In NBC’s State of Affairs, Katherine Heigl plays Charleston Tucker, the president’s briefer. In the pilot, she is faced with the dilemma of getting immediate revenge or entering a drawn-out game. It is also the anniversary of her fiancé’s death.
The show opens with a video game like flashback. One year ago in Istanbul, Turkey. The bullets sound a lot like that of Storm Troopers. It seems Charleston is meeting with a psychiatrist and discussing the death of her former fiancé, Aaron Payton (Mark Tallman). How does she deal with her frustrations? Lots of booze, partying and of course sex.
After kicking a one-night stand out of her bed, Charlie heads to work, where she sees news reports regarding his fiancé’s death. She meets the CIA director briefer, Lucas Newsome (Adam Kaufman). She immediately insults Lucas. We’re introduced to the team and discover their main task, putting together the top 10 tasks for the president.
The team likes Google and cracks jokes. The team plays a video from Kenya. An American doctor is shown on the video. Much to Charlie’s surprise, the doctor looks oddly similar to Aaron. It appears the man is taken hostage. It is revealed that the doctor’s name is Benjamin Butler (Gavin-Keith Umeh).
The team gets another video, which shows a British hostage. The terrorists threaten to kill the hostages, unless fifteen inmates are released from Guantanamo Bay. Charlie looks like she is going to cry. The next minute, she is happy go lucky. Charlie questions what Ben was doing in Syria and tasks Steve with finding out.
Charlie makes contact with Jack Dawkins (Derek Ray), who suggests he can take out the terrorist leader. Of course, he isn’t sure enough for Charlie. She demands to wait to get Omar Fatah (Farshad Farahat), who killed her fiancé. A new video is released, which shows Benjamin reading a state surrounding by terrorist. They’re now requesting 25 to be released from Guantanamo Bay.
The team goes to work and compiles their report, which is given to Charlie. As Charlie arrives, President Constance Payton (Alfre Woodard) is watching news reports of her son’s death. She turns it off, as Charlie enters. Charlie begins debriefing the president. Constance mentions the awkward resemblance to Aaron. The president doesn’t make a decision. Sound familiar?
Charlie continues receiving strange text messages. Despite working for the CIA, nobody seems to be able to trace the texts. Where is the NSA? Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go! Khan was recently busted for sneaking a cell phone into French intelligence offices. Charlie suggests she wants Omar dead more than anyone else, but doesn’t want to risk Benjamin.
It is revealed that Charlie has been suspended and banned from the building. Talking too fast. Is she speaking Chinese? This is making me dizzy! Nervous break down incoming! Argh! This show needs slow motion.
Khan is detained to keep him away from Skinner (Dennis Boutsikaris). Meanwhile, Charlie hails a cab. Thank god for a commercial. This show makes you feel like you’ve been running on a treadmill at 20 miles an hour. The captors force Khan to give over the cell phone. Their menacing threats are really poor and comical. Meanwhile, Charlie enters the president’s office. Skinner mentions Charlie’s suspension for withholding info regarding Omar Fatah.
The President questions whether they could have killed Omar today. Charlie says possibly, but the risk wasn’t worth it. It is revealed that Khan is a threat and has been detained thanks to Charlie and team. The president gives the go ahead to save the doctor.
The team watch as the rescuers go in and rescue Benjamin Butler. Everything is shown in night-vision. There is no emotions from the operatives. Still, the doctor is saved. Charlie has a flashback to better times with Aaron. Meanwhile, the president gives a speech at her son’s grave.
Charlie suggests they’ll get Omar with time. The president says she doesn’t want to hear from a CIA agent and instead wants to hear from the woman, who loved her son. Charlie says she is going to make sure all of the men responsible for Aaron’s death die.
After the show returns, it seems someone has been inside Charlie’s house. She discovers Nick Vera (Chris McKenna) in her house. The pair seems to have some history between them. Charlie questions whether it is Nick, who has been sending the texts. Of course, he denies it. It is revealed that Charlie previously used Omar Fatah as a CIA asset.
Well, the opening scene was a little fun. It felt like a fun video game scene. After that, things quickly went down hill. Right away, we’re thrown into a world of sex, drugs and booze. Then, we’re immediately jerked away and forced into the CIA offices. From there, things got even crazier.
This show is riddled with problems. Its biggest may very well be the casting. Katherine Heigl is fine in hilarious comedies, but not here. At times, she was serious, when she was telling a joke. Other times, she was cheerful, when she should have been serious. Then, there was approximately two to three minutes, where she sounded like a super fast rap song. It was simply too much. The dialogue was repetitive and the main character was anything but likable.
On the other hand, everything about this show seemed implausible. The CIA cannot track the text messages? A CIA briefer, who works for the president, is an irresponsible, unintelligent twit, who insults people on first sight? After the initial enjoyment of the first scene, the rest of the flashbacks seemed dull. The night-vision rescue was anything but dramatic as well. The soldiers were dull and didn’t seem interested. Is anybody trying to make this show work? Sadly to say, this show cannot receive more than a 4 out of 10.