‘Blindspot’ Review: Jaimie Alexander Leads Greg Berlanti’s Promising New Drama as Badass Jane Doe

The action-heavy series follows NBC’s “Blacklist” formula

Last Updated: September 27, 2015 @ 6:38 PM

If “Blindspot” star Jaimie Alexander — aka Sif from the “Thor” films — can persuade her Marvel Universe fans to join her for the NBC police procedural, the network, also responsible for similarly framed “The Blacklist,” has a promising new fall TV series on its hands.

One of the latest installments in the FBI crime-solving genre, “Blindspot” opts for “24”-style fast-paced, body-slamming drama, rather than the more cerebral investigative tactics favored on”Bones,” “Fringe,” “Without a Trace,” “Numb3rs,” “Criminal Minds” and so on. The show’s producers have indicated that the action-heavy approach will extend beyond the pilot, with every episode packing a punch — or three or 20 — and a new mystery solved.

In “Blindspot,” Alexander’s amnesiac “Jane Doe” wakes up naked and tattooed in Times Square with FBI agent Kurt Weller’s name stamped on her back. The plot has drawn comparisons to Fox’s 2002 series “John Doe,” which starred Dominic Purcell, who also turns up naked, also suffering amnesia, also wielding special abilities.

Executive produced by Greg Berlanti with creator Martin Gero, “Blindspot” also shares many similarities in its framework with network sibling “The Blacklist”: The older show (its third season premieres Oct. 1), relies on the nebulous motivations of character Red Reddington to unfold its drama week-to-week, while “Blindspot” leans on the initially indecipherable full-body tattoo art on character Jane Doe to present each of its episodes’ challenges — full-body except, of course, for her comely face. Both shows present a shaky male-female partnership at their stories’ cores. In “Blacklist,” the female lead is a legit government operative, while the male lead is shadowy. “Blindspot” reverses that dynamic — at its outset anyway.

In Episode 1, the FBI scans every nook and cranny of Jane, ensuring that Alexander won’t have to flash flesh each week in order to solve the mysteries of Jane’s body art.

“Blindspot” sets up the will they-won’t they question between its leads immediately, as emotionally vulnerable Jane literally leans on Weller, played by Sullivan Stapleton, who starred as Greek general Themistokles in “300: Rise of an Empire.” Weller’s conflicted responses to her touch reveal his deep suspicions of her apparent victimhood.

Jane later proves no pushover, swatting bad guys around with ninja moves. Her Navy SEAL training becomes one of the first mysteries solved by the tattoos. (In truth, Alexander’s slender musculature hews more closely to that of a ballerina or yogi than military-trained death dealer.)

The show moves quickly to establish not only Jane’s superior physicality, but also her hard-wired do-gooder tendencies and willingness to join the fray. At the same time, “Blindspot” creators seed their story with memory flashbacks intended to suspend the tension surrounding the character. Jane behaves like a Girl Scout, but has she simply forgotten that she’s the lethal tool of some nefarious organization?

As with “The Blacklist’s” weekly series of bad guys who collectively promise to be the key to unlock some greater mystery, Jane’s tattoos promise to divulge if she is the product of a government program or an inked menace planted to unravel Weller’s world from within.

“Blindspot” premieres Monday, Sept. 21 on NBC at 10 p.m.

See TheWrap Magazine’s Fall TV Issue complete coverage:
See exclusive portraits of Jaimie Alexander here

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