Series / Quantico

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"They pitted us against each other. My fellow trainees came from all walks of life. They pushed us beyond our limits to see if we'd crack. They weeded us out one by one. They only wanted the best. But I didn't see this coming—nobody did. I never thought before I could save our country, I'd have to save myself. I need to find the truth."
Alex Parrish in the Official Trailer

Quantico is an ABC terrorism/conspiracy thriller starring Priyanka Chopra, created & produced by Joshua Safran (Gossip Girl, Smash). It debuted in the fall 2015 TV season.

When an attack on Grand Central Station in New York City is named the most devastating act of terrorism in the United States since 9/11, newly minted FBI Agent Alex Parrish (Chopra) finds herself in a precarious situation: being framed for it.

Barely evading the FBI's custody following an arrest, Alex takes it upon herself to prove her innocence and figure out who's behind the attack—all the while avoiding their clutches. The real clincher? This unknown perpetrator is somebody she attended the FBI training academy at Quantico with.

Told partly through flashback to her days at Quantico, Alex is running on borrowed time and needs to act fast, or else she'll spend the rest of her life behind bars.

This series is notable for formally introducing Bollywood star Chopra to American audiences, as well as boasting a fairly diverse cast of characters led by Chopra's Alex, the only Indian character headlining a series on American network television at the time of the show.note  Alex's character had originally been written with a white actress in mind but Chopra resisted efforts to change the character to incorporate more stereotypically Indian qualities, which included keeping her original surname.

An interesting aspect of the series in its early weeks is that, while its first episode was rated TV-14 in the US and included a slightly graphic, if very brief, sex scene, succeeding episodes carried a much more mild TV-PG rating, unusual for a series airing in the 10PM timeslot in prime time that is usually reserved for racier series.

This series is heavily arc-based, so beware unmarked spoilers on its pages.


Tropes found in Quantico:

