The best part about “Whiskey Cavalier,” the new action-adventure series on ABC, is seeing the return of a well-done spy-vs-spy romp sprinkled with comedy and wonderful worldwide locations. It follows the adventures of an FBI agent and his new partner, a kick-butt CIA operative, who battle their emotions and international bad guys.
Will Chase (Scott Foley) is a tough but tender FBI super-agent, code name “Whiskey Cavalier.” Following an emotional breakup, he is assigned to work with CIA operative Frankie Trowbridge (Lauren Cohan), code name “Fiery Tribune.” Together, they lead an interagency team of flawed and funny spies, who periodically save the world. They also have a knack for saving each other while navigating friendship, romance and office politics with the rest of the cast: Ana Ortiz as Susan Sampson, Tyler James Williams as Edgar Standish, Vir Das as Jai Datta, and Josh Hopkins as Ray Prince.
…‘your code name is your favorite drink, plus— producer David Hemingson
the name of your first pet.’
Whiskey Cavalier’s stars and creative team flew in from their production base in Prague to promote their Warner Bros. Television production at the recent Television Critics Association’s winter 2019 press tour. On hand for the ABC panel were the super-charismatic leads Scott Foley and Lauren Cohan, plus creator/writer and executive producer Dave Hemingson and executive producer Bill Lawrence (Scrubs).
The high-octane dramedy had a lot of appeal for Foley, best known for roles in Scandal and Felicity, to play a sensitive action hero. When asked if his emotional character gets “less weepy” as the show goes along, Foley feigned indignity at the question, and retorted, “What’s your problem with emotion, man?”
He’s certainly not stepping into a super-stoic “James Bond” type persona, and Foley further explained, “I think he carries the weight of the (breakup) experience with him. It was really a great way to introduce a different side to a leading action man. That was the idea going in. It’s time to sort of reinvent that trope that is the leading man in an action series. To me, there’s something unrelatable to a lot of the tropes you see in the men that save the world. This is something that is modern and more interesting. It’s much more relatable to have a character like this than someone sort of stoic.”
How was the series created? Producer David Hemingson said it started when he received a late night call from a friend, who had thwarted a terrorist attack. “When a call comes at two in the morning, you’re like, ‘Oh my God, who died?’ So it’s my buddy, an FBI agent, and I’m, like, ‘Are you okay? It’s 2 in the morning!’ He goes, ‘Oh, man, I’m so sorry. Listen, I’m breaking up with my girlfriend, and I created this playlist because we’ve been having a hard time.’ I’m thinking, this guy, he’s off saving the world, and he’s calling me about his breakup with his girlfriend. And I started thinking to myself, ‘This guy is the first guy through the door, gun out and up. He is an American hero, and at the end of the day, what he wants is what we all want, which is love and connection.’ So I started wondering why we always portray these guys as cold, hard lotharios. Why aren’t we portraying these men and women as people who are desperate to trust somebody and urgently want connection?” So the seed was planted that grew into the idea for the Whiskey Cavalier series.
What’s the show’s title, Whiskey Cavalier, all about? It’s about the fun code names that give a nod to the spy genre. Bill Laurence (one of the funniest guys in the production business) loves the idea that the “What’s your code name?” question is catching on. Laurence revealed, “The joke is that your code name is your favorite drink, plus the name of your first pet. And that would make Scott Foley’s real code name ‘Tequila Sissy.’”
With international locations that have Foley and Cohan running passed the Eiffel Tower in Paris, in speedboats down the River Thames in London, on ski slopes in Austria, and more exciting spots for a good time popcorn ride rocking the spy game genre, Whiskey Cavalier is a hit Wednesday nights on ABC. Tune in.
Margie Barron is a member of the Television Critics Association and has written for a variety of top publications for more than 38 years, and was half of the husband and wife writing team of Margie and Frank Barron.