Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Morris Chestnut as Will Keaton, John Finn as Richard Bregman, Jennifer Carpenter as Erica Shepherd in The Enemy Within's pilot episode.

Will Hart/NBC

If you’ve been watching non-Netflix TV over the last while, the promotion of two new network series has been inescapable. They are Whiskey Cavalier and The Enemy Within.

You can get the total gist of Whiskey Cavalier from the trailers. It’s all breezy, romantic action featuring two good-looking actors playing characters who bicker a lot and flirt a little, while fighting international crime in glamorous locations. He’s FBI and a sensitive, by-the-book guy. She’s CIA and madly incautious. It’s a lot of fun, actually, and made mostly by people with a history of making comedy series. It airs Wednesday, ABC, CTV, 10 p.m. and you can catch up online.

The Enemy Within (Sunday, CTV, 10 p.m. and Monday, NBC, 10 p.m.) is a different kettle of cod and the more interesting of the two series. Outrageous in its xenophobia and paranoia, it tells you straight away that in its fictional world there are 100,000 foreign spies operating in the United States. These nefarious no-goodniks are everywhere and liable to cause mayhem at any moment. This is not a series with much nuance and it’s the better entertainment for that.

Story continues below advertisement

The show borrows heavily, especially from The Blacklist and from 24. From the former it borrows its core plotline and from the latter it steals the paranoia and endlessly twisting narrative as yet another traitor is revealed.

Mainly what it has going for it is Jennifer Carpenter as Erica Shepherd, a former CIA operative who has spent the past three years in a supermax prison because she betrayed four other CIA agents who were then killed. Very, very reluctantly, FBI Agent Will Keaton (Morris Chestnut) has Erica pulled out of prison to help understand a new series of attacks on the United States and help capture the terrorist mastermind behind it all.

Carpenter is best known for playing Debra Morgan, sister to the good-hearted serial killer Dexter Morgan on Showtime’s Dexter. Her flamboyance with foul language and gauche physical presence made her an adored character. Here she’s obliged to play a figure usually played by male actors who add a rococo quality to their villainy. Think James Spader on The Blacklist or Anthony Hopkins in one of his outings as Hannibal Lecter. The Erica character is far more subdued, steely and cunning. And Carpenter is relishing the adamantine quality of the figure. She is also allowed to deliver many dollops of acid-tongued humour.

Meanwhile, there are escalating attacks and Agent Keaton is continually stymied. He has a hate-on for Erica to begin with, because she’s responsible for the death of his girlfriend. There isn’t much depth to the Keaton character and Morris Chestnut, who keeps turning up on mediocre TV series and doesn’t really have the charisma to make the figure compelling. The real torque of the drama is anchored in the passel of mysterious figures who are out to kill and cause destruction. There are plenty of action scenes and narrow escapes, as Erica mutters insights into what the no-goodniks might do next.

There is a bonkers quality to all of this. Taking its title literally, the show seems intent on revealing that one character after another isn’t trustworthy, but is, in fact, working for the other side. Earnestly paranoid in tone, the show is splendid escapism, if you’re looking for that. With its breathless emphasis on spies, lies and destruction, it breezes along. And it really benefits from Carpenter’s turn as a very mischievous but unknowable villain who might actually be a heroine.

Also airing this weekend

The Case Against Adnan Syed (Crave/HBO Sunday, 9 p.m.), will be compelling for the millions familiar with the true-crime podcast Serial. The story: In 1999, 18-year-old high school student Hae Min Lee disappeared, leading to the murder conviction of her former boyfriend, Adnan Syed. Eighteen years later, after Serial made the story a sensation, the case was reopened. In this new four-part documentary, director Amy Berg re-examines developments, mainly using the perspective of Rabia Chaudry, the lawyer who believed first that Syed had been wrongfully imprisoned.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies