Did CBS' Hostages Hold Your Attention Captive?

Hostages Premiere SpoilersCBS’ Hostages made its debut Monday (10/9c) — did the thriller forcibly capture your interest? Or did you escape sans Stockholm syndrome?

From big-screen helmer Jerry Bruckheimer, Hostages opens on a harrowing scene: Masked intruders are holding an average-looking family at gunpoint. As it turns out, the family is presently the subject of national headlines, with its super-surgeon matriarch Dr. Ellen Sanders (Toni Collette) scheduled to operate on the President of the United States.

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Elsewhere, Dylan McDermott’s FBI special agent Duncan Carlisle — whose wife, we learn, is comatose in the hospital — proves he’s handy in hostage situations when he foils a tense bank robbery. While it seems as though the latter’s job description will work in the soon-to-be-captive doc’s favor, it’s actually quite the opposite: Duncan and his crafty cohorts are quickly revealed to be the aforementioned folks behind the masks. (Another conspirator, meanwhile, appears to be POTUS’ own Chief of Staff.)

Noting that, “Sometimes you have to do a bad thing for a good reason,” Duncan gives Ellen an ultimatum: Kill the president during his operation, or her family dies. After much consideration — and prodding by her philandering hubby (Tate Donovan) — she takes matters into her own hands and gives the leader of the free world a pre-op blood thinner, thus postponing his surgery for two whole weeks.

At a press conference following the incident, a resolute Ellen looks straight into the camera and directs the pilot’s concluding line directly at Duncan: “I don’t give up that easily.”

Time to speak up, TVLiners: Will you return next week for more Hostages? Grade the ep below, then hit the comments!

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64 Comments
  1. Evan says:

    I really liked it, although basically, if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen the first episode. Some interesting dynamics here, but some that have potential to be total snoozers (the kids in particular). Definitely returning, though.

  2. Patti says:

    It would be great as a movie or a miniseries but this is going to drag for 14 more episodes. That said episode one kept my attention.

    • lisa says:

      Agreed. I’d probably watch it as a miniseries, but seriously – how are they going to keep this up for 13, let alone 22 episodes? All of the characters except for Duncan and Ellen were soo predictable and cookie cutter, and I can’t see myself investing in them for much longer…

  3. Ben Canady says:

    I really enjoyed this show. Hope it does well in ratings!!!

    • Leo says:

      The idea is fresh. It’s like watching “The Following” where you have to turn off your brain like the part why no Secret Service agents are watching the Doctor. I never see any of the promos so I didn’t get spoiled. Toni and Dylan both can carry the show nicely though. The other need to up their game quickly. The villains are kinda lame. The family’s plot are boring (teen pregnancy, drug dealer and cheating husband). But I’ll be checking this next week. I hope the writers have some creative ideas for the family’s plot, if not I can’t say I’ll be attached to this show.

  4. Kate says:

    Interesting idea, but the execution wasn’t great. Wasn’t on the edge of my seat at all.

    • Polly says:

      agree. also i didn’t feel any real connection to the family so that i had to fear for their lives. as said by someone above. would’ve been great as a movie or a limited run miniseries, but i think it’s gonna grow old real fast as a long run show.

  5. I give Hostages a grade of D. Dylan McDermott’s character Duncan Carlisle is the real reason people love to hate maybe he’s two-dimensional or if he’s considered to be the anti-villain of the series. All for all, I really don’t know how the next 14 episodes will go from here but either way I recommend Hostages as a DVR it.

  6. Ron says:

    I’ll be returning next week. Really liked some of it, and some of it I didn’t like so much. But all in all, captivating enough to get me to come back. I’ll be interested to see how this storyline could possibly be stretched out for more than one season if it gets renewed. I’m getting the impression that the president either directly or indirectly had something to do with Duncan’s wife’s comatose state.

  7. jasmine says:

    I liked it and I agree, if you’ve seen the trailers you’ve pretty much seen the first episode. And maybe I’m being biased because I love Toni Collette so much but I do think this show has some potential. I wasn’t really on the edge of my seat because I saw everything in the trailer already but I hope they have some interesting things planned because this president storyline alone can only go on for so long and I really want to like this show.

