USA's Graceland: Will You Pay a Return Visit?

Graceland - PilotUSA Network this Thursday night invited you to Graceland, its new crime drama from White Collar creator Jeff Eastin — so, was it fun in the SoCal sun?

RELATED | Welcome to Graceland: Your Guide to Who’s Who — Including the Big Liar and Two Fierce Femmes

The premiere introduced us to Mike Warren (played by Aaron Tveit, Les Miserables), an FBI rookie detoured from his desired D.C. assignment and instead deposited in the titular beach house, which also plays home to fellow bureau agents Paul Briggs (Daniel Sunjata, Rescue Me), “Charlie” DeMarco (Vanessa Ferlito, CSI: NY) and “Johnny” Tuturro (Manny Montana, Chicago Code), DEA agent Lauren Kincade (Scottie Thompson, NCIS), and Dale Jakes (Brandon Jay McLaren, The Killing) from Customs. In Episode 2, Serinda Swan (Breakout Kings) joins the cast as DEA agent Paige Arkin.

Mike in short order learned the ways of the Graceland chore wheel, was made privy to Briggs’ elaborate undercover identity (as a sometime “actor” who had been in an awful-sounding cop movie), and even learned to ride some waves.

RELATED | USA Network Boss: New Graceland ‘Has Some Real Grittiness,’ But Isn’t Too Dark for Us

The hour led up to Mike’s first big assignment, posing as a petty criminal’s brother-in-law so as to entrap a much bigger fish. Mike pulled off his “hit,” but then almost got whacked himself — had Briggs not arrived on the scene and saved his life by popping a goon under suspect circumstances.

As the premiere drew to a close, Mike got a call from his FBI supervisor (Law & Order: CI’s Courtney B. Vance), who questioned whether Brigg’s life-saving gesture would impede the rookie’s ability to proceed with his assignment: to investigate his elite FBI roommate.

Will you be returning to Graceland on Thursday nights? Grade the premiere in our poll and share your review in comments. Want scoop on Graceland, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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89 Comments
  1. Amazing! Loved everything about it. Very promising.

    • John says:

      All we need is to grow the melting pot a bit more every couple of episodes…more racial variety, please. Jeff Eastin did the right thing casting Sunjata instead of yet another Caucasian male lead, so it seems the USAN execs are being careful to cast a wider net and grab a lot more ‘colored’ viewers. Good job, Eastin,…and good job, USA Network! :) Greetings from Edmonton, AB, Canada…Johnny

  2. Chablis says:

    Great.

  3. Michelle says:

    To me USA can do nothing wrong! They put in just the right amount of drama to keep you interested during the episode but more importantly they create intriguing characters that truly keep you coming back for more. Graceland is no exception to me! I’m so curious about Briggs backstory and the other members in the house! I can’t wait to keep learning about the characters and will definitely keep watching!!

    • Alan says:

      gotta agree about usa, they just cant seem to make a show that isnt less than great and that goodwill alone gets me to watch anything new they make, this being no exception. there is real potential for a great series here so i cant wait to see more.

  4. The pilot is incredible! The dialogue was hysterical between the characters, incredible chemistry, and it seems clear Johnny/Mike will be BFFs lol! Johnny Tuturro’s character is my favorite because of his HILARIOUS line delivery!

  5. Rachel says:

    I’ll stick around for Aaron Tveit’s face.

  6. Sherry Calloway says:

    I’m very upset that this is the last season of Burn Notice, but I will definitely watch Graceland. It takes at least one good actor/actress to make a show great and Graceland has several, with all of the goofy reality tv it’s hard to find something good to watch. (Thank You USA )for all of the great shows like Burn Notice, NCIS and now Graceland.

  7. Julie says:

    USA has another summer hit on their hands! Looking forward to next week.

  8. Meg says:

    So…why does Scott Thompson have to leave after the pilot? I see no reason for that.

    • Alichat says:

      It does seem odd to establish her then replace her.

      • M3rc Nate says:

        With the bringing in of Serinda Swan on episode two, it leads me to believe for some reason Scott either left or was booted. OR (the awesome option) her and her shot DEA partner (considering they are both known good actors) have a plot line that comes back up at some point. It would be weird for them both to have just one episode parts in the show, and with the “his stuff in my room” situation…the pilot also leaves me to believe they were both at least originally intended to be in the show.

    • Pennagirl says:

      Other than Scottie can’t act? That’s a good reason.

