The executives at USA Network have ordered a new cop pilot, which is intended to attract a younger, edgier audience for Thursday nights during their summer line-up. The new series titled Graceland, follows seven undercover agents of different bureaus, from the DEA to the FBI, who all live together and operate under a beachfront property that was seized by a drug cartel with a penchant for Elvis Presley (hence the name of the show). The premise is centered on Mike Warren (Aaron Tveit) – a rookie who recently graduated from Quantico and was transferred to Southern California to replace another officer.
Tveit’s character is a very straight-laced official who plays by the rules, while his housemates including Daniel Sunjata (as Paul Briggs) do whatever is needed to complete a sting by any means. The show is a much darker offering than USA’s usual crime-dramas such as Covert Affairs and White Collar, minus the international locales and fancy set pieces. As one person simply put it: it’s a place where your lies are your life. With several other officers with their careers at stake, and multiple personalities, how they interact with one another makes Graceland worth your couch mileage.
If you like films like Michael Bay’s Bad Boys or programs like FX Network’s The Shield, then you’ll most likely enjoy this, as it is full of gritty characters that use brash language and forceful tactics on their subjects. And although it’s filmed in a bright and sunny location, the forecast is gloomier than ever.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this series is the fact that the first episode doesn’t automatically pull viewers in, with arcs for each cast member gradually building up over time. Each incident (as with much of the cable network’s original programming) feels real and with good reason: the series is based on true events. But while there are many things to like about Graceland, its lasting power is questionable considering it tends to come off as a reality competition, where each teammate is given a task to complete before elimination, so it’ll be interesting to see what direction its headed, and just how far every lie takes each agent throughout the season.
Graceland premieres on June 6, at 10pm, and is created by Jeff Eastin. Watch the trailer below and let me know if you’ll be tuning in.