The scene filming on a crisp November day in New York City has all the elements of a Dick Wolf procedural. Emergency vehicles crowd the street, while police officers keep oglers away from yellow Crime Scene tape. A young man and woman stride up the steps of New York’s City College, which is standing in for a fictional school where a controversial figure was burned to death. The duo: special agents Omar Adom Zidan (Zeeko Zaki), known as OA, and Maggie Bell (Missy Peregrym), the heroes of producer Wolf’s new CBS drama, FBI.
The look of determination they each have hints at the partners’ confidence they’ll eventually find their perp. “If they’re knocking on your door, they’ve got you,” Zaki says ahead of filming this upcoming episode. “There’s no running.”
Viewers aren’t going anywhere, either. Since its September 25 premiere, FBI has won its Tuesday 9pm timeslot with more than 9 million people tuning in, making it the season’s No. 1 new show. No surprise, as it’s like comfort food to fans of Wolf’s other shows, such as NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and the Chicago franchise. While some things are different — FBI deals with federal-level cases like terrorism — familiar elements remain. Namely, bad guys are brought to justice, and Wolf treats the agents with the same reverence and respect he extends to first responders.
“I grew up in an FBI-friendly environment. My favorite uncle was an FBI agent,” says Wolf, who also produced Inside the FBI: New York, a 2017 docuseries for USA. With this drama, he has a simple goal: to show “the boots on the ground, highlighting the work that is done on a day-to-day basis to keep us all safe.”
And though the real FBI has come under partisan fire recently, “this show is not political,” Wolf continues. Indeed, the bad guys aren’t inside the bureau. In the pilot, the team brought down a white supremacist bomber and MS-13 gang members.
Upcoming episodes mix topical issues and bread-and-butter FBI concerns, like environmental violence and white-collar crime. The December 4 installment hinges on the murder of a U.S. marshal and a witness he was protecting. Maggie and OA must track down the person who leaked info that led to the hit.
The show’s strong cast also includes Sela Ward as Special Agent in Charge Dana Mosier, Law & Order veteran Jeremy Sisto as her deputy, Jubal Valentine, and newcomer Ebonee Noel as whip-smart analyst Kristen Chazal. But Maggie, a recently widowed workaholic from a law-enforcement family, and OA, a Muslim former military officer new to the FBI, are the central characters. So finding the right actors to portray them was a top priority.
Also in this issue:
- Feel-Good TV: Adventure and setbacks await in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 2. Plus: Top mood-lifters like Schitt’s Creek, One Day at a Time and The Big Bang Theory.
- Arrowverse Crossover: Three of The CW’s supershows—The Flash, Arrow and Supergirl—collide for their annual action-filled mashup.
- Vicki Lawrence: My Life on TV: The Cool Kids star talks Carol Burnett and Hannah Montana.
- Plus: Meet the crew of Syfy’s Nightflyers; Jennifer Aniston is a pageant mom in Dumplin‘; the best way to give the gift of streaming; a tribute to the late Stan Lee; J.K. Simmons talks Counterpart; and the best of movies, streaming, sports and more.