CBS' Stalker: Will You Follow It?

Stalker Series Premiere

I hope you weren’t planning on sleeping well tonight, TVLine readers. After watching Stalker, I don’t see how you can.

The CBS procedural drama, which debuted Wednesday at 10/9c, was as paranoia-inducing as its title would suggest — but will you pursue the series in the weeks to come?

The drama focuses on the LAPD’s Threat Assessment Unit, led by Lieutenant Beth Davis (Nikita‘s Maggie Q). The unit handles all stalking cases that make waves in the city, and in this debut hour alone, the team has got its hands full.

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Fortunately — or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it — the unit gets help from Detective Jack Larsen (Hostages‘ Dylan McDermott), a recent transfer from New York City’s homicide department. From the start, he and Beth are at odds, which could be chalked up to any number of reasons. His tactless remark about meeting Scarlett Johansson? His cocky attitude? Larsen attributes Beth’s “vibe” to the few seconds his gaze lingered on her chest, but even when he admits to staring, Beth is having none of his apologies. (This will be fun!)

Still, the tense dynamic doesn’t prevent the detectives from doing their jobs. In one corner, there’s a case centered around two young women whose attacker douses them with gasoline before attempting to light them up (and tragically succeeding, in one instance). In the other, there’s college student Eric Bates (Daren Kagasoff, The Secret Life of the American Teenager), whose creepy former roommate won’t leave him alone.

After a series of way, way disturbing revelations — two stalkers filming and caressing a young woman while she sleeps at night? Bye-bye, sweet dreams! — Beth, Larsen and their team do ultimately catch the predators. Well, two of them, anyway. Although Beth tries to intimidate Eric’s stalker with violence, it seems he isn’t scared off that easy, as evidenced by the field trip he takes to Beth’s house later that evening.

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But it’s not just because these detectives are good at their jobs that they’re able to solve the case so quickly. On the contrary, Beth and Larsen both have experience with stalking: Beth was a victim once upon a time, and it seems Larsen is a stalker himself. Throughout the hour, he stays in creepy-close proximity to his young son and the boy’s mother Amanda, who apparently relocated to Los Angeles after Larsen destroyed their family (likely by sleeping with his former boss’s wife. That’ll do it!). Even though Larsen insists he wants to change, Amanda still warns him to stay away from her and the boy — but based on the photos he’s secretly taken of both of them, Larsen doesn’t plan to heed her advice.

Throughout the series’ premiere hour, Maggie Q and McDermott have a particular chemistry in front of the camera, which lends itself well to the show’s fast pace. (Also: I can’t be the only one racing to download Michelle Branch’s episode-closing cover of “Creep,” right?) All of that said, though, Stalker‘s debut episode doesn’t offer its viewers any silver linings. In fact, it’s frightening in a way that many other procedurals aren’t. Taking into account the show’s right-before-bed time slot, Stalker‘s fear factor could ultimately be its downfall.

But what did you think? Are you hooked on Stalker, based on tonight’s premiere? Grade the episode via our poll below, then hit the comments to back up your choice!

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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117 Comments
  1. Tran says:

    I give Stalker a C but I’m really not in the mood to watch a scary suspenseful series like this anymore even though it may or may not be a carbon copy of Criminal Minds. Maggie Q is good after an amazing four year run on Nikita and Dylan McDermott looks OK but I don’t know if he’s going to bounce back after his not-so-amazing performance on Hostages last season.

  2. Rose says:

    I wasn’t impressed. I like both lead characters, but I really don’t want to watch it every week. I find the concept off-putting.

  3. JBC says:

    I liked the pilot. I will watch it again next week. Interesting characters.

  4. The cover of “Creep” is not Michelle Branch, it is by Daniela Andrade!

    • Fran says:

      Unless they changed something (haven’t watched the episode yet) it is Michelle Branch.

      • Sherri says:

        They need to change the female she’s the wrong part! She too hard no emotion towards the victims ! I feel like it’s just a acting job for the lead actress!! When she does her part it looks to staged ! This I felt when I went for help with reporting my stalker!

