Sometimes, it’s a late night phone call that sparks a TV series. In the case of David Hemingson and his new series Whiskey Cavalier, it was a 2am call from an FBI pal who had just broken up with his girlfriend.
“Though he was a ‘guns out first through the door kind of guy’, at the end of the day he wanted love and connection like everyone else,” Hemingson told Deadline.
The end result is a 60-minute action dramedy following the high-octane adventures of FBI agent Will Chase, codename: Whiskey Cavalier. Following an emotional breakup, Chase (played by Scott Foley) is assigned to work with alluring CIA operative Francesca “Frankie” Trowbridge, codename: Fiery Tribune (played by Lauren Cohan).
Together, they spearhead an inter-agency team of special agents who save the world (and from time to time, each other) while navigating the challenges of friendship, romance, and office politics.
The series nods to one-hour comedy dramas of old, with Executive Producer Bill Lawrence naming TV shows like Moonlighting and Remington Steele, among others.
The Comparison No One is Making
Speaking of dramedies of old, is it just us or does Whiskey Cavalier bring another hit spy TV series to mind?
Remeber Chuck? You know, that FBI action dramedy starring Zachary Levi before discovering his superpowers as Shazam!, and Yvonne Strahovski before she became Mrs. Waterford and hired a Handmaid. The one we’re still hoping might be revived.
While one series may suffer from the absence of a lovable computer geek, both are similar ‘opposites attract’ stories involving two FBI agents and their (mis-)adventures. Both toggle back and forth between missions to save the world and their personal relationships, particularly the B-plot romance that teases a kindling flame between its leads characters.
Not to mention, Cohan’s fiery Agent Frankie sounds a lot like Strahovski’s Agent Walker.
Perhaps it’s just us.
Or maybe no one is talking about the comparison because everyone, the media included, is focusing on various critiques of Whiskey Cavalier.
Early responses to the show were either dismissive or mixed.
First, critics and test audiences seemed impressed by the big-budget look of the pilot, which shot in London, Austria, and Paris—until a French critic questioned whether the rest of the series, shot in Prague, would look as expensive as the pilot.
Quick to give a strong response, the show’s EP Lawrence replied, “What if I said ‘No, the rest of the show is really cheap! But we do what we can’.”
Lawrence also pointed out that he has “done 25 of these to date” and just might know what he’s doing.
During a Q&A, another TV critic wondered whether the heavy flirtation that appears in the series crossed the line to harassment. The critic cited an example from the reel clip shown prior to the Q&A where Foley’s character declared he would win over Cohan’s, followed by a scene of the two of them in the same bed where she feels the need to show she is armed.
Lawrence insisted the two clips were not related. That said, the likelihood of seeing the same clip unrevised is slim.
What Jimmy Kimmel Had to Say
Whiskey Cavalier also became the subject of a joke at ABC’s May Upfront presentation. During Jimmy Kimmel’s traditional Upfront 7th inning stretch commented, “we finally came up with a title that’s worse than Cougar Town…Should we cancel it now or should we wait until you leave the room?”
When ABC Entertainment chief Channing Dungey later took the stage, she boldly stated, “When we’re celebrating Season 10 of Whiskey Cavalier I’m going to bring Jimmy back out there and we’re going to talk about it!”
Unfortunately, that may never happen, even if Whiskey Cavalier hits the ten-season mark; Channing left the network a few months later, joining Netflix, as Vice President of Original Content.
On the contrary, Twitter seems to be buzzing with positive reception of the series.
Who is in the cast?
As mentioned, the series is led by Scott Foley and Lauren Cohan. Foley has appeared in many TV series such as Grey’s Anatomy, Cougar Town, Scrubs, Scandal, Felicity, and Dawson’s Creek. Cohan’s previous credits include The Boy, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and her role as Maggie Greene on The Walking Dead.
Deadline reports that it’s going to be a ‘family affair’ as Foley’s wife Marika Domińczyk (Grey’s Anatomy’s Dr. Eliza Minnick) will have a multi-episode arc as Martyna Marek. Nicknamed Tina, she is a tough-as-nails mercenary who crosses paths with Team Whiskey during a trying mission in Eastern Europe. Romance, rivalry, and faltering allegiances follow this femme fatale’s entry into the picture.
Lawrence’s wife Christa Miller (Cougar Town, Scrubs) will also appear in a guest star role. She plays Kelly Ashland, a close friend who supported Frankie through the loss of her parents. Ashland is a steely Federal Judge who becomes entangled in a situation under Team Whiskey’s investigation.
Other talent includes Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty) as Susan Sampson, Tyler James Williams (Dear White People) as Edgar Standish, Vir Das (Goa Gone) as Jai Datta, and Josh Hopkins (The Perfect Storm) as Ray Prince.
How To Watch?
Whiskey Cavalier premiered on ABC following the Oscars on February 24th. It has since moved to its regular time slot and broadcasts in the US on Wednesday nights @ 10pm. In the US you can watch the TV series on the ABC website or on streaming service Hulu.
Will Whiskey Cavalier cross the pond and appear on UK TV?
Unfortunately, an official UK broadcaster has not yet been announced. So far at the time of writing the series has a rating of 7/10 on IMDb, series with worse ratings have made it over to the UK, so we are still hopeful this series will come to British television.
Especially if the series performs well in the US and gets renewed, but it is a little early to tell right now. We will update this article once we know more about Whiskey Cavalier on UK TV.
What is Spyvertising?
Until Whiskey Cavalier makes its way to UK screens, you can entertain yourself with this series promo videos, which have been coined as ‘spyvertising’.
Playing on the show’s combination of romance and spycraft, ABC has created a bundle of ads that target romantic couples, only with a comedic espionage twist.