Features the latest news on what Marg is up to these days since leaving CSI.

RECAP & REVIEW: INTELLIGENCE SEASON FINALE “BEING HUMAN” DELIVERS BIG

Before I jump into my recap and review of the Intelligence season one finale, I just want to take a moment and say a huge thank you to everyone involved with Intelligence, but especially to those who are active on social media: Michael Seitzman, PJ Byrne, Michael Rady, Aaron Ginsburg, John Dixon, Lance Reddick, Tomas Arana, Faye Kingslee, Octvavius J. Johnson, and last but most certainly not least, my favorite leading lady, Marg Helgenberger. The social media tie-in, the sharing of behind-the-scenes photos and script pages, and the interaction with the fans through live tweets really enhanced my viewing experience — it’s, by far, the most fun I have ever had watching a television series. Thank you so much for all of your efforts. And now on to the recap…

If you’ve come to expect heart pounding action and plot twists galore, you will not be disappointed with the Intelligence Season 1 finale. “Being Human” delivers a full order of both as Lillian and her team set out to clear Gabriel’s name by finding who is really responsible for the murders that he has been framed for.

Part 2 picks up immediately where we left off last week — with Gabriel, Riley, and Mei Chen fleeing from their would-be assassin. They have no idea who they can trust at this point so they’re trying to stay off the grid, but at the same time, they also know Gabriel needs medical attention. Gabriel knows one person he can definitely trust and directs Riley to drive to his mother’s house. Mary Vaughn, played by the fabulous Debra Mooney, is a retired Army field nurse who is full of spitfire and vinegar and knows her way around an operating room. As Mary and Riley prep Gabriel for surgery, he loses consciousness and Mei Chen seizes the opportunity to get into Gabriel’s head and cyber-render with him.

Mei Chen has decided that she needs to educate Gabriel about the truth, specifically the truth about the people he works for. In their cyber-render, she tells Gabriel that a potential candidate for the Presidency, Governor Christy Cameron, is being targeted for assassination. According to Mei Chen, the conspirators are the same people who hired her to kill those men and frame Gabriel and who then tried to murder both Gabriel and Mei Chen. She knows that they are U.S. government employees but says she doesn’t know specifically who because whoever it is has been very careful. After telling Gabriel she doesn’t care if he believes her or not, Mei Chen exits both the render and Mary Vaughn’s house.

Back at CyberCom, while trading barbs about who is responsible for what happened at the park, Lillian and Jeff Tetazoo brief the Director of National Intelligence Adam Weatherly about the attempt on Gabriel’s life and the fact that he is now on the run with both Riley and Mei Chen. Tetazoo vows that he will find them and reiterates to the CyberCom staff that they are to find and bring in Gabriel, Riley, and Mei Chen dead or alive. Lillian questions the logic of Tetazoo’s orders, especially now that they know there’s an unknown shooter out there who could prove Gabriel’s innocence. She says that we shouldn’t be killing our own people and looks to Weatherly for support. To her dismay, Weatherly sides with Tetazoo and says that Gabriel is a threat due to those vulnerabilities in the chip that were documented by Dr. Cassidy. They all must be brought down.

"We can't be killing our own people."

“We can’t be killing our own people.”

While recovering from surgery, Gabriel asks Riley if she thinks one of their own is behind the shooting. They immediately rule out Lillian but say they wouldn’t put it past Tetazoo. As they discuss the possibilities Mama Vaughn points out the obvious — that someone should warn Governor Cameron that her life may be in danger. Riley’s ex, played by Michael Trucco, is in charge of Governor Cameron’s security detail and Riley convinces him to give her an audience with the Governor.

Lillian convenes a second secret meeting with Jameson, Nelson, and Dr. Cassidy to relay to them everything she knows about ‘The Flood’, an Iranian program designed to recruit high ranking U.S. Government officials and turn them into sleeper agents for Iran. Lillian shares her belief that Colonel Hatcher discovered the identity of one or more of these sleeper agents and was turning their names over to the FBI when he and the FBI Deputy Director were murdered. Dr. Cassidy pieces together that they then framed Gabriel to get him out of the way because they knew that Gabriel and the chip would be the best way to find and stop the sleeper agents. The team concludes that Gabriel and Riley’s lives depend on them finding out the identities of the sleeper agents and to do that, they first need to find Gabriel and Riley. Jameson thinks this will be nearly impossible considering that since he wiped Gabriel’s hacking of the minivan computer off the grid, the entire Intelligence apparatus has been tracking Gabriel with no success. Nelson reminds them that Gabriel needs medical assistance and Dr. Cassidy and Lillian remember that Gabriel’s mom is a former Army nurse. They surmise that Gabriel very likely would have sought her help.

