ABC

We've only seen one episode of Quantico, which premiered last night on ABC, but this FBI Academy-set thriller has already succeeded in recruiting me.

The pilot¬†runs on two timelines: it's partly a sexy workplace dramedy, but flash-forwards reveal that, four months into the future, trainee¬†Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra) finds herself the primary suspect for a devastating terrorist attack on New York City.¬†It's¬†a compelling¬†setup, if not a particularly innovative one.¬†Quantico is Homeland¬†cross-pollinated with¬†Silence of the Lambs and the extended Shonda Rimes universe (though the show¬†was not produced by Rimes)‚ÄĒwhich is to say that, while¬†the territory may be familiar, it's also entertaining as hell.

Priyanka Chopra as Alex Parrish.
ABC

It's hard to take your eyes off Chopra (whose Disney princess hair¬†itself deserves an Emmy), the A-list Bollywood star who hopes to make Quantico¬†her American breakthrough. As Alex, she's¬†smart, observant, and unabashedly confident, to a degree that's usually reserved for the men we see on television.¬†When¬†Alex¬†encounters¬†the guy she sat next to on her flight‚ÄĒand subsequently hooked up with‚ÄĒat the FBI Academy,¬†he acts like they've never met, but she blows off his attempt at playing it cool.¬†‚ÄúWe had sex in your car six hours ago,‚ÄĚ she announces, unembarrassed, in front of their¬†classmates.

Since Mindy Kaling's The Mindy Project moved from Fox to Hulu, Chopra has become the only South Asian actress to lead a network TV show. Overall, Quantico has built a diverse ensemble driven by strong, interesting female characters, including Johanna Braddy (who you might recognize as Anna from UnREAL) as a Georgia debutante turned sharpshooter, Aunjanue Ellis as the Academy's assistant director, and Yasmine Al Massri as a hijab-wearing recruit with a secret so ridiculous that it might actually achieve a kind of surreal David Lynch genius. (Or maybe not, but still.)

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Aunjanue Ellis as Miranda Shaw.
ABC

Ridiculous secrets are a theme here: everyone is hiding something, and possibly two somethings, and maybe even three. By the end of its first episode, Quantico becomes a precariously tottering Jenga tower of twist stacked on twist stacked on twist. It's a little much.

But this a pilot, and all pilots are flawed: I'd always pick a scrappy series, which tries too hard too soon to establish a rich, complex world, than a lazy one. I can't wait to see what the rest of the season has in store.

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Molly Fitzpatrick is senior editor of Fusion's Pop & Culture section. Her interests include movies about movies, TV shows about TV shows, and movies about TV shows, but not so much TV shows about movies.