  • African Terrorists: The Citizens Liberation Front, whose members speak Swahili. It's a ruse to cover their identities as a rogue CIA agent.
  • Anachronic Order:
    • Sort of. The series tracks both the past timeline of the nats' adventures at Quantico, and the present day investigation into the Grand Central bombing. The episodes jump back and forth between them and the present day sections sometimes refer to events in the past that don't get explained until later.
    • This continues in Season 2, with flips back and forth between Alex's induction into The Farm, and the "present day" of a terrorist attack on an international conference.
  • Anyone Can Die: In the pilot alone, Eric kills himself on Day Two of training at the academy.
  • Always Identical Twins: Nimah and her twin sister Raina look exactly alike, so it's understandable why nobody's privy to their secret. The Bureau is trying to train them both as agents for use in covert operations. Justified as they couldn't get away with this otherwise.
  • Artifact Title: As of season 2.
  • Artistic License Religion: A cadet says his mother died in the hospital because his father refused to allow a blood transfusion for her as he was a Christian Scientist. However, the opposition to blood transfusions is part of Jehovah's Witnesses beliefs, not Christian Scientists' (Christian Science encourages believers to use their healing practices, but still does not forbid using regular medicine if need be).
  • Auto Erotica: Alex and Ryan have sex in the front seat of his car. The ABC episode actually shows this briefly, though both remain fully clothed from the, uh, steering wheel up.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: When a group of terrorists storm into Quantico, one of them was ready to shoot Liam, but was shot by Drew.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The season one finale. The terrorist threat has been stopped, lives were saved, and after an entire season of suspicion and anger, most of the main cast is on good terms again, but Simon died to make it happen and it drove a wedge further between Raina and Nimah.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Caleb and Shelby show this in "Found" wherein Caleb sabotages her undercover encounters until she's fed up with it and hauls him into an unused room. After arguing heatedly, they proceed to have sex.
  • Book Ends: Of a sort. Both the pilot and the winter finale have a character who seems to be propped for a major role reveal a Dark Secret and killed themselves: Eric Packer in the pilot and Elias Harper in the winter finale. Both characters were played by actors whose last roles were actually heroic cops.
  • Bury Your Gays: Elias Harper.
  • Call Back: Before she leaves Quantico in the past, Natalie tells Alex that she would always be better than her. Then, in the present, right before she dies, Natalie tells her the same thing.
    • In a season one episode, after Simon asks Raina why she sometimes pinned her hijab on the right and sometimes on the left, Nimah tells her to always pin it on the right. In season two, when Nimah dresses as Raina to turn herself in for the crime Raina was framed for, Raina repeats the same thing.
  • Caught on Tape: How Roarke is taken down. Right at the height of the the Constutitional Convention, the team play video of him talking to Russian intelligence on how he was willing to "amend" U.S. law to fit Russian desires. Alex plays the tape and also releases all of Roarke's illegal activities to every lawyer and human rights group in the country. Knowing he's about to get arrested for treason, Roarke kills himself.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Trainee uniforms are light blue long-sleeve shirts for agent trainees ("nats") and dark blue polo shirts for analyst trainees. The agents also carry bright red plastic guns at the hip instead of real firearms, except on the shooting range.
  • Con Artist: Samara, who has spent fifteen years pretending to be Shelby's half-sister to bilk her out of millions of dollars. Caleb finally forces Shelby to face the truth by exposing Samara in a web talk.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Susan Langdon apparently carries around a syringe in her purse with a poison which causes pulmonary embolisms so she can kill someone surreptitiously if need be. Framing a guilty man is one thing—this makes you think she is quite possibly a killer herself, as she seemed completely ready to use this on Simon, and we are given no reason to believe she was bluffing.
    • It could just as easily have been an empty syringe. Injecting air into the blood is likely to cause an embolism.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: The present day portions of the series often make Call Backs to events that haven't actually been shown on-screen yet. In the second episode, Alex refers to Simon dealing with a bomb at Quantico, which "Go" explains: it was a prop for the first elimination challenge that Simon tried and failed to disarm, though the true test turned out to be another Secret Test of Character, to stay with your team even in the face of certain death.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Every cadet has one of these to some degree, apparently. As their first pass/fail test assignment, each one is assigned to find out a secret that was left out of assigned dossiers.
  • Deceptive Legacy: Poor Shelby gets this a lot. Shortly after 9/11, she found Samar, her half-sister, the product of an affair Shelby's father had twenty years earlier. For fifteen years, Shelby gave millions of dollars to Samar to help her out and buy a house, wanting to be close to her only family. In "Quantico," Caleb proves to Shelby that Samar is a con artist bilking her this entire time.
    • Then it turns out that Shelby's parents didn't die on 9/11 at all but faked their deaths.