  8. Nunaya_Bidness says:

    After seeing the trailer, I was torn but ultimately decided not to watch because it seemed more of something that should be a 2 hour movie and not a season worthy show. For those who watched, did it stay that way or (so far) is it worth tuning in for a whole season?

    • dan says:

      I thought it was great! Better than I expected. I thought after seeing all the previews and trailers that I’d be bored, but it held my interest. I’m looking forward to this limited series event and I hope it holds up better than “Under the Dome” which started to crumble a few weeks into its run.

  9. The time went to fast, yes, I saw some in the trailers but tried not to pay attention. Loved the premise of the show and some surprise characters. And thank you for keeping the dog alive!!

  10. Leah says:

    I don’t think I can give a fair judgement since the promo gave away absolutely everything that would happen in the episode. I’ll give it a couple more chances to excite me. It has Toni Collette, after all! Really curious about how they’ll stretch this into a series.

  11. Drew says:

    I thought it was pretty bad. I was actually saying cheesy cliche dialogue to make fun of one of the characters… and he said the same thing a minute later! The plot makes no sense (why go to the head surgeon when a nurse or an anesthesiologist would be a much better choice?)

    The kids’ plotlines are silly, typical “teenager” plotlines. The husband is pretty cookie cutter as well. I really didn’t see anything about this show that was original. Or suspenseful. Or well written.

    • jax says:

      Exactly! And if they “know all their secrets” wouldn’t they already know that the boy was dealing drugs and the girl had a boyfriend on the down low?

      • Drew says:

        Right? And when that one woman referred to the boyfriend only by the car he drove, it was pretty much telling the girl that her captors were pretending to know a lot more than they really did.

        The whole thing was really poorly executed.

  12. Elaine says:

    In spite of the rather ridiculous idea of showing pretty much everything that happens in the first episode in the trailer, I’ll be giving this a watch again because (1) Toni C is an outstanding actress (2) Bruckheimer has done some great and not so great work (3) Curious to see how this will play out in the future.; It’ll have to work to keep my attention though, unlike The Black List which was bloody fantastic.

  13. DavidSask says:

    It all felt like something we have seen before, and all I can think is if this is a hit is how they going to ruin a so called limited series with second season?! Hello Under the Dome!!

    • johnhelvete says:

      Jerry Bruckheimer back in July at the TCAs made is clear that the show is not a mini series, “We’re doing 15 [episodes] and hope to get not only two seasons but a lot more. This is not a miniseries,”

  14. cj says:

    I though it was slow and very been there done that. I’m hoping now that the setup is over it kicks it up a notch with better writing and directing… Otherwise im out. Especially if blacklist is any good… I’ll be watching it on demand later this week..

  15. James D says:

    this one has a lot of potential. Really liked the characters and episode in general. i’m not convinced yet that they can keep it up for a whole season let alone multiple ones, we’ll see but im definitly intrigued.

    • I agree, but the slot they’re in is HORRIBLE-Monday night late its really hard to find people not hungover from the weekend or beat after a Monday at work.Too bad-I think the potential is definitely there.

  16. Janet says:

    It’s so nice to see CBS do a real, serialized, show again. I believe this is the first in-season attempt since Jericho. I think the average CBS audience will be confused by the lack of cutesy dialogue wrapping the storyline up in a trite, tidy, bow, after 42 minutes. However, I’d be happy to be proven wrong and see this show succeed.

  17. David says:

    There were too many flaws in the area of realism. So, the Secret Service doesn’t search the doctor as she enters the hospital? On tip of that, the Secret Service would be monitoring the family night and day just prior to the surgery. I could go on and on…

    • Eli says:

      That last thing you mention is the only real flaw and since I knew about it before even watching the show I decided to suspend my disbelief there. Yes in reality the Secret Service would be all over her like flies on honey, but would be impossible to do the show at all in that case ;)
      As for searching her as she enters, that’s why it’s disguised as lipstick isn’t it?

    • Alex says:

      The people taking them hostage are federal agents, working for the President’s chief of staff – it doesn’t surprise me that they could work around the Secret Service.

