Improbable? Index: Intelligence Season 1 Episode 1 – Pilot

Intelligence (Photo: CBS)
Intelligence (Photo: CBS)

On the new CBS procedural Intelligence, a CIA operative has the world’s fanciest microchip implanted in his brain, making him a supercomputer. What’s so improbable about that?

Meet Gabriel, the CIA Cyber Command’s latest weapon. He has a microchip implant that allows him to connect to just about anything on the grid. The inventor of the microchip gets kidnapped by Chinese agents so that they can implant a similar chip in one of their operatives. Gabriel and his new G-woman Riley are on the case trying to track down the kidnappers. It turns out the Chinese crew had a mole in the CIA (don’t trust a bearded nerd without glasses, you guys) and our heroes get captured. Gabriel and Riley are able to escape with the inventor while CIA boss Marg Helgenberger negotiates an info exchange with someone on China’s side. It turns out Gabriel’s wife Amelia—an agent-turned-terrorist (maybe)—might still be alive. Gabriel is on his way to Seattle to tackle his next case, but his mind is in Zurich where Amelia might be.

Is that possible?

Remember that 60 Minutes story about the robotic arm that connected to the user’s neural network? That story gets namechecked in the episode, meaning Intelligence is the second show in three years to have such an origin.

That seems unlikely…

The nifty visual effect the show uses is imaging Gabriel refers to as “Cyber-rendering,” which is an unexpected side effect of the microchip implant. Basically, he can reconstruct a 3D version of a scene and walk through it to analyze people and objects. It’s sorta like on old school Income Property when Scott presents the two renovation options, but with a Sherlock twist. However, incomplete details get filled in by Gabriel’s brain, which will likely result in some deus ex machina on a weekly basis. Actually, why isn’t this show called Deus ex Machina?

Are you kidding me with this?

When Gabriel and Riley get captured after the double cross, they are locked in the same room until the goons get sent to retrieve Gabriel. Are you guys new here? You never lock two captives—especially CIA operatives—in the same room. Despite this major bungle, Gabriel follows the goons willingly to an operating room to prepare for forced implant removal at the hands of the captured doc. Gabriel fakes a cardiac episode and he and the doc manage to escape.


Despite successfully dispatching Xing Qong, the leader of the Chinese group, the woman receiving the other microchip somehow managed to have her implantation, the bearded nerd continues to roam free, and almost nothing else was resolved. Nice cleanup job, CIA.

Also, the “Next time on Intelligence” clips did not impart any information other than there’s a new episode on Monday.

Number of cat gifs conjured by Gabriel: Zero, but Cassie (the kidnapped doc) did have a cat that he talked to. The cat did nothing gif-able.

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About Mike McComb 931 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: