The Recruit: Season One
December 26, 2022 5:59 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

In the parlance of the show, greymail (sorry, "graymail" for American readers) is correspondence sent to the CIA threatening to expose classified secrets. Recent law-school grad, Owen, has just been hired into the company's legal department and it's his task to sort through the greymail stack and weed out the true-national security threats from the bogus ones.

Owen lives with two roommates (including one ex-girlfriend), can't trust his closest co-workers (who live to prank him and make his life miserable), has to bribe a colleague (Kristian Bruun--Orphan Black's Donnie) with Adderall when he wants to get questions answered, can't be too explicit with his boss (for plausible deniability reasons), has earned himself a subpoena to testify on Capital Hill (in his first week on the job), and that's before he gets roped into helping an abandoned foreign asset ditch a murder charge.

From all appearances, Owen will likely be keeping the Men's Warehouse/Jos. A Bank located closest to Langley in business.
posted by sardonyx (12 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm only three episodes in. It's not flawless TV, but it's entertaining-enough for zoning out during the holidays.

I can't believe that the CIA didn't instruct all of its new recruits to scrub their Internet profiles of all personal information--or at least anything that can be used to locate them or identify their friends and family.
posted by sardonyx at 6:01 PM on December 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

I’m three episodes into this and enjoying it. I like the way Owen’s character is defined as someone who by nature leans into shit like this. I’m actually kind of reminded of Miles Vorkosigan who got away with the most outrageous things by staying one step ahead of the chaos he created. Miles never hesitated but just charged forward so quickly that by the time one hastily conceived plan flamed out he was safely away and already setting up the next disaster. There’s a bit of that in Owen.
posted by Naberius at 8:19 PM on December 26, 2022 [5 favorites]

i feel like this show is going to peg my suspension-of-disbelief meter pretty quickly.

On the one hand, big boss man has some pretty cool socks and the soundtrack is pretty innovative.

On the other hand:

We're supposed to be believe that a) a Senator would even be remotely intimidated by a fresh out of law school junior employee at the CIA and b) that the Senator wouldn't know about the Speech or Debate Clause or the Pentagon Papers?

Also that said same junior lackey somehow doesn't seem to have 4 layers of bureaucracy between him and the department head?
Can just expense a same-day flight to a place on the Department of State Do Not Travel list no less without filling in a travel authorization form (which needs to be signed by a supervisor)?
Has an office.
With a door.
Has no one involved in this show ever worked for the government?

I'll give it a another episode but this is looking like a DNF.
posted by madajb at 1:48 AM on December 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

it reminds me of Alias, only funnier. Mostly watching Noah get bullied and cause chaos is great.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 4:54 AM on December 27, 2022

It's a fun watch, not at all realistic unless you can visualize a young attorney with the skillz and street smahts of John McClane.

The directory was on a morning news show and the generally ok host was pretty enthusiastic. The director emphasized they were showing all the boring paperwork and infighting of day to day CIA workers. Yeah, like the protagonist had an office with a door as noted by madajb. It does have fun plot twists and a pretty twerky cliff hanger.
posted by sammyo at 6:50 AM on December 27, 2022

Oh god yes, if you're looking for a realistic depiction of how the federal government and intelligence community operate, you are way, way off track. Not that I'm a CIA insider or anything, but if it really worked even remotely like that, the whole country would have collapsed long ago. This is goofy fun.

Just in case you know racing games, this is Need for Speed, not Gran Turismo.
posted by Naberius at 7:17 AM on December 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'm too old for this show, so I probably won't finish it. I've been calling it Zoomland. Replace Carrie Mathison's acid jazz with whatever the hell it is that this guy listens to.
posted by emelenjr at 7:51 AM on December 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

The show is absolutely cartoony in the way it depicts how the system (and the characters within it) works. That's fine. Sometimes all I want is something fluffy and stupid--as long as it's internally consistent--and this fits the bill. At least, it has up until episode four, which has two points that bugged me:

1) The agency sex-for-information colleague recording the discussion about Owen's problem. Why would she leave the record button on? Yes, I understand he wanting to review the tapes to improve her performance, but up until now, everybody at the agency has been all about not hearing details, not being accountable, not having anything on the record that could be discovered by a political investigation. Her recording the conversation seems to fly in the face of all of that.

2) Owen's treatment of the witness. Up until this point, he seems to have been working within the ethical and legal boundaries of his profession (even if he as been willing to break other laws to save his own neck). I like that limit on the character--that he's willing to do whatever he legally can to fix the situation. By lying to the witness, he seems to have stepped over that limitation. I guess that's why Max essentially tells him he's a bad person who was easy to corrupt, but this feels like a misstep for the character and for the audience who has to be willing to be on Owen's side.

I suspect it doesn't mean anything, but I do find it interesting that every closing shot/scene involves Max.

I do hope the comparisons to Alias don't hold true in the end. That show went so far off the rails and into the weeds, chasing its own mythology that it was ridiculous. This doesn't have to go that way. It could be one case a season (assuming it gets more than one season) and there don't have to be ongoing mysteries. Although if Max wants to serve as Owen's unofficial guide to the spy world, that would be fine in a one or two phone calls/meetings per episode basis.
posted by sardonyx at 11:04 AM on December 27, 2022

It was good TV - we binged it in a couple days - it was accessibly and funny enough that my wife enjoyed watching with me. Whereas she noped out of "The Old Man", "Patriot", and many many others.
posted by rozcakj at 11:00 AM on January 3, 2023

I enjoyed the heck out of this and was very surprised by the cliffhanger ending. I wasn't expecting accuracy and I was happy with what I got. Loved seeing Kristian Bruun as Janus - he was absolutely hilarious (except when he wasn't) and pitch-perfect. Colton Dunn is always enjoyable.

If this was made in the '80s, it would have starred Michael J. Fox. If it was made in the late '00s it would have been Michael Cera. Noah Centeno gives really good frazzled.

Nathan Fillion was very obviously greenscreened, which did not match the visual quality of the rest of the show. Made me wonder if they'd had some other actor as the CIA director, had to bounce them for Reasons and Fillion was a last-minute replacement for those bits.
posted by rednikki at 6:57 PM on January 28, 2023

I enjoyed the show a lot, far more than I expected, binging it in two days. For me, it was just the right mix of sardonic humor, engaging characterization, and action.

I viewed a good deal of the show as satire, particularly TortureBot 3000, the operations officer unable to leave his desk and constantly on the edge of a nervous breakdown, the operator who didn't want to pay child support, and Nyland's kids running around his office and reading classified reports during the CIA's family day.

The one big error at the end - Hendricks not making it clear that he wanted the Geneva bank account cleared during local time - was something I foresaw, and was still disappointed to see. It felt like such an unlikely boneheaded oversight, and in the end the complication it created was unnecessary and irrelevant to the overall plot.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 12:29 AM on April 10, 2023

very surprised by the cliffhanger ending

posted by mcstayinskool at 10:56 AM on October 31, 2023

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