Producers Bill Lawrence and David Hemingson have both worked primarily in comedy, which helps explain the cheeky tone. “Whiskey Cavalier” isn’t a particularly stiff drink, and there’s always a danger that the “Moonlighting”-style banter between attractive leads will funnel the show toward narrative dead ends.
Still, if there’s room for a light-hearted spy procedural right now, the show feels like a pretty top-shelf version of one.
There aren’t many laughs, by contrast, in “The Enemy Within,” which casts Jennifer Carpenter (“Dexter”) as Erica Shepherd, a former CIA operative serving time in a Supermax facility for having betrayed her country.
Faced with a threat on U.S. soil, FBI agent Will Keaton (Morris Chestnut) is coerced by his bosses into soliciting help from Shepherd, who one of his colleagues refers to as “Hannibal Lecter,” which is pretty close to the vibe. As an added bonus, there’s a tragic history connecting her and Will, fueling tension between them.
Again, there’s nothing particularly novel about the “It Takes a Thief” set-up, and Shepherd’s motivation — given away in the advertising for the show — is fairly uninspired; still, “Enemy Within” conjures enough twists and serialized crumbs within its threat-of-the-week capers to sustain interest across the three episodes previewed, thanks in part to an overarching plot involving the shadowy figure that Shepherd went to prison for aiding.
NBC has rather steadfastly kept hammering away at this genre with decidedly mixed results over the last few years, rotating in “The Blacklist” wannabes behind “The Voice.”
Grading on that curve, “The Enemy Within” doesn’t bring much new to the party but offers enough polish on this earnestly played, tried-and-true formula so as not to be, unlike some of these shows, its own worst enemy.
“Whiskey Cavalier” premieres Feb. 24 after the Oscars and will regularly air Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.
“The Enemy Within” premieres Feb. 25 at 10 p.m. on NBC.