  • Downer Ending: The season two episode Odyoke. Raina is framed for a terrorist attack; one of the people responsible who could also ID other collaborators is shot, taking away the team's ability to prove Raina's innocence; and Nimah pretends to be Raina to turn herself in and be sent to prison. To top it off, all of that was part of the plan to get a Muslim registry bill that Claire would veto to pass through Congress, effectively pinning the blame on her for any possible future attack. This was a rare Quantico episode where nothing went right for the protagonists.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Averted in the second season premiere as Alex finds a set of black uniforms and masks like those worn by the terrorists. However, she realizes none of them are in her size. She's then attacked by a terrorist and barely gets away.
  • Driven to Suicide: After the team expose his long work of treason to get to the Presidency and then works with Russia to undermine the U.S., Roarke kills himself rather than be arrested and tried.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: In the first episode Alex meets a guy on a plane and then, right after they land, has sex with him in a car in the airport parking lot. They don't even know each other's names at that point. The rest of the show... is basically the same.
  • Exact Words: Alex is the only trainee who picks up on Liam's instructions in the simulation in "America": Determine which threat is a priority—if any.
  • False Innocence Trick: The rogue group employs this to make it impossible to tell who's really a hostage and who's not.
  • Famous Last Words: "Alex, RUN!!!" - Natalie Vasquez.
"You..." Liam just as Alex and Ryan kill him in "Yes."
  • Fanservice: Equal-opportunity fanservice, no less. Ryan and Caleb get Shirtless Scenes in the pilot, and episode 3 has an extended swimming pool/locker room scene for cadets of both sexes (with prominent shots of Alex getting out of the water and Ryan in a towel). The exception is Raina, who in keeping with her Islamic modesty wears a black wet suit in the pool instead of the open-back one-piece suits the other women wear, and isn't seen undressed in the locker room. Also Yasmine Al Massri still get in the action due to Nimah being less modest.
  • Foreshadowing: Simon being the one who actiavely starts defusing the bomb in episode 7 turns out to be one for his dealing with the bomb that Liam built in the season 1 finale.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: No one spends much time mourning over either Natalie or Drew.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: Simon realizes FBI profiler Susan Langdon framed a serial killer through making an unrelated murder appear like his work, because she couldn't pin any other on him. When he confronts her with this, she nearly kills him before Ryan intervenes. His other fellow trainees show no support after he reveals it either, angrily denouncing his action because a serial killer will now go free, although he counters that he's fulfilling his legal and moral duty.
  • A Friend in Need: Simon and Raina both return to New York as soon as Alex tells them she needs them.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Simon performs one in the first season finale.
  • Hitler Ate Sugar: During the psych profile sequence in episode 3, Simon and Ryan argue about the things they said in each others' psych profiles. Simon brings up the fact that Timothy McVeigh, like Ryan, was a former Marine.
  • Hollywood Autism: Will.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode in the first season is named after the last word in its script (although not necessarily the last word spoken). As the result, while there is an episode in season 1 called "Quantico," it is not the pilot (it's episode 10, the pilot episode is called "Run"). And the season finale is called "Yes," but that isn't how the episode ends. Every title of season 2 episodes is a CIA cryptonym.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: After Iris blows their cover to Sistemics, Caleb is forced to pretend that he's still a true believer by beating Will with a lead pipe.
  • Introduction by Hookup: In the pilot Alex and Ryan meet on a plane to Washington and have sex in the front seat of his car. A few hours later, they run into each other while taking the oath at Quantico. He tries to pretend they're new to each other for everyone else's benefit but she trolls him by publicly explaining the reason for them being awkward around each other. Justified as Ryan was assigned to watch her, though his handler tells him "Don't sleep with her again." In the present day they're apparently in a Love Triangle with Vasquez.
  • I Owe You My Life: Liam when Drew killed the terrorist who was about to kill Liam.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Hannah point blank tells Alex how crazy it is to have kept her being used by the Voice quiet and putting her in danger by telling her about it.
  • Logo Joke: The logo for creator Joshua Safran's Random Acts Productions changes on every episode so far.
  • Long Game: The Collaborators in Season 2b. It is revealed that they have been planning their takeover of the US government for years. Every contingency has been covered, and any possible opposition is quickly neutralized.
  • Longing Look: Characters pull this constantly. Most of the time, Alex and Ryan are directing these at each other, but there are notable scenes where Simon looks at Raina this way.
  • Love Redeems: Averted with Simon. Nimah suggests that this at least part of his feelings for Raina stem from him seeing her as redemption, but tells him that what he really needs is to forgive himself.
  • Love Triangle: Alex/Ryan/Natalie. A slightly more perverse one with Simon/Nimah/Raina (he likes one, the other likes him, and for quite some time he's not even aware they're two people).
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Alex has a bed sheet over her breasts when answering the phone after she has just had sex with Ryan, so we the audience won't see anything.
  • The Mole: Someone in the FBI is apparently a terrorist who infiltrated them.
  • Mr. Fanservice: The male cast members in general are quite nice to look at, as a whole.
