Quantico and why ABC has cast itself into a corner

Recently I came across ABC’s new terrorist drama: ‘Quantico’, premiering later this year. Watching former Miss World Priyanka Chopra entering the hallowed halls of ‘Quantico’, I felt a visceral reaction that can in summed up in three short sentences: Great premise. Promising secondary cast. Who hired Priyanka Chopra?

Still from ABC’s Quantico

Don’t get me wrong. I think Priyanka Chopra is a really good actress. She’s done some fabulous work in Bollywood from Fashion to Kaminey and brilliantly managed to walk the fine line between Bollywood commercialism and character-driven roles.

However, this particular show rankles, especially coming on the heels of PC’s last Americanized venture: ‘Exotic’. Priyanka has this idea that she wants to change the way the world views Bollywood and India. While the principle is noble, the execution leaves much to be desired. What Priyanka may not realize or has probably considered and disregarded is that through projects like ‘Exotic’, ‘In My City’ and ‘Quantico’, she is just replacing one stereotype with another.

The world is moving away from seeing us Indians as Appu in The Simpsons to branding us as two distinct types of Indians: the ignorant, oppressed, impoverished villager and the urban, modern Indian determined to reject traditional mindsets and adopt what’s perceived as the ‘West’ culture. It is this second stereotype that Priyanka’s character in Quantico promotes.

As much as Priyanka claims that she has tried to stay away from Indian stereotyped roles; choosing roles of American characters with American accents, her voice betrays her. Rather than an American accent, she adopts the cliched Indian-adopting-an-American accent (think Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in The Pink Panther 2). Is this a bad thing? Maybe, maybe not.


However, PC’s accent is not the only problem with her casting. The ABC producers probably believed that by casting Priyanka, they would activate a billion more fans for the show. They weren’t wrong. Within an hour of the promo launch, both Priyanka Chopra and ‘Quantico’ were trending in the Indian sub-continent.

But is the allure of Priyanka Chopra enough? I don’t think so. Billions will tune in/ download the pilot of Quantico out of curiosity and Indian pride but how long will they stay engaged to the thriller drama is up for debate. Even with the undertones of Homeland and 24 in ‘Quantico’, I have a feeling that the writers have cast themselves into a corner on this one.

For those who haven’t seen it yet, you can check out the promo here: ABC’s Quantico.


3 thoughts on “Quantico and why ABC has cast itself into a corner

  1. Quantico is one f my favorite shows this season. It is about the FBI training academy, which in context fits the reason for this actress and others to want to become FBI agents. They are about fighting terrorists. The show is fascinating to me because of the segments of training procedures, and the casting is interesting. The star is now on the run tryin to prove that she is not in fact a traitor. I like the twins, two Muslim women posing as one person. Also the male star, who last starred as the father of a young girl with magical powers.

    I think that the casting of Priyanka is appropriate–although I admit I knew nothing about her before. The fact that she is in character playing a role where she is both beautiful and sexy AND a rough and tough government agent besides sends a message (to me anyway) that there is an important role in the job as FBI agent that is appropriate and indicates that she, can be true to her original culture and also loyal and dedicated to her job and her adopted country. 🙂

  2. That’s an interesting point. I think perhaps because I’ve seen her Bollywood roles that I felt that maybe Priyanka could do better as Alex Parrish. On the whole, she essays the character really well. I just think that perhaps she could emote better when she’s scared or pushed into a corner. Right now, it feels a little theatrical / soap opera to me.

  3. well the show is sort of like a soap opera, in that aside from the training of the FBI student-agents, there are various other plotting side themes. However, the plot revolves around the training, whih I still find very interesting. I also like Madam Secretary, which deals with the activities of the Secretary of State’s office. I like the star, and supporting acting staff…what I might not like is the solutions to really important world crises are so fast, it is hard to believe.

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