  18. Regina says:

    No surprises in tonight’s episode. I’m not sure how they will be able to keep this story going and keep it interesting for 14 episodes. I will definitely give it a chance, but if I get too bored, I’ll wait for Netflix.

  19. johnhelvete says:

    Tagline for the show….The dog lives!

  20. Lee Lawrence says:

    I thought “Hostages” was rather intense. And I get bored easily. These shows are not about character development, they are about plot and moving the story.

  21. Sokratis says:

    Fast paced, and good acting. This is definitely the highlight so far of the new season. I don’t see the show going beyond a season or two, but for the time being, cannot wait for the next episode A+

  22. Eli says:

    Gave it a B. I really liked it and would’ve normally given an A, but the teenage girl pregnancy is such a trite and overdone storyline, literally the moment we see her crying in her bed I knew she was pregnant, that’s how predictable hollywood is getting with these storylines. (this is incidentally also why I love Alexis from Castle so much, yes she’s an almost unrealistically good kid, but at least she’s something different from the usual predictable teenage characters.
    Besides that one detraction, I thought it was a really solid well-paced show and really looking forward to next week. I liked it better than Blacklist personally.

    • Ann says:

      It amazes me that blacklist got better ratings.. Hostages was a little slow for the pilot but blacklist was a bad, boring, ripoff of silence of the lambs. I’m sure if hostages was on after the voice it would have got the same ratings a blacklist

  23. neha says:

    Honestly, the trailer was much better than the actual episode itself. The concept is great, but it wasn’t executed well. The characters are very cookie cutter (teenage girl dating guy parents don’t approve of and gets pregnant, teenage boy dealing weed, non-breadwinning husband has an affair), and the dialogue was so predictable and cringe-worthy sometimes. The acting is very mediocre at best (the kids are particularly bad). I’m disappointed, since this was the new show I was most excited about, but it just didn’t really wow me.

  24. neha says:

    I’m sure people get annoyed that Breaking Bad is the golden standard these days, but while I was watching the show, I kept thinking about that moment in BB’s episode where Todd and the other men are standing in Holly’s room, similarly, dressed in black and carrying guns. Everything from the direction to Anna Gunn’s acting just gave me the chills. I truly felt afraid for her, but in this episode, I never felt like there was any real danger. Just knowing that Duncan is a father himself, you know that he’ll probably never hurt the children.

  25. Patrick Maloney says:

    The acting was phenomenal, I thought the plotting was a little thin but it sold me enough to give it another shot

  26. saeh says:

    I’m not sure about this show, I wasn’t impressed with the pilot, mainly because the children for some reason were getting on my nerves, the girl especially needs more acting classes. I’m a huge fan of Dylan & Toni so hopefully the show will get stronger. Another problem is Toni’s face, it’s too thin and with her expressive facial features, she looks a little scary.

    • Saabgirlatx says:

      Have to agree-she looks very gaunt in the face. I hate focusing on people’s looks because shes a wonderful actress but I found it distracting. Maybe it was the bangs.

  27. EMO says:

    I watched this show right after the premiere of Mom, and while I like the cast of both shows, I don’t think I’ll stay with them because their writing was flawed. I do love Toni and Dylan, but the ending didn’t seem to make sense and I didn’t understand why she cut herself in the bathroom? And the plotlines around the kids and the dad were trite I thought. And especially after watching Mom, I thought so CBS is going to be the network with teenage moms…

  28. NCSouthernBelle says:

    I really enjoyed this show. They did give away most of the pilot in the trailers but I don’t mind that because now we really don’t know what’s going to happen next. And side note, Dylan McDermott and his cohorts might be the most likable kidnappers ever. Looking forward to next week!

  29. Pat says:

    They made such a big deal of her cutting her finger in the bathroom-but then nothing happened with it! Does anyone know why she would have done that? I thought maybe she couldn’t operate with a cut-but they wear gloves. The show was okay. I’ll be interested to see where it goes from here as it doesn’t seem that they can do 15 episodes about this.

    • Saabgirlatx says:

      My guess is that she was going to cut it off or cut the muscle then chickened out. She couldn’t operate with such a bad injury.