      • lyn says:

        Thank you. I could not stand her on NCIS, and she lessened my enthusiasm for Graceland. The rest of the cast were fine. It’s kind of a guy show IMO though, so not sure how long I’ll stick with it.

        • Bella says:

          Yes, I don’t like Scottie either. Hated her character on NCIS. I imagine they’re going to kill her character off and that’s why she’s being replaced.

      • Alichat says:

        Well usually, if that’s the reason, she would have been recast in the pilot, and her scenes reshot with the new actress. In this case, they established her character, then are getting rid of the character.

  9. Chris says:

    Yes, I will back. Aaron Tveit is HOT.

  10. ninergrl6 says:

    I’d watch Aaron Tveit in ANYTHING, but I’m happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode of Graceland & can’t wait to see more.

  11. Lewis says:

    Good show! Aaron Tveit has both the looks and the smarts; and the entire cast comes off as being very professional and realistic, especially given the difficult situations in which they find themselves. I was already looking forward to the next episode when along came the coming attractions and really grabbed me. Can’t wait. Another winner from the creator of White Collar.

  12. Big D says:

    Awesome show. USA is the best. Very cool to seem them trying some darker yet clearly still a USA style show.

  13. Big D says:

    USA’s shows are often referred to as “blue sky” shows. I guess we can call this “dark blue”.

    • Steven says:

      Despite the guns and drugs, this seemed more “blue sky” to me than “Suits.”

      • M3rc Nate says:

        Though i think there is a part of Blue-Sky that is intended to be attitude and aura, i think it also is meant literally. Pretty much all of USA shows are shot in a way (color and angle) that you see a lot of openness and the blue sky. Suits has a lot of outside New York (though its actually Vancouver i believe) shots that are bright and blue skies.

        And to me at least for this pilot, i would say this was still a very funny, upbeat, sunny beachy LA show. If you want Dark Blue, literally watch the TNT show Dark Blue lol, it was always DARK (night time) and real undercover (mega gritty, blastin people). But i enjoyed Graceland though it didnt have as much punch as Suits or White Collar, but there are so many characters to get to knkow and so many lies/covers/truths to sort through that it will take a bit longer than say Mike and Harvey, or Neal and Peter.

        • lyn says:

          I believe a lot of the exteriors are shot in Toronto.

        • Eliza says:

          Suits is primarily shot in Toronto with some filming done in NYC.
          White Collar films entirely in NYC & I do love that.

        • MJ says:

          Thought I understand why Graceland is shot in Florida (budget reasons), you just can’t was the Atlantic look like the Pacific. Because of that, the deach scenes make me laugh a lot. Other than that, I reallt liked the show.

          • lyn says:

            This blog is meant to be in English.

          • MJ says:

            My apologies. My computer is having jumping cursor issues which is causing major typos and, unfortunately, you can’t edit a comment once you post it. If it’ll make you happy, I’ll edit it here:

            “Though I understand why Graceland is shot in Florida (budget reasons), you just can’t make the Atlantic look like the Pacific. Because of that, the beach scenes make me laugh a lot. Other than that, I really liked the show.”

            Thanks for your kindness, Lyn. I hope you’re happier now!

  14. BBC says:

    Yes because of the gorgeous Aaron Tveit.

  15. The pilot was surprisingly good. Will definitely put this on the DVR.

  16. brycealexander says:

    Can’t wait to watch tomorrow!

  17. Ever says:

    Daniel Sunjata is so beautiful, I could just stare at him all day. I also loved how this author wrote Aaron Tviet, Les Miserables. That’s adorable. You don’t need to put a terrible movie that he was a minor character in after his name. You can just say broadway royalty or Fiyero!

    • Carrie says:

      Except that a very large portion of the population isn’t going to care about Broadway and very likely wouldn’t understand who the heck Fiyero was. Les Miserables is absolutely the appropriate reference here with how huge the movie was and calling Enjolras a minor character is truly a disservice to the work that Aaron did in the film. I don’t even like Les Mis (on stage or on screen) but Enjolras is a role that is well regarded and despite not being a portion of the central plots (Valjean/Javert conflict, the romantic plot) is part of some of the most compelling portions of the work.

      • JBC says:

        I enjoyed Les Mis the movie too and agree that Aaron’s role was not minor at all. This movie was my intro to this fine actor and singer. As far as I Graceland, so far so good looking forward to more episodes..Lot of good potential storytelling hopefully.

