This Sunday at 10/9c on NBC, a Crisis unfolds when a bus carrying the high school-aged children of Washington, D.C.’s elite — including the president’s own son — is hijacked, its A-list manifest whisked away to a remote location for an endgame unknown.
Among those on hand to deconstruct, possibly defuse and, yes, maybe even escalate the crisis are Gillian Anderson (Hannibal), playing Meg Fitch, a corporate titan whose daughter is among the abducted; Rachael Taylor (666 Park Avenue), as Meg’s estranged sister, FBI agent Susie Dunn; Dermot Mulroney (My Best Friend’s Wedding), playing an ex-CIA analyst who, as a field trip chaperone, gets pulled into the fray, and Lance Gross (House of Payne) as Marcus Finley, a Secret Service agent who’s having a helluva first day on the First Son’s detail.
Echoing the promos NBC has been running in recent weeks, Anderson says the thriller is “ultimately about the lengths that parents will go to, from the president down, to keep their loved ones safe.”
Anderson had just started her Season 1 arc as Dr. Du Maurier on NBC’s Hannibal when the pilot script for Crisis came across her desk. Upon rifling through the page-turner, she says her reaction was, “‘Man, I can’t not do this!’ So here I am.”
Her TV sis seconds that sentiment, saying, “This was the only pilot script where at the end of it I was like, ‘Oh!’ I mean, it really shocked me with a completely out-of-left field ending.” In whole, Taylor touts the drama as having a “real-time pressure cooker” kind of feeling, as “twists and turns that are so big” unfold. “Things can go a little crazy,” she teases.
As one of the adult chaperones drawn into the drama, Mulroney describes his Francis Gibson as “a seemingly mild-mannered father… a victim of the crime, right in the middle of what’s happening” as the high-profile teens are held prisoner inside a well-protected mansion, their captors using all manner of technology — including the government’s own — to enact their mission undeterred.
“Basically,” says Taylor, “all of our surveillance equipment and satellites are slowly but surely used against us,” in part because the kidnappers are compelling their hostages’ well-placed parents to act against, not with, the FBI, Secret Service et al.
Speaking of the Secret Service, Gross’ character spends much of the first episode playing Die Hard/John McClane, having eluded the initial ambush with one of the targeted (and, helpfully, more brilliant) students in tow. Feeling at blame for letting the First Son be grabbed, Finley is “trying to be the hero, trying to get these kids back,” his portrayer explains. “He’s like, ‘I’ve really got to fix this.'” (Taylor notes with a chuckle, “Poor Lance has to carry the brunt of the action-star stunts.”)
As the aforementioned twists unspool, new layers and relationships are surfaced. And heightened drama is drummed up as Dunne and her allies in law enforcement endeavor to keep the parents — including the fed’s own “master of the universe” sister — in line.
“This show is not just about this crisis situation; it’s about the families, and diving into each character’s world,” Gross raves. “You really care for these people and you want them to win, and as an actor that’s something we always look for.”