Graceland, is the new series from Jeff Eastin, who you might know as the creator of a little series called White Collar. Now, That show is one of my favorites, I love the mix of action, comedy and light hearted fun. For his next series, Jeff has created Graceland.
Now, for fans of White Collar, and I know there’s a lot of you out there, Graceland is a grittier show by far, and it’s based on actual events. However, it still has what I’m going to dub “The Jeff Eastin Look.” It’s gritty, but a polished gritty in a way, sort of the same thing like White Collar. It’s a crime drama, but it has this sheen to it. I think if you see both shows, you’ll understand what I mean.
Mike Warren (Aaron Tveit) has just graduated from the FBI Academy. He has his eye squarely focused on his career and wants nothing more than to prove his worth in the field. He wants to advance in the FBI and make his mark sort-of-speak. For his first real assignment, Mike is sent to Graceland, which is a beach house in Los Angeles that’s a cover for members of the FBI, Border Patrol, DEA, Etc.. Everyone kind of works together when need be on various cases.
Once Mike arrives he learns that he is meant to start an investigation into Paul Briggs (Daniel Sunjata) who is the other FBI agent working in the house. The FBI thinks he might be working for the FBI but really working for someone else. The thing is, Paul is really the man… He’s the guy who leads the teams, who everyone looks to and to make matters even harder Paul saves Mike’s life. Not an easy thing to forget right?
Over the course of the series the relationship between Mike and Paul becomes even more complex. Sunjata and Tveit have amazing chemistry and I was sucked into their world immediately. I couldn’t help but make comparisons to Eastin’s White Collar, but in a very favorable way. This show takes the male dynamic and amps it up.
Jeff Eastin has a way with the plot and here he lets the plot drive the action. Many of the supporting characters get lost in the fray. Again, this could be an Eastin motif. I would love it if the smaller characters would be given as much depth and personality as the two leads, it would really make this series must see television.
As it stands, I enjoyed Graceland enough to keep watching and look forward to season 2. I think it’s one of those series that will only get better with time, the relationships can get more fleshed out and the actors will discover even more about their characters and motivations.
I really enjoyed all of the 13 episodes on this set the standouts for me were the Pilot, Pawn, Hair of the Dog, and King’s Castle.
The special features on this set include about 15 minutes of deleted scenes. There are 11 scenes total and to be honest, some of these are actually really good and could have been included in the series.
There’s a Gag Reel with about 7 minutes of of the cuff fun, and a short featurette called The Real Graceland which is a basic behind the scenes short that has some interviews with the creators.
Overall, I think if you give it a chance, Graceland might really hit home for you. If you’re a fan of White Collar then I think you certainly need to check it out, but even if you didn’t like that series, Graceland is a well done drama that deserves to be seen.
Graceland season one is out now on DVD!
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