigrants of Islam practicing countries under the unspoken assumption that all Muslims are terrorists. This episode did not shy away from blatantly referencing Trump's Muslim ban. Fortunately, like the ban of reality, Quantico's Muslim ban fails when Alex and her crew take down Roarke and his collaborators.
2. Boasts incredibly diverse cast
Of the ten to fifteen main characters in this show, the about 75% of them are people of color. Firstly, Alex, the main character is a brown woman. On top of that, she's also mixed race, which I approve of full heartedly. Secondly, not only does the show have characters of diverse races and ethnicities (Owen Hall, Miranda Shaw, Dayana Mampasi, and Leon Velez), but also characters from diverse faiths. Yasmine al Massri and Simon Asher play Muslim and Jewish characters respectively. Essentially the point being made here, is that when one visit's the website of this show, the characters appear to look like a rainbow of every color.
3. Passes the Bechdel Test
I'm not advocating that one of the only reasons a show is quality television is that it passes the Bechdel test. However, it is appealing when a program strongly exhibits feminist propensities. A show passes the Bechdel test if it has at least two named female characters who have a conversation together that does not discuss a man. You'd be surprised, but most TV programs don't follow the Bechdel test. Most shows are essentially romantic comedies with a little drop of drama to satisfy a necessary plot structure. Quantico, on the other hand, is a drama about terrrorism. Therefore, Alex and her other female FBI recruits have much more to discuss than their respective love interests. That's not to say that they don't each have one, but its not the main topic of all their conversations.
4. Priyanka Chopra is a goddess
If you have never seen or heard of Priyanka Chopra, then I pity you. She is not only a gorgeous brown woman with an elegant accent. She a very famous actress in Bollywood. She's the actress in over 60 films and TV. She sings and is a devoted philanthropist. I appreciate her most in Quantico as of now because I think this role is much more substantive than the romantic roles she's played in the past.
5. Challenges racial stereotypes
The directors of both the FBI in season one and the Farm (a.k.a. CIA training locale) are not old white men like Director Comey for example. Miranda Shaw, the director of the FBI is a black unmarried woman and Owen Hall, of the CIA, is a single black man with a strong and talented daughter Lydia. Not to mention, the main character is not a white woman, but a gorgeous India woman!
6. Yasmine al Massri "parent traps" the crap out of the show
One of my favorite features of Quantico is the twins Raina and Nimah Amin. These beautiful Muslim twins are actually played by the fantastically talented Yasmine al Massri. What I really love about this relationship is that Raina is an orthodox Muslim while Nimah is much more secular. Raina's voice is more soft spoken and she wears a hijab, while Nimah is much more flirtatious and free spoken. My favorite of her lines came from the Muslim ban episode in which her friends and colleagues, Shelby Wyatt and Clay Haas, discuss the atrocity that is the Muslim ban. She says, "Ah, the real America -- two blond people arguing the merits of my freedom instead of letting me have it. The fact that this is even happening is an atrocity. We've learned nothing from history." On top of just great writing of her part(s), Yasmine just crushing the "parent trap" technique.
7. The women in the show are badass.
Okay, so this is definitely my favorite thing about Quantico. This show is absolutely not male dominated. But even beyond the wealth of women that control the plot of Quantico, they are all independent, self-sufficient, intelligent, talented, and above all not afraid to be themselves. Shelby Wyatt runs her own multi-million dollar business. Alex Parrish always listens to her gut and ignores men with their opinions about what she should do. Raina and Nimah are more than just diversity quotas. Miranda is a badass boss who makes mistakes. Claire Haas is the country's first female president! Essentially, this show begins and ends with women making the tough decisions for the better of the group and even the country.
8. Its not afraid to be different.
Quantico is unlike any show on cable television today. Its challenging the issues of today's political climate. It doesn't stop when its getting complicated or too real and raw. It's a show to spend some time in, enjoy the characters, cry with them, laugh at and with them, and recognize the significance of such a story.