The Following Has A Strong Gimmick But Could Be Weak In Longevity

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screenshot of the cast of 'The Following'
Cast of ‘The Following’ (2012)

I watched the premiere episode of FOX’s new drama “The Following” that stars Kevin Bacon. It seemed like a cross between CBS’s “Criminal Minds” and the case of crazy man Charles Manson. I did think that it was unnecessarily graphic but I liked the plot and the concept. I just don’t think the show will last as a weekly series.

Kevin Bacon plays an alcoholic former FBI agent, Ryan Hardy, who is called in to help recapture serial killer Joe Carroll, played by James Purefoy. Carroll not only nearly took Hardy’s life but the case ruined Hardy’s FBI career.

It seems that Carroll had been allowed to use a local law library and somehow was able to communicate by Internet with other serial killers around the country. We are told there are at least 300 known to be active. Carroll also got help in escaping from a prison guard who he turned into a follower.

Ryan Hardy also revisits with Carroll’s now ex-wife Claire Matthews, played by Natalie Zea, who we learned had an affair with Hardy during the initial investigation and he also is worried about Carroll’s last victim, Sarah Fuller, played by Maggie Grace, who Hardy had saved.

At the end of the episode Carroll is recaptured, Fuller is dead, and we find out that Carroll had his young son kidnapped by a secret follower who had been the child’s nanny.

Not to give away too many details of the first episode, I did like the plot and concept of the show but I just don’t see it as a weekly series. I don’t know if I want to see the same show each week. Week after week of serial killer after serial killer? “Criminal Minds” handles other types of crimes even if it is heavy on serial killing.

I think “The Following” is a great idea for a movie or mini-series just not as a weekly series.

Beyond the longevity problem I also had some other issues.

Joe Carroll is brilliant and charismatic, as all fictional serial killers tend to be, so he’s able to seduce and/or brainwash people through the Internet. Neat trick. Just seemed too tidy. Why would they would let such a dangerous man out of prison even for a short time. In reality they would bring the library to him especially, as we are told it is a digital library.

The cast is probably the best looking cast for a non-soap opera I’ve seen in a while even if it is unrealistic for a police procedural.

The violence was about as graphic as you can get on broadcast TV – lots of blood for sure and the woman who put an ice pick through own eye was disturbing. I think most of it was unnecessary especially at 9 PM. Seeing a body hanging upside down with its eyes gouged out just wasn’t needed to be seen like that.

Except for the gimmick of the cult Carroll created and the pretty cast there isn’t much difference to “The Following”. I’ll still check out additional episodes to see where the show is going even with my reservations about it.

I hope I’m wrong.

The Following Trailer
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