TV Review: NBC’s ‘Chase’ Might Not Be Worth Pursuing

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CHICAGONBC’s “Chase” is not a “good” show in the strictest sense of the word. It’s hokey, rife with stereotypes, and sets up unrealistic situations for its characters in order to facilitate dramatic, suspenseful chase scenes. To protect my honor and integrity as a TV critic, this must be gotten out of the way first: objectively, I can see that “Chase” is not a good show. Television Rating: 3.0/5.0
Television Rating: 3.0/5.0

Having said that, I’ll admit that there are enjoyable moments in the series premiere, airing tonight, Monday, September 20th, 2010. A mix of “The Fugitive” and a classic Western, “Chase” is a corny-but-engaging show. It centers on a suspiciously-pretty and ethnically-diverse group of U.S. Marshals who carry the requisite amount of their own personal emotional baggage, working in Texas to chase down the bad guys — unsympathetically misanthropic criminal fugitives.

The cast features some interesting players. Cole Hauser (“Good Will Hunting”), an actor who consistently delivers complex and interesting performances, is one half of a will-they-won’t-they love match with the main character Annie (Kelli Giddish). Jesse Metcalfe (“Desperate Housewives”) co-stars and is at least is eye candy, if that fact tends to obfuscate any assessment of his talent as an actor. The lead, played by Giddish, is a little too reserved and angularly Teutonic to be entirely engaging, although she does have moments in which she is dashingly intriguing, cracking a case while singing along to a country and Western song with a high-tech, “CSI”-like lab as her backdrop.

Photo credit: Vivian Zink/NBC

The second thing that makes “Chase” interesting is its colorful, if stereotypical, Texan setting, complete with honky tonks, rodeos and references to Waylon Jennings songs. This lively setting enhances the ‘sheriff’s gang’ homage of the show: these marshals are swaggering, emotionally reserved and unambiguously heroic. There is even a shot of four of the main characters lined up, about to get their man, with badges gleaming at their waists like a cowboy gang rolling into the O.K. Corral to lay down the law.

Photo credit: Brian Bowen Smith/NBC

On the other side, what is disappointing about the show is the predictability of its romantic entanglements. It is hinted that Giddish and Hauser will end up together, naturally. Meanwhile, the two main non-white characters, Marco and Daisy (Amaury Nolasco and Rose Rollins), also flirt and hint at the romance to come. Question: why do these police procedural network shows so rarely feature interracial hookups? Just wondering…

The other eye-rolling moments come with the episode’s guest actors, including a conveniently cute child victim, whose appearance allows Annie to show the audience her heart of gold amidst her cowboy persona. The bit characters aiding and abetting the fugitive are ridiculous: A haggard and weary working-class mother and a naïve, devoted, anti-feminist young girlfriend.

Finally, the show features implausible situations blatantly designed to set up dramatic chase scenes and suspenseful situations. Would the marshals really take off running after their mark on a crowded bridge, rather than just radio each other to surround and cut him off? Would they jump into a river after him, allowing for a dramatic aqueous physical struggle? These setups do add to the suspense, but not the realism, of the show.

At the same time, there are moments of surprising tension and violence, and a decent amount of eerie creepiness. Plus, the final shot of the episode is edited well to induce you to tune in next week.

In the end, the features that make this series good may not be enough to sustain long-term fans, and the features that make it cheesy may deter viewers in the end. Nevertheless, I will turn off my critic’s analysis and tune in next week, at least to see if this admittedly-silly show can endure.

“Chase” premieres Monday, Sept. 20th, at 9:00 CST, on NBC. It stars Kelli Giddish, Cole Hauser, Jesse Metcalfe, Amaury Nolasco, and Rose Rollins. The executive producer is Jerry Bruckheimer. TV critic Emily Riemer

TV Critic

Anonymous's picture

Law & Order will replace this by winter

What’s not being told to publications is that Chase is so bad they expect it to fail, which is why the original Law & Order website, Facebook page, etc, have been kept running. Chase runs on Mondays, the same place Law & ORder did last year at the end of its run. NBC has told Wolf no promises, but if Chase fails, Law & Order is back.

Anonymous's picture

err.... nope.

I thought that CHASE was a better show than “the event” which pissed me off the past few months of those annoying commercials…and yes “The Event” is a wanna be LOST..