Lillian educates her team about 'The Flood'.

Lillian educates her team about ‘The Flood’.

Lillian and her team, however, aren’t the only ones who come to this conclusion. The assassin also figures it out and before Riley returns from the governor’s office, makes another attempt on Gabriel’s life. With a little help from Mom in the form of a can of hairspray and a ‘cannon’ of a gun that she keeps in her nightstand, Gabriel takes out the assailant and using facial recognition technology, he identifies the man as Thomas Olivier.
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INTELLIGENCE 1×12 “THE EVENT HORIZON” RECAP & SCREEN CAPS

With a season that has been filled with heart pounding twists and turns, it should come as no surprise that part 1 of the Intelligence season finale, “The Event Horizon” delivers even more thrills than ever before. This action-packed episode features not only a crime scene cyber-render that points to Gabriel as the prime suspect of a multiple homicide, but also another fierce head-to-head match-up between Lillian and her old ‘friends’ Adam Weatherly and Jeffrey Tetazoo. And as if those highlights weren’t enough to guarantee a thrilling and suspenseful episode, we also have the return of both Mei Chen and Leland Strand to add a few more twists and turns. What has become the central theme of this first season of “Intelligence” – trust – also comes to a head as the CyberCom team works to clear Gabriel’s name and discover who is actually behind the murders. With each passing scene, it becomes more and more difficult to determine who can be trusted and who cannot.

The episode opens with three men being murdered in a hotel room – the Deputy Director of the FBI for domestic ops, the former head of Intelligence for the U.S. Central Command in the Middle East, and a security guard. When CyberCom starts investigating the murders, they learn that someone was working behind-the-scenes to clear the assassin’s path, wipe the hotel’s key card system clean, and otherwise remove any trace of who committed the crime. As Nelson quips, this was someone ‘with mad skills’. Gabriel then enters the hotel’s computer system in order cyber-render the crime scene. In an unexpected turn of events, it is actually Gabriel who appears in the cyber-render as the potential assassin.

As Lillian questions Gabriel about his whereabouts so as to make sure he does have his alibi in order before Director of National Intelligence Adam Weatherly arrives, his visit being protocol for this type of investigation, Gabriel reveals an unsettling fact – he woke up that morning with a raging headache and has no memory of the previous night’s events other than that he had a couple of beers with Riley. Lillian and her team, of course, trust Gabriel implicitly and know he couldn’t possibly have committed such a crime so they begin to look for clues as to what has really happened and who is responsible. Weatherly and his cohort CIA Director Jeff Tetazoo, however, apparently do not share a similar trust of Gabriel and, again, per the protocol required for such an investigation, they storm into CyberCom headquarters and place Gabriel into “protective custody” or what Weatherly refers to as “keeping our asset safe.”

Lillian gives Tetazoo "The Look".

Lillian gives Tetazoo “The Look”.

Lillian then has a very tense meeting with Weatherly and Tetazoo. Protocol or no protocol, she clearly doesn’t trust either of them, especially Tetazoo, whom she accuses of spying on her agency again. Lillian and Tetazoo trade a few barbs about common courtesy and information sharing before they finally get down to the business at hand. Weatherly and Tetazoo then inform Lillian that the meeting in the hotel room was an ‘off book’ meeting, definitely not protocol for men in their positions. Tetazoo, however, seems more interested in focusing on Gabriel. He tells Lillian he has two theories to explain Gabriel’s involvement with the murders: 1) One of the men killed was in command of the mission in Mumbai that ultimately led to the death of Gabriel’s wife so it could be Gabriel seeking revenge; or 2) Someone has hacked into Gabriel’s chip and is controlling him remotely. Tetazoo is leaning towards the second theory and presents Lillian with the details of a classified report written by none other than Dr. Shenandoah Cassidy more than a decade ago. Cassidy outlines what he feels could be a vulnerability in the Clockwork program – that it is possible that someone could hack into the chip and cause a “dissociated cerebral action” and basically operate the asset (i.e. Gabriel) remotely. Again, more questions of trust arise: Who would have had access to this classified information and want to use it against CyberCom in such a manner?

