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Hercules Loves

I am – Hercules!! After “Studio 60,” “Kidnapped” is my favorite new show of the season. A superrich and well-insulated Manhattan family finds itself torn in all sorts of directions when its teen son (Leopold Caine!) is abducted by a murderous individual who really knows what the fuck he’s doing Writer-producer Jason Smilovic, who masterminded “Karen Sisco” (ABC’s way-too-good-for-TV TV version of Soderbergh’s “Out of Sight”) shepherds “Kidnapped” as well. The new series stars Jeremy Sisto ("Six Feet Under"), Delroy Lindo ("Get Shorty"), Dana Delany ("China Beach"), Timothy Hutton ("Beautiful Girls"), Mykelti Williamson ("Boomtown"), Linus Roache ("Batman Begins"), Carmen Ejogo ("Lackawanna Blues"), Will Denton ("Palindromes") and Boris McGiver ("The Pink Panther"). And Mamet regular Ricky Jay! You know right away you’re in good hands as you notice the lack of pride world-weary Massive Private Bodyguard Virgil Hayes takes in correcting the elevator operator on a species of flora being transported. “We don’t discuss Virgil with guests,” Delany’s character reminds her preteen daughter (in French) as a “Times” writer lurks nearby. (If you’re a fan of Jack Bristow or Jack Bauer or Aaron Pierce, there’s an excellent chance you’re going to be way into Virgil Hayes. And I’m not even sure Virgil survives the pilot.) Jeremy Sisto (Brenda’s incestuous love interest from “Six Feet Under”) plays a character so badass he’s charged with cleaning up Virgil’s mess. He has a very kissable British partner who does not get kissed in the pilot. Delroy Lindo demonstrates all manner of heretofore unnoticed nuance as an FBI shark. Hutton kicks in some of the “Ordinary People” gravitas he pioneered more than a quarter century ago. Dana Delany is incredible, and today defines “milftastico.” But what matters Herc’s opinion? The Los Angeles Times says:
… There's also "Vanished," a similarly themed new series on Fox involving the disappearance of a senator's wife, but "Kidnapped" is easily better. … There's well-worn convention in the cat-and-mouse between Knapp, the eccentric hired gun, and King, representing the feds, but the acting here makes you forgive it. It's not just the stars, either; "Kidnapped," shot in New York, has the feel of a "Law & Order" or "Sopranos," with roles that might otherwise be filler going to performers who, in their little scenes, convey pathos (i.e. Michael Mosley, playing a newbie agent). In a show like this, at a time like this, the story, the "trust no one" foreshadowing, is ultimately the star. But "Kidnapped" collaborators Jason Smilovic, the creator, and Michael Dinner, executive producer-director, tip you off that they're also looking for character. It's in details — the way, for instance, the Cain family conveys its class status by speaking French to one another when a stranger is present. As things pick up speed in the second hour (Day 3, in the timeline of the kidnapping) and build to the kind of standoff that will inevitably punctuate each episode, there is a scene in a bar involving Sisto, Lindo and Mosley, the two vets praising the rookie for his action in the field that day. It's actually a scene about the giving of mutual support, and it doesn't come off as hokum. "To our ships at sea," Knapp says, raising his whiskey, as the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses" plays. There is action all over the place in "Kidnapped," but it's a scene like this — quieter and even refined — that conveys the sense that you're in capable hands.
The Washington Post says:
… "Sometimes, the world doesn't make sense," says a philosophical bodyguard named Virgil in tonight's premiere of NBC's "Kidnapped." Virgil has not only made the understatement of the week, but he's also helped set the tone for this superior, high-tension serialized drama about the proverbial "parent's worst nightmare" -- and how it affects not just the parents but everyone involved. … Writer and executive producer Jason Smilovic, ably abetted by director Michael Dinner, crams the premiere with so many provocative complications that even a doubting Thomas can see how a drama about a single kidnapping -- wrapped up handily in such self-contained, two-hour movies as "Ransom" -- could sustain viewer interest over an entire season. … "Kidnapped" isn't the show to watch if you want your mind taken off your troubles (unless other people's troubles have a therapeutic effect). It reflects a trend toward the grim and even ghoulish in new fall dramas. But for what it is, it's an extremely accomplished piece of work -- unsettling in ways that few suspense thrillers manage to be.
The Chicago Tribune says:
… Several new dramas, including the apocalyptic "Jericho" and hostage drama "The Nine," attempt to mine entertainment from terrifying scenarios, but none does it with more style and panache than "Kidnapped." Thanks to a top-notch cast and unusually intelligent writing, "Kidnapped" is among the more promising of many new shows that pay homage to the granddaddy of the current suspense boom, "24." …
Newsday says:
… Here are the three basic things you need to know about NBC's "Kidnapped": First, it's effective. Second, it's a serial. And third, but not least, Jeremy Sisto is the crusty, sour, dangerous and hairy (casually and coolly unkempt) Knapp. … Yes, there have been some valid questions about TV's recent embrace of the serial. (Too many? Will people stay tuned?) "Kidnapped" feels so fresh that viewers won't even care.
Entertainment Weekly gives a “B” and says:
… Consider the cast: Timothy Hutton, Dana Delany, Jeremy Sisto (pictured with Carmen Ejogo), and Delroy Lindo. No quartet is better suited to elevate this sleek drama beyond its generic debut.…
USA Today says:
… It's a shame miniseries are out of favor, because producers certainly have some great ideas for them. Take Kidnapped, a heavily serialized, 24-inspired drama that will spend the season following the kidnapping of the teen son of a wealthy family. Sure, the plot has been used before by a million movies, but a strong cast compensates: Timothy Hutton and Dana Delany as the concerned parents; Delroy Lindo as an FBI agent pulled back from the brink of retirement; and Jeremy Sisto as the brooding special investigator called in by the parents. Factor in a solid lineup of producers, including Karen Sisco's Jason Smilovic and Michael Dinner and Angel's David Greenwalt, and you can easily imagine yourself settling in with Kidnapped for six, eight, maybe even 13 episodes. But 22? Sorry, no.…
Variety says:
… Dour and dark, this isn't even the only serialized missing-person show of the season, and Fox's disappointing "Vanished" enjoyed a headstart. Still, a high-octane cast brings some promise to the show … No one is going to win any points for originality here, including a money-drop sequence cobbled together from every kidnapping scenario ever filmed. Initially, though, the fine performers, keyed by Lindo and Delaney, coupled with Michael Dinner's taut direction, at least keep matters moving, and the Cains' family secrets could be intriguing, with the disclaimer that they had better get there fast. …
The Hollywood Reporter says:
… Interestingly, "Kidnapped," like its namesake novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, forgoes most of the easy emotional exploitation inherent in the crime and concentrates on a superbly constructed and unpredictable tale of intrigue and mystery. Even the young victim doesn't sit around, bound and gagged, begging for sympathy. He is, instead, a bright adolescent keenly alert to any possibility of escape. All of this, plus one of TV's finest casts, makes "Kidnapped" one of the best of the new crop of serialized dramas. … Jason Smilovic has written an engaging mystery filled with fascinating characters. Sisto brings his trademark intensity to the role of Knapp, a dogged investigator who says a lot with very few words. Lindo is equally heroic, though slightly more detached. When they are in the same scene, which happens regularly, the testosterone approaches flood levels.
10 p.m. Wednesday. NBC.

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Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 20, 2006, 9:37 a.m. CST

    "Mykelti Williamson ("Boomtown")" BOOMTOWN???

    by Shermdawg

    YOU LIST BOOMTOWN??? The man was Benjamin Buford Blue, but people called him BUBBA! Just like one of them ol' redneck boys. Can you believe that?

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 10:10 a.m. CST


    by Shermdawg

    It locked up my browser twice, the stories are disappearing (basically anything that was posted afted and including Mori's dvd column), and now the Jericho talkback is gone! GONE I TELL YA!!!

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 10:18 a.m. CST

    This reminds me a lot of "Ransom"...

    by BigTuna

    It even has Delro Lindo playing the exact same part as in that film.

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 10:21 a.m. CST

    These days

    by nemesisdarkside

    AICN is always glitchy. The amount of times I've made accidental multiple posts is crazy. Shermdawg: Paragraphs! :D

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 11:44 a.m. CST

    Its good

    by ChorleyFM

    but not great. Some of the set pices are very cinematic, and the majority of the cast is great (bar the fed who gets in the way and the British assistant). I thought its biggest weakness was the writing which was very clunky and derivative, but I will watch at least a few more episodes. Virgil was pretty damn cool though.

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 12:04 p.m. CST

    The problem with shows like these is not

    by JonQuixote

    that you can't get 24 episodes out of a single crime or that it can't sustain your interest. It's that they usually move so slowly but significantly that if you miss one episode, you tend to lose all inclination to come back for the rest. At least, that's how it usually works with me. But I'll give it a shot and who knows, maybe in this age of TiVo it won't be a problem anymore.

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 1:52 p.m. CST

    My problem with Studio 60.

    by HellKing

    It was too much like watching the West Wing. From the White House to a fictional television show. Sounds like a downgrade and apparentley the ratings aren't so hot.

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 1:54 p.m. CST


    by 24200124

    Looking forward to this tonight. Sisto RULES!

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 2:02 p.m. CST


    by HollyW00d

    We shall see

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 2:12 p.m. CST

    Delroy Lindo

    by TheSeeker7

    Is this not the same exact character he played in "RANSOM"? Man, it's incredible to me how many regular movie actors (if even B level status at best) are coming to TV this season for the long haul, what with Lindo, Timothy Hutton, Amanda Peet, Amy Smart, etc... I guess it tells ya something.

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 3:13 p.m. CST

    Its got something

    by Wyrdy the Gerbil

    This could be great,the first episode was excellent

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 3:18 p.m. CST

    nip tuck has been really really good

    by JeanLuc Dickhard

    love the show....

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 3:46 p.m. CST

    Kneel before Greenwalt!


    Great cast, but all I really needed to know was that this is uber-producer David Greenwalt's new showrunning gig. I mean, when the guy behind the brilliant Profit and Miracles (who was also a significant contributor to The X-Files, Buffy and Angel) is shepherding a new show, that's automatically TiVo-worthy in my world.

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 4:13 p.m. CST

    I was thinking about checking this one out as well

    by Lando Griffin

    so the dvr will be set for tonight. Sisto rules. Like others I have had a crush on Delaney since China Beach and flipped when for her scenes in Exit To Eden (even though the movie was pure garbage) Which reminds me of the Dana Delaney reference in the Animaniacs theme song.

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 5:17 p.m. CST

    Garth Franlin has an ad for this on his site and

    by emeraldboy

    One of the actors looks Gael G Bernal with a beard!!!!

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 6:53 p.m. CST

    The "Napped" Part of the Title is Right.

    by bobbyjoe

    I dunno... maybe those praising the show have either seen more episodes or have seen a different pilot epiode than I did. I watched the preview pilot episode from Netflix, and it felt like a really long "Law and Order" episode with a "to be continued" tag slapped on at the end. Like "Law and Order," it had a lot of good actors, but everything felt kind of cardboard and very predictable t.v.-ish. I love Dana Delaney, but all this bore of a pilot made me feel was I wish she'd gotten to have a long run with something weirder or richer, like "Pasadena," instead of this watered-down NBC version of a serialized "thriller." I kept waiting for a big twist, or anything to make this different, but I never felt I got that in the pilot episode. Maybe it takes off in a later episode, but what with a million other shows premiering out there, I don't know if I'll stick around to find out.

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 7:22 p.m. CST

    i sure hope this doesn't remind me of 'Ransom'

    by newc0253

    because this looks like a good show, and i don't want to be reminded of a mediocre movie while i'm watching it.

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 7:35 p.m. CST

    James Urbaniak

    by Zorak5

    Dr. Venture is in this. What reason more do you need to watch?

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 7:47 p.m. CST

    K, Herc, I'll watch the pilot

    by Eaglet1138

    You convinced me to watch the pilot tonight, since we like all the same shows. We shall see.

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 8:32 p.m. CST


    by Russman

    err, I mean: WHERE'S MY SON!!!

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 9:17 p.m. CST

    Do you clowns ever see any flashing images

    by kabong

    on your TVs that you don't like? Haven't seen "Kidnapped," just wondering generally.

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 9:27 p.m. CST

    That very kissable partner is Jeffery Wright's wife

    by Jyoti

    Carmen Ejogo. I'd pay a fiver to see Jeffery grace the screen for this. Definitely secure my full season commitment even if the show's not as good as it's hyped.

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 10:11 p.m. CST


    by SPECTRE Agent

    So far, just cookiecutter. A very underwhelming pilot but the series still looks like it could have a lot of potential. But after "Smith" this came off as the lesser effort.

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 11:18 p.m. CST

    Dana Delaney was the best Lois Lane

    by Osmosis Jones

    And she's still gorgeous even pushing 50.

  • Sept. 20, 2006, 11:36 p.m. CST

    Not Very Good

    by Spuncho

    But no worse than Vanished. I'll give Studio 60 a chance, but I won't be watching this anymore.

  • Sept. 21, 2006, 12:06 a.m. CST


    by baseballfury

    I can't believe anyone is bitching about this show. I have watched the first episodes of more new shows this season then I have ever watched before, and Kidnapped is hands down my favorite so far. The first ten minutes, and the way the action and drama were handled was excellent, and the best pure filmaking skill I've seen on any show this season. And the rest of the episode, while dipping a bit deep into the "Ransom" sack, was almost as good. And I hope to God Mykelti returns, and he and that accountant/hitman played by Dr. Venture throw down. I'd fucking pay to see that. Virgil rules.