  30. Celeste says:

    Sorry, to all of you who liked this Show…But, to me it was a bit boring and didn’t “hook me” at all. My Monday TV Fare is going to be to watch Castle and DVR The Blacklist. The Blacklist “hooked me” and it was fun to see James Spader having way too much fun as Raymond “Red” Reddington.

  31. I liked it enough to tune in next week. When she cut herself in the bathroom she was thinking about cutting her finger off. No finger no operating. She just couldn’t make herself do it. I really don’t see how this is viable as more than one season. I thought maybe they were going to do it by hour kind of like 24, so I will be interested to see how they keep this going.

  32. John Moshier says:

    show was not beleavble you think if shes going to operate on the president she would have secret service people watching her house possibly keeping her in a safe house to make sure nothing could happen to her

  33. Debbie Allen says:

    loved the show watched it twice.

  34. Jill says:

    I love the idea of a maxi series – I think there should be more, instead of shows with great first seasons that drag on afterward. Love Toni Collette, but overall the show was blah.

  35. Yez Iam says:

    Love Toni Collette so I’ll give it a chance…however, I am skeptical it can go 15 weeks and keep the premise intact, so one has to wonder where they’ll take it after the second episode…they all live together in that house for four months, no one going to school, work, whatever.

  36. JJ says:

    Hard to invest much interest in the family. Maybe they will develop the characters more, so far the episodes are more about the schemes than the people. I’m not sure I’ll keep watching, the only real suspense is why it is being done. But, to watch it for 13 more weeks to find that out? And, I just keep thinking they’ll leave this hanging just like they did with Under the Dome, but I can’t imagine a season two of this.

  37. Seattle islander says:

    Love have loved Toni Colette, but she’s so thin and her face looks so stretched flat I don’t think I can watch this. too distracting and the plot has holes bug enough to drive through, many of them mentioned here. It’s no go..

  38. Sharyn says:

    Not too sure about this, agree with all the negatives and Collette’s face to me is actually distractingly scary.

    I think she took aspirin and cut her finger and used her blood to fake a test or something?

  39. Jonan shelton says:

    Don’t know if it is in my tv or what! The background music was overpowering the dialogue! Help!

  40. Cindy says:

    Love this show. I record Blacklist but watch Hostages live

  41. d says:

    I can’t understand the love for “Toni Collette, I think if they had cast someone else in the role it would be more captivating. She is just a terrible actress, her concern for her children is unbelievable as her ability to be this outstanding surgeon. Heck if someone had told me to kill the surgeon or my children would be dead, I do it in heartbeat to save my family, not pull some kind of crap that she did to put them at risk. I work with surgeons and never have a seen a “valley” girl like friendship between a nurse and doctor…ridiculous. I would have said she is a product of the writing, but she cant even cry believable…soooooo annoying. Get rid of her and the show might be more believable.

    I usually love Jerry Bruckheimer produced shows, but the whole storyline is unbelievable, How come nobody was guarding the surgeon who is suppose to be doing surgery on the president? Since when do they release the name of the surgeon who has a the leader of the free world in their hands?

    I find myself more and more frustrated with the show and I fairly certain I’m done with it.

  42. MJ says:

    This has become tiresome after several episodes. Implausible plot turns serving only to delay advancing the ultimate story-line. An increasing lack drama/tension as the season wears on. After each recent episode, I ask what just happened in that 43 minutes? Only to realize little, very little. Should’ve been a 2, 3, 4 part miniseries. Oh well, I tried. For awhile…

  43. Eric says:

    I like the show. Its done just enough to hold my interest. I cant help but think of how much better it would be if Dr Sanders was played by an actress that was easier to look at.

    • MJ says:

      Compelling premise for a show. In this case, a 2-3 part mini-series. By stretching it to a whole season it languished, punctuated by improbable plot turns. Preposterous plot turns. Then, as I anticipated, the last couple issues featured creative, entertaining turns of events. Sadly though, in effort to culminate the rush job before cancellation. Wish it been shorter or, more creative for the long haul. Oh, and I concur that the main female lead Tony was painful, cringe-worthy to watch portray a surgeon/mom in this context. “D” s spot on as outlined above….

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