Tetazoo questions Lillian about her refusal to believe Gabriel cannot be controlled.

Tetazoo questions Lillian about her refusal to believe Gabriel cannot be controlled.

Once Lillian is briefed, Weatherly and Tetazoo then separate and interrogate both Gabriel and Riley. Weatherly questions Riley as to how far she would actually go to protect Gabriel, implying that she could be considered Gabriel’s accomplice in the murders. Tetazoo and Gabriel have a similarly contentious meeting and when Gabriel takes a cyber-peek at Tetazoo’s files and remarks “Judging from your files, you’re more likely to have committed these murders that I am”, Tetazoo is none too pleased. Gabriel then tries to plead his case, saying that he should be out there searching for whoever has framed him, but Tetazoo informs Gabriel that he isn’t going anywhere because he is “a dangerous weapon that can’t be controlled” and then rather viciously states that as far as he’s concerned, he’ll have the chip ripped out of Gabriel’s head before Gabriel is allowed to leave CyberCom. Feeling that he is being threatened, Gabriel punches Tetazoo and, with Riley’s help, escapes from custody.

Lillian is removed from command.

Lillian is removed from command.

Tensions further escalate after Gabriel escapes when Tetazoo confronts Lillian about her refusal to believe that Gabriel cannot be controlled. Lillian thinks Tetazoo is just mad because his ego got bruised and chides him: “You took a punch, Jeff. Get over it!”. Weatherly steps in, however, and tells her that this incident has caused the President to doubt her ability to control and contain her asset. Weatherly then orders Lillian removed from the command of CyberCommand until further notice, names Tetazoo as Acting Head of CyberCommand, and orders everyone to give Tetazoo their complete loyalty. To the dismay of Lillian and her team, Tetazoo chooses not to presume that they are innocent until proven guilty and launches a full scale manhunt for Gabriel and Riley, ordering that they be brought in dead or alive.
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INTELLIGENCE 1×11 RECAP & REVIEW: “DID WE JUST LOSE THIS ONE?”

‘The Grey Hat’, this week’s installment of Intelligence, written by Heidi Cole McAdams and directed by Tim Hunter, focuses on two very real threats that we face in modern society, hackers and nuclear disasters, and what happens when the two threats merged into one potentially deadly attack.

The episode opens with Lillian telling her team about blackouts that have suddenly started plunging the U.S. West Coast into darkness. When Riley questions what this has to do with CyberCom, Nelson explains that the Cyber Defense Division has determined that the blackouts are being caused by a sophisticated and destructive cyber worm that a hacker has unleashed inside of the power grid.

All signs seemingly point to Cortez, a legend in the hacker community who specializes in ‘hostage ware’ or ‘grey hat’ scams, where he installs a destructive worm into a corporation’s systems and then blackmails the corporation into paying him to stop the worm. Riley questions how attacking a power grid would fit Cortez’s usual M.O. and Nelson chalks it up to ego, the desire to prove he’s the best high-level hacker out there. Nelson quickly realizes, however, that Cortez has made an error — the security system for the power grid only allows access to local IP addresses; therefore the worm had to have originated in Los Angeles. Lillian has heard enough and, taking charge, dispatches Gabriel, Riley, and Nelson to L.A. to find this Cortez and stop the worm: “Everyone, this is the cyber attack we’ve all been afraid of. Millions of lives are affected and we may not have seen the worst yet.”

Intelligence 1x11 001

When Gabriel, Riley, and Nelson track down “Cortez”, aka Troy Ricksen, and show him what they believe to be his handiwork, we are presented with our first major plot twist. Troy informs them that it’s not his worm — someone has cloned it and the design is such that he can’t stop it. In fact, it won’t stop until it has found and attacked its target. Ready to “bust some heads” because someone has stolen his worm, Troy tells Gabriel, Nelson, and Riley that the power grid is not the worm’s actual target. Using a vivid analogy, he explains that the worm to a kitten playing with a ball of string while it’s roaming the power grid. Once it finds its true target, the worm will transform from a kitten to a tiger and attack. With assistance from Troy and Nelson, who make quite a team, I must say, Gabriel determines that a nuclear power plant in California is the worm’s target. Whoever cloned Troy’s worm has sold it to terrorists.

