Sean Bean (Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) returns to the small screen in the latest television series, Legends. Based on the Robert Littell novel, Legends: A Novel of Dissimulation, TNT is looking to bring the spy game to their network. The series follows Martin Odum (Sean Bean), a deep cover FBI operative who embeds himself in situations which threaten national security. With each assignment, he takes on the identity of another person and he is good at his job. In fact, Odum is the best there is. When a mysterious stranger approaches him, Odum is forced to question his own identity.
*Warning: This review may contain spoilers
The pilot episode opens with Martin Odum undercover, as Lincoln Dittmann, within a group of domestic terrorists in Virginia. When the ATF executes a raid on the compound where Odum is embedded with his confidential informant, Odum’s identity as a FBI agent is disclosed. At home, Odum is estranged from his wife, though they have a child together. At the FBI office, we learn Odum has a history of going silent in the field. Steve Harris (Friday Night Lights, The Practice) is Yates, Director of the Task Force, while Ali Larter (Resident Evil: Afterlife, Heroes, Obsessed), plays Crystal, the agent in charge of field operatives and the head of Odum’s support team. The support team includes another operative, Utkarsh Ambudkar (Pitch Perfect) as Bobby the IT genius and Tina Majorino as Maggie (Big Love, Veronica Mars), the newest member of the team.
During a briefing with the team, as Odum is describing the back-story, known as as the legend, he has created for Lincoln Dittman, he unknowingly slips into character before the team. At this point, everyone writes off this instance to exhaustion. However, as Odum is leaving the the office, he confronts a stranger who seems to be following Odum. The man explains that Odum is not who he thinks he is; Martin Odum is a legend as well. Confused and looking for answers, Odum turns to Bobby for help in locating the mysterious man.
In the course of another undercover operation as Lincoln Dittmann, his cover is compromised and the team must show off their skills to ensure his safety. Crystal goes uses her assets undercover to get a message to Odum who has to spin a medical history on the fly, while Bobby and Maggie whip up the necessary medical records to back up his story. Zeljko Ivanek (True Blood, Revolution) is revealed as the “Founding Father,” the man calling the shots behind the terrorist organization, just as the undercover operation is blown. Nonetheless, Odum saves the day, showing no fear as he stares down the Founding Father.
Meanwhile, the mysterious man only offers more questions. Odum rushes to meet the mysterious man in hopes of getting some answers. He arrives too late but not before he can obtain a book which offers clues to the conspiracy. Thus ends the premiere episode.
The writers find balance between introducing characters, relationships, the conspiracy behind Odum’s true identity and the undercover operation of the week, even if the episode did lack the amount of action I would have liked to see. Bean’s filmography is littered with action roles, after all. Ali Larter gets a few humorous moments in character with Bean and the two work surprisingly well together. Tina Majorino’s character is clearly being set up to play a major role in the story, though we have yet to see where that will lead. The standout, without a doubt, is Sean Bean. His character work is stellar, particularly in the scene where he slips into character before the team. Given the setup of the pilot episode, it seems we will be treated to Bean transforming into a new cover character every week while the greater conspiracy theory unravels. If that is the case, I, for one will be watching.
Did you watch Legends? Who do you think Martin Odum is? Share your thoughts on the premiere episode in the comments below.