  18. James says:

    very good pilot, loved the cast and the writing seems pretty tight, looks like it has a lot of potential will definitely stay tuned

  19. Theresa says:

    Loved the pilot! Sad it interferes with Rookie Blue, but definitely will be watching! Im actually excited about this show. Thumbs up to USA.

  20. Pennagirl says:

    Frankly couldn’t stand it. Overacting, unreal situations, other than the beefcake/cheesecake…the show isn’t that greatly written or acted.

  21. MT84 says:

    Yeah…. Sorry to break it to you guys, but this show is ridiculous. It is so far from reality its almost sickening. The Russian accents are HORRIBLE. A completely green agent thrust into undercover roles like that is just unbelievable. With that being said, the series will probably be smash hit because this is what people believe is reality. USA Network… You have let me down.

    • Brooke says:

      Who the hell watches USA shows for “reality”? This is scripted entertainment, not a documentary or a “reality” show. As long as it’s internally consistent, they can make the plot whatever they WANT the plot to be.

    • Fran says:

      I hate when people resort to insults to try and prove their point. This isn’t a reality show. Its based on true events, not an exact replica. Of course you have to suspend belief, just like pretty much every other show out there.

    • Lewis says:

      What did you want USA to do – cast real Russian maphia?! If you want reality, go to FOX, NBC, ABC, or CBS – biggest loser anyone? Your comment is ridiculous. And since when are all Russian accents homogenous? Glug…

  22. n says:

    USA ran the promos for Graceland into the ground. Long before the show actually aired, I reached the point at which I simply couldn’t watch them one more time. Ergo, didn’t watch the show, either.

    • Eli says:

      That still makes you the idiot in this scenario…

    • E says:

      cool story bro. what a good reason to not watch a show.

    • ?…Why post a comment? It makes absolutely no SENSE. lmao You tried it though!

      • n says:

        So an act of overpromotion doesn’t constitute grounds for disinterest? I’m an idiot and you text-speaking thumbdraggers are Einstein and Shakespeare’s babies? If you think what I said made no sense, go read your illiterate drivel.

        I guess TV rotted your brains.

        • Brooke says:

          You were the one watching so much TV that you saw these commercials as many times as you did. Anyone who visits and comments on a TV news/recap website really has no room to accuse TV watchers of being dumb.

          • Meg says:

            In n’s defense, you didn’t have to watch that much USA to be inundated with the promos for Graceland (or any show, really) since USA tends to show the same promos at every commercial break.

            However to come to a recap article and say you didn’t watch I because you saw the promo too much is a little pointless.

    • Lewis says:

      Your loss!! I guess you didn’t bother to vote in the last election either because of all the preceding blather, hype, and repetition that nearly drove an entire population into the ground.

  23. Amanda says:

    Loved it!!! It was so much better than I was hoping. I love USA shows like “Burn Notice” and “Covert Affairs” and “Graceland” is right up there with them for me. I of course was going to watch it also because I’m a huge fan of Aaron’s and this whole cast impressed me. I love them all and Johnny cracked me up so much. Really liked Charlie as well and Mike having to look into Briggs as that’s going to be hard. Also looking forward to seeing how they introduce Paige.

  24. Patrick Maloney says:

    Not as great as White Collar but still really good

  25. Aniko Tevvit says:

    Oh, look, they rewrote Wiseguy. Only with average writers & okay actors,I guess. Well, not really the actors’ faults. Saw the big plot twist so far ahead I hoped I was wrong. Wanna see something good? Go get Wiseguy on DVD. I’ll watch this a while, but it probably won’t have me in tears as that did at the end of the first arc. Sigh.

  26. Dory says:

    Forty year old female here. I really enjoyed it. Will watch when I can.

  27. Kristina says:

    My husband and I liked it a lot! We’ll definitely keep watching. Not surprised it was good, USA has been on a roll lately.

  28. Maggie says:

    As a broadway fan, I’m one of the few who actually knew who Aaron Tveit was before Les Miserables (or Gossip Girl) so I definitely tuned in. I’m cautiously optimistic and will give it a few episodes for sure, but it’s a bummer it’s at the same time as Rookie Blue, because that’s my go-to Thursday night show.

  29. Todd says:

    I thought it was just okay. It didn’t blow me away but it wasn’t terrible. If there’s nothing else on and I have the inclination, I may watch it again. But for me, it’s not appointment television.