Back at CyberCommand, Lillian meets with the heads of the other DOJ agencies to decide the best course of action. While they are discussing their options, they receive a video broadcast from Torbin Salvi, the leader of the anti-nuclear terrorist organization, NSR. He is willing to abort their attack if his brother, Dominic Salvi, was arrested by the FBI for bombing a nuclear research facility in Moscow and killing 52 people, is released from U.S. custody rather than being extradited to Russia where he is expected to be executed for his crimes. If Dominic is not released, the NSR will unleash a nuclear disaster on the U.S. West Coast that will rival Chernobyl.

Intelligence 1x11 002

Once Gabriel and Riley realize how dire the situation is, they seek Troy’s help in doing whatever it takes to stop the worm. Troy, however, realizing who has stolen his worm, gives Gabriel and the team the slip and goes to confront the thief. Rather than “bust some heads”, he tells the thief that the two of them are going to do the right thing — they’re going to work together to stop that worm before anyone else gets killed. Troy sees just how high the stakes are when the terrorists show up and start shooting. Thankfully Gabriel has tracked the vehicle Troy stole and he and Riley are able to stop the attackers before they can harm Troy, although his friend isn’t so lucky. When Riley and Gabriel tell him that he has the ability to stop the worm with a biometric ‘kill switch’ of his that was also cloned, Troy tells them that he can stop the worm but he needs the “mother ship,” the computer that was used to originally launch the worm, to do so.

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INTELLIGENCE 1×10 “CAIN AND GABRIEL” – RECAP, REVIEW, & SCREEN CAPTURES

I’m a little short on writing time this week, so I’m going to focus almost exclusively on Lillian and of course on how completely amazing Marg was in this episode. If you liked the episode “The Rescue” because we got to see a different side of Lillian as we explored her relationship with her father, then you’re going to LOVE “Cain and Gabriel.”

In this episode, the CyberCom team learns that the FBI’s Witness Protection database has been hacked and someone is using it to blackmail witnesses into carrying out terrorist attacks. When a large quantity of potentially deadly chemicals is stolen, Gabriel uses his chip to track the vehicle and quickly determines that the target of the next attack is San Francisco. As soon as Gabriel mentions San Francisco, a variety of emotions play across Lillian’s face, and in a move that surprises everyone except for Dr. Cassidy, she announces that she will be joining Gabriel and Riley in the field to prevent this imminent attack. As she declares, “Wheels up in an hour” and abruptly leaves the room to prepare for their departure, Cassidy explains to the team that Lillian’s daughter, Rebecca (played by the lovely and talented Laura Slade from “Shameless”), lives in San Francisco.

Lillian learns about San Francisco

Lillian’s maternal side takes center stage in “Cain and Gabriel”. Throughout the episode, the viewers, as well as Riley and Gabriel, who even comments that Lillian isn’t herself, can see that Lillian is struggling with an internal conflict — as a mother, she wants to do nothing more than get her daughter out of harm’s way, but as Director of CyberCommand, she is expected to follow certain national security protocols for the greater good. As she tells Gabriel when he suggests that she call and warn her daughter, “The best way for me to protect my daughter is to make sure that this attack never happens. Because the minute any of us puts our own interests ahead of our job, that’s the minute that my daughter’s life really is in jeopardy.” As accurate as her statement may be, the expression on Lillian’s face is most telling. She is trying to convince herself here as much as she is trying to convince Gabriel. One of the things I loved most about this episode was reading the emotions on Lillian’s face. Often, her expressions told us just as much, if not more, of what she was thinking and feeling than her actual words did. Marg is a true artist when it comes using facial expressions to convey the nuances of her character’s emotions — that’s one of the many reasons why I enjoy watching her perform so much.

