Detectives and crime investigators have changed a lot since the age of Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, and crime dramas. The detective doesn’t gather the suspects in a room as a captive audience and point fingers at the culprit in a typical whodunit style. Instead, the crime investigators of today’s drama series prove their colleagues wrong with their extraordinary perceptive skills and pick fights inside their workplaces. Enter Will Trent (Ramon Rodriguez), a special agent at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), who’s disliked by his peers because of his confidence. Trent has very few friends in his workplace, and yet his skills at finding things that want to stay hidden earn him the adulation of his romantic interest and the ire of his fellow agents. ABC’s crime drama “Will Trent: Pilot” begins with the case of a brutal murder of a teenager, while the layers of Trent’s personal life start peeling apart simultaneously. Here’s everything that met the eye in the “Pilot” and all that remained unspoken.
The series begins with a woman confronting her husband about his infidelity when she notices that someone has broken into their home. Abigail (Jennifer Morrison) spots a bloody footprint and immediately rushes up to find a young girl (supposedly her daughter Emma) lying face down in a pool of blood while a man is standing with a bloody knife in hand. A scuffle ensues, and maybe it’s the sudden rush of adrenaline or the sheer shock of seeing one’s offspring dead, but Abigail kills the man. The scene rapidly shifts to show a man with a three-piece suit and a puppy at hand at a rescue center, and due to reasons unknown, he doesn’t say no to adopting Betty, the animal. Trent is called to the scene of the crime soon, and as he braves his way into the house through the animosity of his peers, he quickly refutes the breaking and entering theory. Trent discovers a host of clues, like a photo frame of Emma and another girl, both of whom look alike, and two boots of the same size—clues that the cops seemingly ignored. Meanwhile, Abigail’s husband and the murdered teenager’s father, Paul Campano, bursts into the crime scene, and it seems that Trent and Paul went their separate ways if the latter’s addressing the special agent as “trash” says something. Paul identifies the deceased girl as Kayla, Emma’s friend, while Trent notices the stench of urine from a closet in the room and deduces that Emma hid in there while the perpetrator stabbed Kayla. He issues an amber alert because Emma has been kidnapped, and the man that Abigail killed had actually tried to save Kayla. Trent has to team up with a younger agent, Faith Mitchell, and neither of them are happy with this pairing.
Meanwhile, Angie Polaski is deep undercover and inches away from apprehending a big drug lord when her friend Jules informs her that the white BMW that the cops are looking for is parked nearby. Polaski quickly phones Trent and informs him of the recent development, and the audience is made aware of a romantic angle between the two, though not in so many words. The unlikely duo arrive at a recording studio where the car was parked and meet Warren, the current owner of the studio. Thanks to the CCTV footage, the detectives conclude that there’s a second kidnapper who drove away in a different vehicle, while the color-coded keys in the studio pique Trent’s interest. On the way to GBI, Trent deduces that Warren is dyslexic and picks a fight with Paul inside the bureau. It’s here that the hush-hush secret is revealed: Paul and Trent grew up in an orphanage together. Abigail is infuriated at her husband and leaves, while Trent gets some payback for apparently years of bullying he suffered from Paul.
On the Atlanta Police Department side of things, Michael brings in Gabe, the roommate of Adam—the guy who was stabbed and mistakenly killed by Abigail. Gabe reveals to Trent and Faith that Adam was receiving notes from a stranger because of his relationship with Emma, who was a minor. Trent quickly notices the E’s in the letter are reversed, and it’s obvious that Warren is the suspect. However, they’re too late to arrive at the studio, and Warren commits suicide before they can reach him. Having lost the only lead they had in Emma’s kidnapping, Faith and Trent talk, and he opens up a bit about his past in the orphanage. Back at his place, Angie and Trent embrace. Later, trying to read frustrates Trent, and it’s revealed that he, too, is dyslexic. Paul arrives at the door in bloody clothes and informs Trent that he shot the man who had kidnapped his daughter, Emma. So, the case reopens again, and now we must tune in next week to find out whom Paul shot and how he knew that he was the culprit.
Will Trent is seen as a strange man with idiosyncrasies that make him stand out, but then again, all great detectives have their own peculiarities, although Trent’s colleagues would disagree. From the get-go, it’s clarified that Trent’s eagle-eye perception finds things that most would miss, although the clues that he does notice aren’t too hard to miss. The agent has had a troubled past, and his scarred body has a backstory that will be revealed in the episodes to come. Angie Polaski and Trent go way back and seem to have had an on-again, off-again relationship, and she knows Paul as well. However, the details on this aren’t clear either, and we’ll have to wait for the following episodes to find out. Back at the bureau, Trent has a rocky start with Faith because his investigation ruined the three-decade-long career of her mother, who was also in law enforcement, the details of which are left unexplained. Overall, the Pilot raises a lot of questions, apart from the obvious, about who kidnapped Emma.
From a crime drama lover’s perspective, either the clues seem a little obvious, or Trent’s peers are made purposefully less aware to help the protagonist shine. If the questions that the Pilot raises aren’t attractive enough to keep “Will Trent’s” viewership hooked, the idiosyncrasies of this tape-recorder-using, handkerchief-wielding adoptive dad of Betty the dog will surely retain the audience. There’s not much food for thought in ABC’s newest drama, but you can enjoy it as evening TV before tucking in for the night.