ABC's 'Quantico' Tackles Terrorism, Offends Mormons in Series Premiere

September 27th, 2015 7:05 PM

Editor's note: This story contains spoilers from the premiere episode of Quantico on ABC.

As radical Muslims wage jihad around the world and plot against Western nations including the U.S., ABC’s new show Quantico which premieres tonight will try to unravel the mystery of an FBI “inside job” terrorist attack against New York’s Grand Central Station.

As it flashes back and forth from the start of FBI training to the aftermath of “the most devastating terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11.” The audience is introduced to a number of FBI recruits including main character Alex Parrish, played by Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra.

Parrish is framed for the attack and escapes to find out who is really responsible. Chopra described her character as a “female Jason Bourne,” according to The Wrap.

The drama’s premiere shows two characters having sex in a car, multiple shootings and content the creators knew would probably offend members of the Mormon religion.

In the very first episode Parrish is revealed to be a skilled liar and someone who will have sex (in a car) with a man she just met on a flight to D.C., but won’t tell him her name. When he asks for her number she says no because “you’re not my type.” That man turns out to be fellow recruit Ryan Booth.

Other recruits include Mormon Eric Packer, “devout” and mysterious Muslim woman Nimah Amin, openly gay Simon Asher who comes from a “Zionist” Jewish family and Southern belle markswoman Shelby Wyatt whose parents were killed on 9/11. (Southern, pro-gun and a 9/11 victim. Hollywood just loves all those, so mark her down as a likely suspect.)

One subplot revealed in the premiere already offended members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. An ABC affiliate in Salt Lake City pointed out on Sept. 25, that the episode “presents an inaccurate, and to some, offensive portrayal of the LDS faith.” An early release of the show upset Mormons according to an August article in The Salt Lake Tribune because they learned the Mormon character, Packer, would be shown in his underwear.

“Faithful Mormons consider temple garments sacred, and many find it offensive when they are displayed publicly — let alone as a plot point in a TV drama,” Scott D. Pierce wrote for The Tribune. Pierce also pointed out that the Mormon FBI recruit is also a “huge hypocrite.”

“It was not meant to be disrespectful in any way," executive producer and writer of the episode Joshua Safran said. "And, I think, moving forward that will become clear." Safran also told the Tribune Eric Packer would not be the only Mormon character and said the episode might get recut before the Sept. 27, premiere date.

But based on a Sept. 12, prescreening of the show it had not been removed and “huge hypocrite” was a serious understatement.

The criticism obviously didn’t bother ABC or Safran, since they left in the underwear scene as well as multiple harassing comments about Mormonism including a polygamy joke from recruit Caleb Haas. He harasses Packer from the get-go and then selects him as the person to investigate when all the recruits are ordered to find the missing fact from someone else’s file. Each recruit’s dirty secrets are revealed in front of all their fellow FBI Academy members.

It turns out Packer has a horrible secret. While he was on his mission he got a 14-year-old Malawi girl pregnant and then took her to get an abortion and it killed her. The stress of believing that secret would be exposed pushes him to lose it and shoot a woman, threaten Haas and ultimately blow his own head off.

Lead character Parrish’s own secret is that as a teenager she, not her mother, killed her father after he attacked her mother.