Lillian goes to see her daughter

As her team works to find the attacker and eliminate the threat, Lillian stops in, unannounced, to check on her daughter. What we see right away is that their relationship, much like Lillian’s relationship with her father, is a bit strained. They obviously don’t talk very often, considering that Lillian has no idea Rebecca’s boyfriend has been out of the picture for months. Rebecca mentions her father several times and it is apparent that she is much closer to him than she is to Lillian. They obviously love each other, but it’s not an easy relationship and when Lillian comes back to see her a second time and demands that Rebecca leave town, Rebecca lashes out at Lillian. She tells her that she is too controlling and that she treats her family as if they are her employees to order around. This sounds like an argument they’ve had before and is probably also one of the reasons why the two of them live on opposite coasts. Rebecca’s words stop Lillian in her tracks and she tries again, a little less commanding this time, and is able to convey to Rebecca why she needs for her to leave town immediately, with the promise of phoning her to explain the full story as soon as she can. Hats off to both Marg and Laura Slade for their scenes together. They had excellent chemistry and were very believable as mother and daughter.

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AAM RECAP & REVIEW OF INTELLIGENCE 1×09: “WE ARE THE HOPE.”

“Athens”, this week’s installment of “Intelligence”, is my favorite episode of the series to date. In addition to featuring the usual roller coaster ride of action-packed twists and turns, which always makes for fun viewing, it also further explored the theme of trust, which is one that we’ve explored in previous episodes. Who can be trusted and who can’t be trusted? And, in particular, can we trust our government? The events of the episode also served as a test for the CyberCommand team members – can they be trusted to take action as needed when they come under attack?

The episode opens with a familiar face from the show’s pilot, Jin Cong, being broken out of a Chinese prison. While we have no idea at this time what his intentions are, we know that we can’t trust him. No good can come from Jin Cong being a free man.

Back at CyberCommand, Lillian and Jameson have the unfortunate task of dealing with a pair of Department of Defense Security Auditors as they question all of the safety protocols in place at the agency. There is a brief moment of levity when one of the auditors, while looking for security flaws in CyberCom’s live tissue palm recognition software, inquires as to what the protocol would be if a user “gets their hand cut off in a freak gardening accident?” Without missing a beat, Lillian’s sassy response is to order Jameson to conduct a hand count: “Make sure everyone has two.” And then with a big smile at the auditors, she quips “I feel safer already.” Clearly dealing with government security auditors is one of the necessary evils of Lillian’s job so why not have a little fun with it?

Lillians mocks the auditors

The fun ends almost immediately, however, when CyberCommand faces a very real threat and their security protocols are put to the test. An aggressive virus attacks and takes down their entire network and it becomes apparent that whoever is behind the attack is after the country’s most sensitive information. Also problematic, however, is the fact that the attack has also erased Gabriel’s memory and in essence taken the country’s most valuable intelligence weapon out of commission. Lillian and her team know they’re in trouble when Gabriel starts to panic and asks, “Who the hell are you people?”

What I particularly liked about this episode was that the women were the ones who took charge at nearly every opportunity. Lillian and Riley, brilliantly played by Marg and Meghan respectively, are two of the strongest female characters I’ve seen on television in a long time and they are thrilling to watch each week. When Gabriel loses his memory, and along with it, his trust of those around him, he physically lashes out at Jameson as he tries to escort him to ClockWork. He easily takes Jameson down with a sucker punch and it’s Riley who steps in and stops Gabriel. It’s also Riley who takes the lead in trying to calm Gabriel down and remind him who he is, that he is part of their team, and that he can trust them. While Riley is taking the lead when it comes to Gabriel, Lillian takes the lead when it comes to dealing with the threat at hand. Back in the control room, while Nelson, clearly overwhelmed by the speed and severity of the cyber attacks, is frantically running around and announcing each new assault on the network while simultaneously making nervous jokes to the auditors — “How are we doing on that security audit?” — it’s Lillian who takes matters into her own hands. She quickly and calmly assesses the situation and realizes the attacker’s true intent. Knowing that sensitive data must be protected at all costs, she makes the decisive call to neutralize the threat: “Okay, that’s it. I’m formally instituting the Orion Protocol.” When the security auditor balks at her decision because “Orion is a protocol of last resort,” Lillian swiftly neutralizes her as well: “Take a look around. There are no resorts left.” Once she has put a muzzle on the auditor, Lillian commands Jameson to “cut the trunk,” effectively cutting CyberCommand off from the outside world and thus stopping the cyber attack. When the auditor once again questions her judgment, Lillian’s defiant response is: “Put it in your report.”
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