  • Sept. 21, 2006, 12:24 a.m. CST

    Though, I Admit

    by baseballfury

    Jericho was pretty good too, even if THEY dipped a bit too deep into the "Lost" bag, but without the awesome "WTF?" first minutes. I'll watch a few more though.

  • Sept. 21, 2006, 3:39 a.m. CST

    So far...

    by Ace Hunter

    ...the new season has "Smith" as the best pilot with "Kidnapped" a close second. "Jericho" was pure crap. Also caught the BBC series "Hustle" on AMC. Great show! Maybe our Brit friends can fill us in if the series is one to follow.

  • Sept. 21, 2006, 6:54 a.m. CST

    K, that pilot was terrible

    by Eaglet1138

    Sorry, Herc. Badly plotted, badly of the worst pilots I've ever seen. I may tune into the second ep, but only because I want to see this work, not because I like anything about the show.

  • Sept. 21, 2006, 7:48 a.m. CST


    by JackSack

    Wow, an unassuming looking badass, loose cannon who plays by his own set of rules and is constantly bucking the system. What a concept! Drop the Bauer wannabe and concentrate on Virgil and the Delroy Lindo character and you'll have a show, imo. Oh yeah, drop the meaningless musical montage at the end and the Se7en style editing, which muffles the tone of the show. Really, the Jack Bauer type character is totally unnecessary in this show. No one is going to out-Jack, Keifer, so why even try? I was wondering about this guy's profession? His price is a flat rate. What kind of PI works at a flat rate? What if it takes him like 5 years to rescue this kid and the kid ends up dead? Not a very well thought out business model. Plus, how many high society kids get kidnapped and held for ransom? Is this a common occurance? Must be, I mean he moves from one job right into the next. What's the legalities of a private citizen breaking into a house, shooting everyone in it? Does he call the cops afterwards to clean up? Can he just go around doing that? Couldn't he be charged with child endangerment? Seems like if he interfered too much with the Feds they could find some charges to press on him to keep him under control.

  • Sept. 21, 2006, 8:16 a.m. CST

    This show was a bloody mess.

    by Roguewriter

    Cliches, coinkydinks and silly silly writing (Delany's rooftop speech near the end in particular). Color this one off the cool chart...

  • Sept. 21, 2006, 12:40 p.m. CST

    Vanished is better than this

    by Subversive01057

    But Kidnapped seems like it will be better than Standoff.

  • Sept. 21, 2006, 3:33 p.m. CST

    Vansihed is NOT better than this.

    by nalapou

    Vanished is shit. And even if it was good it wouldn't matter because it's on FOX and its serialized, so chances are it wont last past December. Fuckers and their Reunion cancelling.

  • Sept. 21, 2006, 7:12 p.m. CST

    Herc likes all the crappy

    by Trim Master

    Herc likes all the crappy shows. Isn't this the guy who liked The Inside. This show sucks and will be gone in 2 weeks

  • Sept. 21, 2006, 8:41 p.m. CST


    by glodene

    Actually Vanished is starting to grow on me, but Nalapou is right in the fact that it probably won't last past December, due to its' low ratings, thus leaving Fox no other recource but to replace it with some (waiting in the wings) lame-as reality show. I enjoyed Kidnapped though. Jeremy Sisto is pretty intense in a gritty sort-like-way and Carmen Ejojo is quite yummiliscious. (In the words of Eddie Griffin "I'd like a cup of those lips, a plate of those titties and a side order that azz).

  • Sept. 23, 2006, 6:33 a.m. CST

    Full of clichés

    by Ruccola

    Wow, another black old cop who wants to retire... Wow, another shot of a train going in front of a man who suddenly disappears Wow, another cop who suddenly asks the smart question when the meeting seems to be over. I might follow this, but it will have to do better. Plus, I don't care for the kid at all.

  • Sept. 23, 2006, 2:19 p.m. CST

    A boring version of RANSOM

    by McGsStepson

    Same city. Same apartment. Same scenario. Different Actors. Except for the glaring inclusion of annoying Delroy Lindo, playing what will eventually be the same role.

  • Sept. 24, 2006, 8:49 a.m. CST

    Mamet Connection?

    by GrandMuffTarkin

    After seeing the pilot, I would've bet that Mamet had his dirty fingernails in the script and casting. Ricky Jay, Delroy Lindo, the bodyguard, and a host of others right out of the Spartan cast list. But I can't find any connection on IMDB. Anyone know?