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‘Intelligence,’ ‘Killer Women’: middling’ mid-season fare

By David Wiegand
San Francisco Chronicle
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/02/17/39/gR9rj.Em.138.jpeg|205
    Chris Helcermanas-Benge - CBS
    Josh Holloway and Meghan Ory star in “Intelligence,” which will have a special preview on Tuesday.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/02/17/39/3W5kM.Em.138.jpeg|222
    Bill Matlock - ABC
    Tricia Helfer in "Killer Women", premiering Jan. 7 (10 p.m.) on ABC.

More Information

  • More information

    Intelligence

    9 p.m. Tuesday on CBS, before moving to its regular slot of 10 p.m. on Jan. 13.

    Killer Women

    10 p.m. Tuesday on ABC.



“Killer Women” and to a lesser extent, “Intelligence,” belong to the category of TV show you watch and within 10 minutes wonder how they ever got made.

They aren’t the worst shows in the world, and if there’s nothing else to do or watch, you might give them a go, but you’re not likely to make either a weekly destination.

“Killer Women,” premiering Tuesday, is about a female Texas Ranger named Molly Parker (Tricia Helfer, “Battlestar Gallactica”). She’s trying to get her husband to sign their divorce papers, has recently begun an affair with DEA agent Dan Winston (Marc Blucas, “Necessary Roughness”), and has a no-nonsense boss, Luis Zea (Alex Fernandez, “Dallas”), who doesn’t want to know when she bends the rules.

The pilot begins with a leggy young woman in a tight-fitting red dress pausing in front of the Alamo before heading off to commit murder in front of a crowd of witnesses. Nonetheless, Molly believes there is more to the woman’s story than the San Antonio cops do, and the game, such as it is, is afoot.

The rest of the episode plays out just as we know it will.

The performances are OK, and it would be nice to see Helfer in better material. The good thing about the show is that it has a large number of Latino actors.

As for the reason “Killer Women” made it on to TV, two words: Sofia Vergara, who’s one of the executive producers. It probably doesn’t hurt ABC to support one of its biggest stars.

“Intelligence,” also premiering Tuesday before moving to its Monday slot, wasn’t so much developed by Michael Seitzman as it was assembled from elements of other shows. That could describe much of broadcast TV, but it won’t take long before you find yourself thinking, “Where have I seen this before?”

The series, based on a John Dixon novel, is about a special government agent named Gabriel (Josh Holloway, “Lost”) who has a microchip implanted in his brain that gives him instant access to virtually any data in the world, not to mention WiFi, telephone and satellite.

Talk about bundling!

In the pilot, he’s assigned a special Secret Service agent named Riley Neal (Meghan Ory, “Once Upon a Time”) to protect him. She’s going to be his minder, and yes he does mind, but he has to deal with it because the boss of cyber agency they work for, Lillian Strand (Marg Helgenberger, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”) insists.

The guy who invented the chip (John Billingsley, “True Blood”) has been kidnapped by a rogue Chinese agent and his henchmen because they want a chip of their own. Gabriel and Riley are assigned to rescue him, but for a while, we get a lot of character establishment, including the sealed record of Riley’s criminal past and the apparent death of Gabriel’s wife, Amelia, in a terrorist operation. Amelia spent two years infiltrating enemy operations and the official story is that she was “turned” and is dead.

The second episode is slightly better, as the team tries to stop terrorists who have developed a suicide bomb that can be swallowed and doesn’t set off metal detectors.

Both of these shows are what mid-season used to be all about. In recent years, though, as television’s definition of “seasons” has evolved, even broadcast has been trying to offer better shows in January. This month will see the return of “Girls,” the new HBO series “True Detective” and “Looking,” a new Starz pirate drama called “Black Sails,” “Downton Abbey” and “Sherlock” on PBS, and on the same night “Killer Women” and “Intelligence” premiere, the return of “Justified” on FX.

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