Starring Luke Roberts and Sarah Greene, 'Ransom' is a determinedly conventional procedural about an enigmatic crisis negotiator.

By Chancellor Agard
December 31, 2016 at 12:00 PM EST
Steve Wilkie/CBS

The determinedly conventional Ransom centers on Eric Beaumont (Luke Roberts), a cool-under-pressure crisis negotiator who uses his knowledge of human behavior to handle high-stakes hostage situations. We’re introduced to his world through the eyes of Maxine Carlson (Sarah Greene), an aspiring investigator who is willing to do just about anything to join Eric’s team. In the pilot, she shows up at the scene of hostage crisis inside of the church and watches Eric work. Watching Eric diffuse this opening crisis is relatively thrilling, but the kidnapping case that follows in the episode, while somewhat twisty, still fails to capture the same kind of energy.

In general, lack of energy is a problem for this show. It’s missing that electricity that makes investing in yet another great man procedural worth it. As written and performed in the premiere, Eric isn’t as charismatic as, say, Simon Baker’s The Mentalist or as compellingly eccentric as Dr. Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) from Fox’s Lie to Me. Eric’s team — which also includes profiler Oliver Yates (former Power Ranger Brandon Jay McLaren) and ex-cop Zara Hallam (Nazneen Contractor)—is equally unremarkable, too.

To be fair, there is hope that Ransom can blossom into something more engaging. It’s executive-produced by Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files, The Man in the High Castle), and it’s also airing on CBS, the network responsible for the critically acclaimed drama The Good Wife and the underrated and prescient techno-thriller Person of Interest, both of which achieved amazing things within a familiar genre. But, in this age of Peak TV, viewers can’t don’t have that much time to wait for a show to come into its own, and unfortunately right now, Ransom is perfectly skippable procedural (for now, hopefully). C+

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