I’ll admit it – I only started watching Graceland for Daniel Sunjata (YUM!), but the pilot episode certainly lived up to its hype. The first episode sort of reminded me of Point Break with Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. Young FBI agent learns how to surf while trying to bring down the bad guys.
Graceland is apparently based on a true story. The writers gave us a brief overview in the beginning of the episode:
“A beachfront property was seized in a drug raid by the US Government in an undisclosed location in Southern California. It was turned into a residence for top undercover agents of the DEA, FBI and Customs. The following is based upon actual events surrounding this house, unofficially known as…Graceland.”
The drug lord that previously owned the home was a big Elvis fan, which is how it got the name “Graceland.” The real Graceland was seized by the government in 1992 and used as an undercover operations base until 2001. The show is set in Southern California, but filmed in Florida.
The show begins with brand new FBI agent Mike Warren (Aaron Tveit) graduating at the top of his class from Quantico and getting assigned to a new post in California with his FBI idol, Mike Briggs (Daniel Sunjata). Briggs is responsible for training Warren in the ways of an undercover operative.
The other agents in the house include FBI agents Johnny Tuturro (Manny Montana) , Charlie DeMarco (Vanessa Ferlito), DEA agents Lauren Kincaid (Scottie Thompson) and Donnie Banks (Clayne Crawford) and Customs agent DJ Jakes (Brandon Jay McLaren – who we last saw on Falling Skies). Mike takes Donnie’s place in the house after his drug bust goes bad and he gets shot by a Russian gang. He gets moved to a safehouse during his recovery.
The show starts off a little slow, with Briggs teaching Warren how to surf and assigning him house chores, but then picks up when the team gets involved with their first case. Agent Briggs is not at all what Mike expects and we find out that something happened to him a few years back (which nobody knows about) that gave him this new cavalier attitude.
Mike gets thrown into the fire having to go undercover for a drug meet with a guy named Felix to obtain more information on the Russians who shot Donnie. Things don’t go as planned and the Russians take Felix’s family as collateral so Felix won’t talk to the FBI. Mike ends up going undercover again as Felix’s brother-in-law, Frankie Bout to try to get the family release. The team has to give Mike a fast makeover with makeup and a background story to make him a believable character.
The Russians wanted Mike to kill someone and use the evidence as blackmail so Felix wouldn’t talk. His intended target ends up being Donnie at the safehouse. Mike wings the operation and seems to get out unharmed until the Russians double cross him and plan to kill him too. Agent Briggs swoops in and saves the day and Mike.
The first operation was a success so the team decides to throw a party on the beach. Mike gets a phone call from his boss and we learn the real reason he was assigned to Graceland is to investigate Agent Briggs, who just saved his life.
The first episode laid the groundwork for what should be an interesting season with lots of plot twists and turns.
There weren’t a lot of fashion choices in this episode, so I thought about what I would need if I had to go undercover at a SoCal beach house:
Wildfox Salty Hair Coverup ($98) This is so laid back and fun – perfect for lounging around in a beach house:
Leah Colorblock One Piece ($176) I really liked the ruffles on this suit. You could throw on a pair of pants and the ruffles would look great:
Steve Madden Goldrush Sandals ($69.95) Every girl needs a pair of flat summer sandals:
What did you think of the premiere? Will you continue to watch? And what would you bring with you to the SoCal beach house?
If you missed the pilot you can still watch it online here.
For more information on Summer TV premieres check out my Summer TV Preview Extravaganza post.