GRACELAND Advance Review “Guadalajara Dog” USA Network

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NUP_152662_0470As far as first day in a new job goes, Mike Warren (Aaron Tveit) can safely say his was a success. Now, armed with a newly-earned nickname, he faces an even bigger challenge – to investigate his on-the-job trainer, Paul Briggs (Daniel Sunjata). But that’s not all – he has received orders for a psych evaluation after the shooting he witnessed when Briggs saved him from the Russian mobsters in his first case.

The first step in his apprenticeship, according to Briggs, is to work out who “Mike” is.  As an undercover agent, he must get used to having multiple identities, but at the same time, ensure his real life and his undercover life never cross over, and that includes going against every instinct he has as a federal agent and overall bad guy catcher.

Keen to make his mark and prove that his first assignment wasn’t a fluke, Mike asks to go undercover with a new up-and-coming bad guy who’s into drug dealing, arms-smuggling and just about every vice you can imagine. But Briggs is reluctant and wants him to start small so he turns to Charlie (Vanessa Ferlito) for some advice and gets an introduction to the undercover closet – a room full of costumes for all occasions collected from past undercover roles the team has played. I, for one, am a little enamored with Jakes’ (Brandon Jay McLaren) Jamaican cover.

While other crime shows tend to show federal agencies despising each other, Graceland shows these agents co-operating and relying on each other for tips and information, and working jointly to take down LA’s baddest criminals.

NUP_152662_0712Here are some things we learn in “Guadalajara Dog”:

  • Charlie is the mother-hen of the house, looking out for Mike and keeping Briggs in check (as much as that is possible) to set a good example for his protégé;
  • Mike isn’t just smart, he is a deadshot.  Even Briggs admits his is one of the best marksman he has ever seen.  And working for the FBI is a family legacy for Mike;
  • Johnny (Manny Montana) is the storyteller and entertainer with a specialty in campfire re-enactments;
  • We meet Paige (Serinda Swan) while she is undercover as the girlfriend of an Asian mobster.  She is so good at her job she still gets to go home every night, fully-clothed;
  • Never underestimate Paul Briggs.

Oh, and Mike gets a handler.

If you liked the pilot, I guarantee you will love “Guadalajara Dog.” I leave you with one last tip: don’t forget to breathe in the final seconds of the episode.

GRACECLAND “Guadalajara Dog” airs on USA Network on Thursday, June 13 at 10/9c.

Guest stars: Scottie Thompson, Marcus Choi, Pedro Pascal

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