  • Ms. Fanservice: As indeed, are the female cast members.
  • No Badge? No Problem!: Subverted in "America". Now-analyst trainee Caleb tries to follow his former agent classmates to a simulated bust, but is sent back to his seat by the instructors because analysts stay in the office.
  • Not My Driver: In "Run", Miranda takes the place of the driver of the van Alex is being transported in to allow her to escape.
  • Oh, Crap!: In "Mockingbird", Ryan sees Sasha on the streets after he was in an op to save a media mogul from being assassinated after he tries to deny that he's with the government.
  • The Place: Quantico is named for the town that's home to the FBI's training academy.
  • Post 9/11 Terrorism Series: Liam claims the attack on Grand Central Station is the biggest act of terrorism on American soil since 9/11. The events of September 11th also fuel Shelby's motivations for joining the academy, since her parents were killed on one of the downed planes.
  • Prisoner's Dilemma: In the episode "Cover", FBI Academy Deputy Director Miranda Shaw uses a variant as a Secret Test of Character. After getting her FBI cadets pissed off at each other, she tells them that they are to vote for three candidates to be cut from the training program. Refuse to vote, and she cuts ten. Alex tries to get her classmates to abstain, but Simon chickens out. Truth is, Miranda wasn't planning to cut anyone: the correct response was to stick with each other regardless of personal feelings, and she gives Simon and the candidates about to follow his lead a What the Hell, Hero? speech and threatens him with expulsion if he makes another mistake like that.
  • Ponzi Scheme: One episode has the team targeting who they think is a terrorist group who caused a plane crash to short-change the stock. They go in for a major investigation at a party where Alex overhears the two partners in charge talking...and realize they had nothing to do with the crash, they're running a Ponzi scheme and picked that particular stock totally at random.
  • Quote Mine: In order to foster division and resentment between the trainees for the next stage of her Training from Hell, Miranda Shaw has them make psych profiles of each other, then cherry-picks lines critical of the subject and posts them for public viewing. This includes things like Simon calling Ryan a "jarhead drone" (regarding Ryan's military service) or Nimah saying that Alex seeks validation from usually-male authority figures. While making up at the denouement, the various pairings tell each other the good stuff that Shaw left out.
  • Reality Ensues: Alex's too well-known that FBI officials had no choice but to fire her. It was only a ruse to throw suspicion off her when she infiltrates the CIA to investigate the threat of rogue agents trying to undermine the G20 summit.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Lydia tells her father Owen that he's a weakling for giving up his alias so soon after she got waterboarded in "enhanced interrogation" training, and then questions his effectiveness as an instructor.
  • Redemption Equals Death:
    • Simon sacrificed himself partially in an attempt to make up for his past mistakes.
    • Eric Boyer shoots himself to avert being used by the rogue faction to perpetrate a hack that they want.
  • Secret Test of Character:
    • After having the class make psych profiles of each other and then posting the worst bits for public viewing, Miranda lets the resentment fester for a day, then, in a variant on the Prisoners Dilemma, tells them that they are to vote on three candidates to be cut from the program, and if they refuse, she'll cut ten. Over Alex's objections, Simon votes and sets some of the others going to Miranda's office, and Miranda tells them they failed the test: they're supposed to stick with each other, like every previous class did. No one is cut, but Simon's placed on probation and warned that if he screws up again, he's out.
    • In "Go," all of the trainees have to take a midterm exam, and during the written portion, they are left with blank pages, and one frustrated NAT, afraid that he was going to be kicked out, decides to leave and puts the room in lockdown. As the trainees attempt to find an exit, they discover that that NAT had left behind a ticking bomb. Simon, with his past experience in the IDF, is able to unlock the doors, but the timer speeds up and he is unable to release the wires he cut or else risk the bomb exploding there and then. Several of the trainees leave the room, while the core characters stay behind with Simon. It turns out this was all set up by Shaw: the bomb was a fake, and Brandon Fletcher was in on it. The trainees who left the room are cut from the FBI program, because the idea of the exercise was to sacrifice oneself for the sake of the country.
    • In "Kudove", it is revealed that Alex came under particular scrutiny by the CIA's Farm instructors. Alex essentially failed the CIA's metric for how agents should act, because when Lydia went to parachute with apparently faulty equipment, Alex rescued her. It turns out the CIA expects its agents to let their comrades get hurt or die if it gets them closer to completing a mission.
  • She's Not My Girlfriend: Raina denies she and Simon are a couple when he jokes that not many couples can say they've both been kicked out of the FBI. Oddly enough, she never denies it to anyone else that brings up their relationship.
  • Ship Tease: The show has a constant barrage of previews with Alex and Booth, and Shelby and Caleb respectively having sex that never happen in the actual episodes. Besides that, in the show itself, Booth and Alex obviously have some leftover UST, Caleb seems to have a soft spot for Shelby, and according to Elias, the only thing real about Simon is the way he looks at trainee Amin when he thinks nobody is looking.
  • Simulated Urban Combat Area: The FBI Academy has a simulated residential area called Hogan's Alley.
  • Sneaky Departure: When the team is arguing over what they can and should do about the nuke in the finale, Simon grabs it and runs off to take it where it can't hurt anyone.