  30. MaryAnn says:

    I saw the first episode early, on line. I was quite impressed and will definitely be watching. I normally don’t watch USA because it tends to be boring fluff since they stopped showing science fiction shows a number of years ago. The only other current USA show that I find watchable is “White Collar.” Almost all of USA’s upcoming pilots are science fiction, or otherwise dark. Does anyone know if they have recently changed their head of programming?

    • A says:

      Boring fluff? I guess you haven’t watch Psych, Suits, Covert Affairs or Burn Notice. Fantastic shows right there.

      • Alex says:

        I agree with MaryAnn that those shows are boring fluff. Well, not Burn Notice so much, but the other three sure are.

  31. Allison P says:

    I tuned into the pilot because I’m a fan of Aaron and, luckily, the premise presented for the plot looks good enough to keep me around for the season.

  32. Lucy says:

    I “Bah!”‘d the commercials for the last six months, then a couple of weeks ago realized that the main character was being played by Aaron Tveit, whom I absolutely LOVED in Les Mis, and suddenly found myself tuning in. I like it for the most part, except the hook at the end with him supposed to be investigating Briggs. Not interested in that manufactured drama. I might tune in for episodes that don’t feature that plot line too heavily.

  33. Missy Kelly says:

    not that great – so so – lacks the charm of most USA series

    • Mr.Wolf says:

      Agreed. To read some of the comments above I wonder if we watched the same thing. Premise is just meh to me and a lot seemed forced in the pilot. SOME of the actors were incredibly strong; I was mostly disappointed by the depth of Briggs character (Sunjata played it well but Briggs the character is kind of boring and theres a superimposed ambiguity/mystery to him). I think that was the opportunity to charm the audience that shows like Burn Notice, White Collar, Royal Pains etc. have excelled at. I guess we’re supposed uncover Briggs as Warren investigates, but there wasn’t enough intrigue to make me come back to find out. I’ll give them the second episode but if it doesn’t pick up I won’t be back after that. Donny getting shot in the first 5 minutes was great though; wish that tone had carried through the whole 40 minutes.

  34. Lorena says:

    Will You Pay a Return Visit?
    Hell yeah

  35. HBH says:

    With all the hype about the show, I had high expectations. Honestly, it was sort of a let down for me. I love Aaron Tveit and I’ll definitely keep watching because of him but hopefully the show gets a little better. I like white collar’s series premiere a lot better and i know this show is supposed to be a darker show and different from WC, but still. just my opinion

  36. Emily says:

    Obsessed already! Aaron Tveit is amazing!

  37. Alex says:

    This show is an absolute STINKER! Boring, poorly acted, badly written… major yuck.

  38. stacey says:

    This is no WC and Mike Warren is no Neal Caffrey (but then who is?). But I still found the premise interesting. I like the other guy Danier Sunjata a lot and Aaron Tveit fits his role perfectly. Liked the humor, the character introduction, and development. Looking forward to the next episode.

  39. Nadine says:

    I did pay a return visit, but after the second episode, I think I’m done with the show. It was pretty boring up till now and I don’t know if I should give it another few episodes or just write it off.

  40. Love this new show. I hope it lasts!

  41. Duchess and Marie says:

    It’s not terrible. Scottie is never going to get a fair shake on any USA show because “TIVA” zealots despised her on NCIS and they don’t want to see her successful anywhere. It’s a shame as she’s charming. Honest to goodness, it’s as though they think she’s real and a continued threat to Ziva and Tony… (I speculate not, the venom still spews on boards.) To me, the two leads look almost identical to the two leads on the show canceled last year, Common Law. It’s uncanny. It’s got a 50/50 shot. The fact that this network would mess with a proven winner like Burn Notice – a hit with one of the best ensembles of all time, fantastic writing, exciting plots is beyond me!! Plus, I hear that Psych could be in jeopardy when Jules leaves whcih makes zero sense to me as I think they could go on perfectly well without her. I like her, but there any number of ways they could effectively move forward… Henry and Lassie for one… but I digress.

  42. Cherl says:

    I really liked this show very much, (Graceland) It was not at all what I thought it was going to be, I was pleasently suprprised. I will keep watching it unless the foul language keeps. up (like in the 3rd episode) Please there are some words that just do not need to be said, and it can still be a very successful show. There is so much trash on TV today, not worth watching, please give us a break and please keep this show watchable.
    Also, sorry to see Burn Notice go…
    White Collar, NCIS winners…….
    Aaron Tviet (first time I have ever heard of him) but, such a cute…winner
    Thank you for bringing good programing……………….