AMC sent me the first four episodes of ‘Rubicon,’ and it’s the best show I’ve seen since, well, ‘Mad Men,’ another AMC show.
I actually watched each episode twice, not only to catch stuff I missed the first time around, but because it’s just that good. The production is feature-film quality, and like ‘Mad Men,’ no detail is missed.
The show stars James Badge Dale (pictured), who blew me away in HBO’s ‘The Pacific’ earlier this year, as Will Travers, an analyst at a New York City-based federal intelligence agency. Basically, he and his fellow analysts are given files and raw data to analyze, and then the CIA, NSA and other government agencies act on their recommendations, whether it’s launching a missile or starting a full-out war.
But all is not as it seems. In the pilot episode, a character commits suicide, and it appears that another guy is killed. There’s definitely some conspiracies and espionage at work here, and we don’t really know what’s what, even after four episodes. That’s the beauty of ‘Rubicon.’ I have no idea what’s going to happen, and I’m totally hooked.
James Badge Dale is completely mesmerizing as a guy who lost his wife and child during the 9/11 attacks. He’s one of those actors who says a lot without saying much at all. The rest of the characters are really well-cast, as well. Miranda Richardson plays Katherine Rhumor, the wife of a wealthy guy who spins the story from the first episode.
Arliss Howard (pictured, with Dale) is Kale Ingram, Will’s immediate superior at the office, and Michael Cristofer plays Truxton Spangler, another higher-up. He’s got kind of a Frank Langella look about him. The other analysts include Christopher Even Welch as frustrated and angry Grant Test; Dallas Roberts as nerdy Miles Fiedler; and Lauren Hodges as alcoholic newbie Tanya MacGaffin. Jessica Collins plays Maggie Young, the person who keeps the office running.
Roger Robinson plays Ed Bancroft, a mysterious retired analyst whom Will connects with after the tragic events of the first episode. You know that Ed knows more than he lets on, but is probably afraid to say so.
As mentioned, the production is top-notch, and one of the things I love about ‘Rubicon’ is the absolutely gorgeous visuals in practically every scene. Since part of the analyst’s duties include cracking codes, we get lots of geometric visuals of buildings, train stations, windows, sidewalks and the like.
As executive producer Henry Bromell says in the bonus feature that came with the screener episodes, “’Rubicon’ is rooted in our love for paranoid political suspense thrillers of the early 1970s, movies like ‘The Parallax View,’ ‘All the President’s Men,’ ‘The Conversation,’ and ‘Three Days of the Condor,’ in which usually a fairly innocent human being finds himself wandering through a world which he realizes is increasingly corrupt.”
That pretty much spells it out, with several characters in the “innocent humans who realize their world is corrupt” category. I just can’t wait to find out what happens in the fifth episode! ‘Rubicon’ premieres Sunday, Aug. 1 at 8PM ET on AMC.
Are you looking forward to ‘Rubicon’? Think it’ll be as good as ‘Mad Men’? (If you like ‘Mad Men,’ that is.)