  5. Jessica says:

    Absolutely loved it. Happy to see Maggie back on my tv screen. I’ll definitely be watching every week, its really interesting.

    • Trista says:

      same here!

    • greysfan says:

      It is great to see Maggie back on the screen and i do love this side of her. I did like the pilot too but I can’t say the same for Dylan McDermott. This “testing phase” they do i hope they shaft him. I really don’t like his acting anymore and he brings an entire show down. I’d like to see him replaced by someone else. Looking forward to seeing where the show goes.

  6. ninalouise says:

    Iliked it, but im a sucker for anything Dylan’s in. Liked him since The Practice

  7. CK says:

    I liked the pilot. I thought Maggie was great, but they may have managed to turn me off of Dylan McDermott. I didn’t really like his “twist”. Does he really have to be stalking his wife and son? Sigh, groan. I can’t help but get the whole “He knows stalkers, because he is one” storyline vibe from that and I hated it when criminal minds tried that “her father was a serial killer, so she knows!!” mess with Rachel Nichols. Couldn’t Maggie Qs character having a stalker be enough of a twist? I’ll definitely stick around for a few more episodes to see where they take the characters.

    • MandaJ says:

      I think I feel a bit of a twist coming on here. I don’t think he was classically stalking his ex, I think he was just trying to get a glimpse of his son. As for Maggie’s character, I think she might be a bit of a “stalker” herself. She went to intimdate that young guy and then said something about “them” always believing her. Them being her bosses when anyone complains about her harassing. Perhaps she takes on these cases where there isn’t any evidence and eggs the offenders on to stalk her. At the end of the ep she pulled her drapes almost closed, when we had last seen her pulling them closed completely methodically. I think she left them open a bit on purpose to draw that kid in. And it was working.

      • John NYC says:

        The wall of trophy photos says “stalker” to me. And heading further that way after the confrontation.

      • Aline says:

        I thought the same thing about the curtains! Before, she was very thorough closing it and then she left a little bit open. It would totally makes sense if she turns the other person stalker her own stalker so she could get evidence against these people. Heck. That would be awesome!
        It would make sense if she was the real stalker. I get that the guy is, in fact, stalking his ex wife and son, but he has a goal: he misses them. I don’t think (at least doesn’t look like) it’s some sort of sick stalker. But him being the new one on the Unit AND the stalker himself would be only stupid. It has to be her. Some Dexter premise: A stalker of stalker of some sort.

  8. Jenna says:

    Loved Maggie Q, and McDermott was tolerable, but I won’t watch every week. I’m not usually squeamish (I enjoy Hannibal), but some of the scenes were just too much. May catch it once in a while, but I think I’ll stick with ChicagoPD on a regular basis.

    • Erin2 says:

      You like Hannibal but the scenes on Stalker were too much???? Nothing that happened in the pilot is anywhere near the gore and brutality of Hannibal!!!

      • flower_petals says:

        Right?! This statement makes no sense to me. Speaking of Hannibal, how much longer?

      • Jenna says:

        They’re competely different shows. It’s not about the ‘gore’; more about how the victimization is portrayed. This is just not a concept I care to watch every week for 20+ weeks a year. To each his own.

        • Erin2 says:

          You can try to justify your statement but your logic is faulty!

          • Fran says:

            Did you mean to come across as rude? Exactly why does someone have to justify their opinion? And who said anything about logic here? A persons feelings and thoughts aren’t always logical on the outside- in fact, a lot of the time they’re not. I’m willing to bet that everything you think and feel isn’t always steeped in logic. That’s normal, especially when it deals with fears or what bothers someone personally. It also actually makes sense if you stop and think about it. Stalker has more of a real world feel to it. Compare it to a show like Hannibal, which while gory and disturbing, isn’t something that most people can relate to on a personal level. Stalking, however, hits pretty close to home for a lot of people. You might feel the complete opposite but that doesn’t mean you’re right and they’re wrong.

          • jj says:

            why should anyone need to ‘justify’ their opinion of a tv show… your comment makes no sense

          • Lee says:

            Hoity toity, Fran. It’s so important to you that you write an essay about it? LOL!