I thought Chase was very good.. But then again I’m not a critic….. And most of you thought Chuck was a bad show… until the fans spoke up..

ACB's picture


Bruckheimer does not seem to have much luck when he ventures outside of the safety of CBS. “E-Ring” though a really good show just didn’t cut it for some reason on NBC but I would have given it better odds than “Chase” just for the sole reason that the last show of this ilk, “The Fugitive”(Tim Daly) got whipped by a little procedural show called “CSI”. “Chase” would not seem to bode well for this season,especially in light of the fact that it’s up against
powerhouse “Hawaii Five-O”, which has been more than well-recieved.

Myself, I would have watched “Chase” just to audit it had “Hawaii Five-O” NOT been in the same timeslot and there lies the rub.

Does NBC think that “Chase” can hold its own with “5-O” or do they believe that “Chase” will get stomped? Only time will tell, but for me, I’m just tired
of “chase shows” in particular.

Crime Fighter's picture

Just silly

This show was set up to fail. Where is the Law Enforcement advisor on this set. If they have one he should be fired. They do no police work. They just say stuff and Annie becomes a mind reader. At least the Event has you wondering what is going on and how the actions link up. Watching this show makes you say get rid of all the dna, csi and forensic stuff. This bring in Annie and say what the person had for breakfast and she can tell you his life story.

watcher's picture

Chase on NBC

when an emotionally unstable woman shoots half a dozen people and steals a tractor trailer and whips it all over on a highway?? no thanks. i was sorely disappointed as I was hoping for something “different”

pak232's picture

Chase on NBC

Not sure what critics are looking for, but for Emily to slam this show that is not “reality tv” on the basis of its plot implausability seems silly. I enjoy Chase, for its entertainment value, not for its semblance to CNN, and I watch it every week that I can, because I know that it isn’t dirty enough to keep high ratings, and will soon be cancelled. A lot of shows that I have watched over the years have fallen victim to the same things, regardless of how entertaining I thought they were. Then, I will probably go over to the touted Hawaii 5-0 and see if they are re-treading the old Steve McGarrett story lines with the new cast. (I wonder who the new Wo Fat will be?)
As far as Emily’s puzzlement over why “procedural network shows so rarely feature interracial hookups?” all I can say is, why is it so important to emphasize, celebrate, or whatever? Relationships can and should be shown as naturally occurring situations, without calling special attention to them, regardless of the race of the individuals involved. Take Parenthood - that has TWO interracial hookup scenarios playing out in an otherwise pretty interesting set of story lines, and are rendered rather moot in the face of those story lines. But it fans the flame of interracial hookup controversy, which enables a rather bigoted set of converstaion points, in my opinion.
Regardless - I find Chase to be a show that doesn’t keep me awake with it’s gripping portrayal of bad guys who get away with heinous crime, or a cast that hops into bed with anyone who’ll disrobe. In other words - it is good TV with a mostly decent message, and characters who exhibit some traditional values (like not giving up until they catch their fugitive). I like it.

Anonymous's picture


Wanting something “different” on TV? Well, there’s always “the Biggest Loser,” a show about dieting to see who lost or gained weight. A real loser. Next thing you know, there will be a politically correct TV show about police who chase down kids with overdue library books. There is nothing “different” on TV. Everything that can be done on TV has been done on TV. As for “Chase,” I thought the show appealed to ordinary people who are not crack heads, on LSD or other hallucigenous drugs. I mean, it is admittedly a stereotypical po-lice drama. But at least, you don’t need your therapist or psychiatrist to explain the plot to you. And while some of the scenes are certainly not realistic, you have to understand that it is “escapist” entertainment, not reality TV, like “the Biggest Loser.” True, real lawmen don’t jump in rivers to fight criminals or race big rigs across narrow bridges, but, com’on…..this is TV. If you want reality, man, watch the “Big Loser,” or the show about the kids with overdue books! At least, Annie on CHASE doesn’t fly, doesn’t throw 300 pound guys 5,000 feet in the air with the flick of her little finger, or exlode entire cities with the twinkle of her nose! I thought it was a pretty good show—not at all perfect—but pretty good. Keep it on. Keeps me from having to watch the big losers and American Idol, and all that superfluferously boring stuff.

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