Chase is not the worst new series of the season (thus far, that glorious distinction lies with Outlaw) and the series’ pilot is certainly not terrible. It’s just derivative, boring and unable to bring anything new to the table. If I’m watching a new police/law procedural, I’m looking for one of two things: An interesting take on the law side of things (or even just some compelling people) or an interesting take on the criminals. Chase tries to convince us that it can do both throughout the running time of its pilot, but in reality, neither element of the story is that impressive. The U.S. Marshall crew is full of recognizable people in Kelli Giddish, Cole Hauser, Amaury Nolasco and Jesse Metcalfe, but none them are making much effort to create memorable characters.
The pilot attempts to make it seem like Giddish’s Annie Frost is a Marshall superstar and that may be the case, but there’s really no good explanation for why. She always gets her man! Oh, okay! That’s good enough for me. Television networks think Giddish is some sort of star in the making, but I don’t see here. She attempts to make Annie some sort of intense and knowing profiler, but most of the time she just talks in cliches and through gritted teeth. I didn’t realize that the best way to get inside a person’s head is through their favorite music (the episode spends a lot of time going through profiler-y things like this so that Metcalfe’s newbie can catch on, of course). However, while I’m not sold on Giddish as a lead or the character of Annie Frost in general, I did like Giddish’s chemistry with the always-fine Cole Hauser. I can buy that they’re both Texas-raised buddies that do have some sort of connection. So there’s that.
On the criminal side, there’s never too much a series can do to reinvent that wheel, but Chase‘s obvious attempts to do so make it more obnoxious than if it wasn’t as emphasized. The pilot spends a good deal of time going focusing on the criminal and his various transformations, but it’s nothing to write home about. It’s inherently built into the premise that the fugitive will keep running until the end, so while having guest stars wear wigs to present a totally changed appearance each week sounds great on paper, it’s going to get really boring, really fast.
And in general, that sums up Chase. It’s fine. Everything about it is fine: it’s well-directed, the Texas locations look good, the cast is fine, etc. but the lack of original elements or characters to care about means that it will have to rely on guest casting each week to hold my interest. That’s not a lot to go on, folks.