          • Jenna says:

            Thank you, Fran and jj!

          • Fran says:

            Lee- yes, I don’t like when people don’t let others have an opinion or say its just not justified. So that is important to me. Nothing “hoity toity” about that. And my comment that took two minutes to write and even less than that to read is an essay? Scary.

  9. i voted c because it was just “ok” the maggie & dylan are good & the creep, chill factors are off the charts & a perfect partner to criminal minds but i have to see a couple more eps before i give it a final yay/nay

    • Cathy says:

      I agree that it’s the perfect nightcap to Criminal Minds. I loved it. I wasn’t impressed until about 1/2 way through and then it got better and better. Absolutely GREAT ending. Never guessed that he was a stalker himself. Good One!

  10. Nerdbot says:

    I watched the pilot expecting an extremely violent show as critics said, but it wasn’t that gruesome at all. I don’t get the bad reviews. It wasn’t a great hour of TV (I gave it a C), but it wasn’t awful either (as they said) and it certainly wasn’t as violent and misogynist as The Following (I compared them as they both are created by Kevin Williamson), so, I find a little weird that critics panned Stalker when one or two years ago they were fine with the extreme violence The Following showed in the pilot and has continued showing in the subsequent episodes.

    • John NYC says:

      Psychologically violent is what they were most likely alluding to: “scary” being a hallmark of Williamson alongside straight up gore.

      Of course burning a victim alive before the title screen has faded is sort of “violent”…

  11. TVPeong says:

    When I used to live alone I could never look out windows at night. Was too afraid I would see someone looking back at me. Now my paranoia is back. Will still continue to watch Stalker, though

  12. Lisa @catcharmer1 says:

    It was a smart move to put it after Criminal Minds. Both shows are kinda creepy in different ways. It could easily be considered a CM spin-off.

  13. James D says:

    I really enjoyed it more than i expected to. It has a very good cast behind it so that is what drew me to it, but i thought the writting was pretty tight and the pace was quicker then i thought it was going to be. I found it creepy but not especially scary or suspensful it was pretty clear half way through who it was. that mask however was super messed up it made me cringe a litttle. I will tune in next week.

    • JBC says:

      I honestly thought it was a lot less violent than Criminal Minds which kept me watching. I’ve had to stop watching CM as they are getting more gruesome.

  14. Cheyenne says:

    It was awful, but not screechingly awful. Not throw-something-at-the-screen awful. Just yawn-awful. One episode was enough.

  15. Personally, I like the fear factor, because it pairs well with Criminal Minds and makes a good companion for my dark crime Wednesdays. Overall, I liked the episode and want to see more. It was sufficiently creepy with real world possibilities of stalking. And even though the scene ended up being a bit uncomfortable to watch, I was glad that Beth’s dress was addressed, because it just didn’t feel realistic that a real police lieutenant would dress in such a low cut top while on the job.

  16. ChrisGa says:

    I thought it was pretty good. After just one episode, I liked Maggie Q better here than in the entire run of Nikita(of course, never got the appeal of that show outside of Melinda Clarke). As for Dylan McDermott, I always found him to be something of a cipher–a decent enough actor, definitely hot, but there’s a lack of screen presence or charisma or something(or at least he lacked something in the last few roles I saw him in, namely AHS and Hostages). Still, I enjoyed it well enough.

  17. Billy Ray says:

    Fear factor won’t be its downfall. that’s the least of their problems.

  18. Et al says:

    This is the first decent CBS procedural I’ve seen. I give it a B.

  19. From the parts that I have seen, I really enjoyed it. I am a sucker for anything Dylan McDermott and I love Maggie Q from Nikita.

  20. connerc says:

    I think having one of your Detectives be a bit of a stalker himself is an ill-conceived gimmick because it trivializes a serious issue. What is a bit of a stalker? It’s ok because that’s his son? Not a good message. As to the cases this week, I found the back-up story with the two college students more interesting as it was out of the ordinary. Then the writers ruined it with the ending. Nevertheless, I am curious where they are heading and may give it a few more weeks.

