You know the old trope: High-ranking successful person is brilliant at her day-job, but messy and terrible in her personal life. State of Affairs manages to turn that idea on its head by… Nope. Not doing that. High-Ranking Successful Messy Personal Life person just happens to be Katherine Heigl this time.
The pilot opens with Heigl’s Charleston Tucker (with a name like that, I half expect her to be swilling sweet tea and conniving with Frank Underwood) at her shrink’s home office, remembering the events of the attack that killed her fiance. In a quick-cut action-sequence flashback to one year ago in Kabul, Afghanistan, we see the attack on their convoy through Charleston’s eyes: constant fire; explosions; her fiancé, Aaron, yelling at her to get down; his mother the president being pulled out of the back of their SUV; the vehicle being hit and overturned; someone dragging Charleston from the scene; Aaron, yelling for her as he’s hit by bullet, presumably killed in that instant. She crawls from the scene, clearly missing pieces of her memory of the events.
“You’re repressing something,” the shrink surmises when Charlie—we’re just going to call her Charlie from now on—refuses to keep sorting out the details. “You’re making omissions from your memory of that day.”
“I remember!” Charleston counters. “I remember!” Right. Where would the storyline go if that were really the case?
The psychiatrist’s other point of concern? How Charlie is handling the stress. Seems like “reckless personal behavior” (downing shots at some dingy bar with a handsome stranger seems like a frequent occurrence) is one of her coping mechanisms. You know what her bar trick is? The one her dad taught her? To flick a bottle cap and hit shit. This trick works! The guy went home with her!
“Do you consider yourself sexually irresponsible?” the good shrink asks.
“Occasionally,” Charlie replies coyly, as if she were at a middle school sleepover playing truth or dare and she picked truth and her girlfriends decided to ask if she ever fantasized about kissing the gym teacher. “What’s wrong with that?”
“Always going out—drinking, partying,” the shrink admonishes her. “I don’t think any good can come from that.”
“Well, good doesn’t have to come,” Charlie counters, as she sits up on the couch and spreads her arms across the back, looking quite smug and pleased with herself. “I do.” Boom. Charlie Tucker, everyone. She’ll be here all week.
NEXT: Charlie goes to the office, proves she’s not a complete wreck!