  • Spot the Imposter: Subverted when Raina suspects the terrorists in season two are swapping themselves among the hostages. While taken away, she uses her nail to cut a terrorist on the wrist, thinking that will expose him later. However, when taken back, Raina sees the terrorists have cut all the hostages in the exact same spot to prevent the ruse.
  • Stay with Me Until I Die: Simon asks Alex not to hang up the phone when he makes his Heroic Sacrifice so that he doesn't have to be alone when he dies.
  • SWAT Team: The Hostage Rescue Team gets mobilized following the bombing attack at the Grand Central Station.
  • Title Drop: Obviously, the word Quantico is spoken many times. Most notably, the last word spoken in each episode is also the episode's title ("RUN!", "God bless AMERICA", "Maintain your COVER", "From here on out, it's shoot to KILL", "They must be FOUND", "I swear to GOD!", "GO!", "If you don't find it fast, it's all OVER".)
  • Twin Switch: The entire point of Raiana and Nimah joining the FBI is to train them to pose as one person in the field. As such, the two are constantly swapping places for training (with Raina annoyed she has to "tone down" her skills so folks don't wonder why Nimah is suddenly so much better.) Evenutally, the truth is revealed to the rest of the class and afterward, the two continue to pull the stunt, both for training missions and later helping Alex in the future.
  • Unwinnable Training Simulation:
    • "America" features one. The agent and analyst trainees are given three reconstructed rooms where crimes the FBI stopped were plotted. After deducing what was planned and where it would take place (assassinating a senator, bombing Liberty Hall, and committing arson at a Planned Parenthood center), they had to determine which was a priority. None of them were: the assassination was still being planned, the bombing was meant to smoke out agents tracking the culprit, and the arson was an act of zealotry and never came to pass. The test was designed to show the agents that information is only as good as the source it comes from, and Alex is the only one who figures out that the real culprit was Liam—the guy who gave them their information in the first place.
    • A more literal example is in "Clue", where the trainees are placed in a simulated airplane with trainers playing terrorists or other people. The class tries the scenario over and over, trying different approaches each time but always failing. Sometimes the plan wasn't thought through enough, sometimes the trainers add new variables and sometimes the trainees just make simple mistakes. By the end, Liam reveals, as the trainees were starting to understand, that the scenario is designed to be unbeatable, because sometimes even having the most competent people on the job can result in an unwinnable situation.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: In LCFLUTTER, after torturing Lydia in an "enhanced interrogation" scenario, this happens to Sebastian.
  • Western Terrorists:
    • In "Turn", the HRT is deployed to go after Americans who have converted to Islam and taken up radical causes after they tried to breach Quantico.
    • In "Kudove", It is indirectly revealed that a rogue CIA group is actually behind the 'terrorist' attack, intending to destabilize international relations so the US Government will grant the CIA increased powers with less oversight.
  • Wham Shot:
    • The last minutes of the penultimate episode of season 1, where we see Miranda shot by Liam, with the latter apparently being the real bomber.
    • In "Kudove", the very last few seconds show a terrorist waving a sword, then slashing down at the President's wife's neck.
    • The ending of "Lipstick" has a terrorist receiving a text message telling him Alex is inside the building. Cut to Miranda, who had just talked to Alex (and the only one in the FBI who knows she's in there), sending the message.
  • Wham Episode:
    • In "Run", Alex is accused of being the mole responsible for instigating the Grand Central station attack. Shaw later bails her out.
    • In "Cover", Alex discovers that her deceased father was a decorated FBI agent.
    • In "Kill", Alex and Simon find out that a wire component for the bomb was made by Shelby's company.
    • In "Over", Alex finds out that there is another bomb somewhere in New York.
    • And there's the final scene in "Quantico"...
    • Topped by the final scene in "Inside". The command HQ gets blown up after the FBI defuses the bomb they think is connected to Simon's trigger.
    • In "Alex", Alex finds out that the mysterious caller is indeed someone she knows from her days in Quantico. Not only that, the fake sister Caleb revealed was kidnapped back in his academy days. Natalie was also subdued by the caller and is rigged with a suicide vest.
    • In "Clear", Natalie is killed in an explosion while hunting down the terrorist.
    • In "Clue", The Big Bad thanked Alex for what happened in Senator Haas' campaign. It's cause he/she used it as a cover to conduct a break-in.
    • In "Lipstick", Miranda used a sat phone to inform the bad guys that Alex is inside Federal Hall.
    • In "Lcflutter", Lydia reveals that the terrorists are covertly after hard drives used by the CIA. It also reveals Nimah is in league with the CLF.
    • In "Epicshelter", Miranda reveals that she didn't become a terrorist. Rather, she joined with the CLF since the membership consist of agents from various federal law enforcement/intelligence agencies to take down the AIC.
    • In "Odyoke", Ryan finds out that Sasha, a reporter he knows, is a known FSB asset.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Dayana is conspicuously missing as the team begins zeroing in on the members of the overarching conspiracy which funds and supports groups like the AIC.
  • X Meets Y: Many critics have described this series as How to Get Away with Murder or Grey's Anatomy meets Homeland.

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