Friday, April 7, 2017

Now on Amazon Prime: Patriot (2017)

Patriot (2017) - Created by Steve Conrad; Starring Michael Dorman, Michael Chernus, Terry O'Quinn, Kathleen Munroe, Kurtwood Smith, Aliette Ophiem, Chris Conrad, Gil Bellows, Marcus Toji.

By Kenny Howell

A depressed intelligence officer takes a job undercover as an engineer at a midwestern piping firm in this very dry, fun new comedy from Amazon.

Michael Dorman is John Tavner, an intelligence officer who is trying to keep Iran from going nuclear. To do that, he must obtain a job at a midwestern company because they take frequent trips to Luxembourg, an important place to be for the fight against Iran. To obtain the job, he pushes his competition, Stephen Tchoo, into the path of a truck, which leaves him brain damaged, but capable of regaining memory of all that happened. The company brings Stephen on as well, and he gets his own desk attached to the side of John's.

Laughing yet? Because it is really funny the way creator Steve Conrad and the cast deliver it. It is this weird mixture of dark and dry that works extremely well, though occasionally drags because it gets too dry.

John has Stephen regaining his memory and a cop is trying to figure out just who he is, and a boss who hates him and wants him fired. But John's biggest enemy might be himself. He is battling a deep existential depression, unable to break free from his professional life, which is led by his father Tom, played by the great Terry O'Quinn. It forces him to bumbling mistakes, so he spends a lot of time trying to clean up his messes instead of working the actual case. As things close in, he doesn't get more panicked, just more down, and that puts the whole mission in jeopardy.

Patriot is kind of its own thing. I don't know if I have seen anything quite like it in tone, which is sometimes a great thing, but sometimes not. The drollness perfectly captures John's mindset, but there are enough laughs, some quite big, to keep the thing moving. It's a very solid first season for a show, and I am curious where it goes from here.

The first season of Patriot is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

Rating: ***1/2

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