    • David says:

      It Is ok ’cause it’s his son, in fact taking pics of anyone in public, even following & observing, is legal. Totally ok for him to do it(unless restraining order), as she won’t let him see the son. Don’t know how it will work for the show though.

    • Erin2 says:

      People love to act like there aren’t cops out there who do stuff like this!

    • MCO says:

      It’s legally ok and that’s why stalker’s case are so hard, as it was shown on the show.
      It isn’t ok because it’s son, I don’t think the show is going there, quite the contrary. It’s another example of how stalking can be a slippery slope that even the stalker (in milder cases) isn’t aware he is stalking or she is doing something wrong.
      Ever spent an hour or so checking your ex facebook ? Looking for info online for someone your interested in ? Nothing legally wrong. But it can start there.

  21. John NYC says:

    Excessive creep factor. Just not to my liking.

    Deleted the season pass.

  22. Trista says:

    Loved it!

  23. Elise says:

    I don’t see how anyone could rate this show anything other than an A or at the very least a B, but an F. . .no way, jose!! It kept me in suspense from start to finish with so many intricate plot twists. This one’s a keeper!!

  24. Not bad, gonna wait and see how episode 2 is. I know they dialed up the pilot to make sure it sold (pretty sure TV Line mentioned that?) so we’ll see how it fleshes out.

  25. Sheri M. says:

    I really enjoyed it. Love Dylan McDermott! There were times where I screamed out loud. Also covered my eyes throughout the hour. But definitely looking forward to next week’s episode!

  26. MCO says:

    I don’t understand other critics.
    I agree the show is blend, and bring nothing new on television. I liked the characters, and liked being freak out.
    But where is the extreme violence ? Why they say it’s the worst show ? Why such a grip against it ?
    Sure, it’s just another CBS procedural, and I am not sure I will follow closely (I’ll more likely catch it when I have nothing better to do or watch), but I don’t see it as such a bad show that he deserve that much criticism.

  27. Sheila says:

    I actually fell asleep while watching it

  28. Nonnie says:

    Got to love new series season! I’ve seen the majority of the new shows and I wasn’t about to let this one slip through my fingers. But ohhh Stalker. You gave me all sorts of feelings. I gave it a B. I thought this first episode was decent compared to the other series premieres so far this season. While I liked the show I’m not sure if I’ll be watching every week. This gets into personal grounds. I have been in similar situations of these victims. Being followed home, seeing them out of the corner of my eye, catching them outside my window, they find all your social media and doing “harmless” pranks when I am home alone. Thankfully I think it is all over. But Stalker did a great job reminding me of all this. While I hope this show opens discussion I just don’t think I could watch this series week after week.

  29. DavidSask says:

    Super violent and they had to make Dylan creepy so its a fail for me!!!

  30. E says:

    Didn’t think it was scary at all. Will definitely be watching again.

  31. RJ says:

    I kinda liked it. It’s not that creepy, thought it would be scarier.
    I didn’t really like Dylan McDermott, but enjoyed seeing Maggie Q in my TV again.
    Will tune in next week.

  32. Fido says:

    Wanted to love it cos Maggie Q is in it :) but methinks it will remain on my undecided list for a few more eps until I work out what the show is going to be.

  33. Sandrine says:

    Rebecca and some of the comments here made the show sound so scary and creepy but I don’t get it. It didn’t disturb me or creep me out in any way. There was minimal violence also. I can think of a number of other shows that are scarier and more disturbing than this one: Hannibal, The Following, True Detective. Maybe it’s the subject of stalking that turns people off from this show.

    • Fran says:

      Yes, stalking is pretty disturbing to a lot of people. Amd of course different people find different things creepy or scary. I personally wasn’t creeped out by it, but I can certainly understand why others would feel differently.

  34. Maritza Miranda says:

    Stalker great show. I am a fan already. Dylan a great actor and he looks better than ever :) :)

  35. Lee says:

    I watched Stalker, and I slept fine. I’ve seen worse! Thought the show was decent for what it is, though it’s not my type of thing. At least the main characters have some depth to them.

  36. Bea says:

    Loved the show and had no trouble sleeping. I didn’t find it any creepier than Criminal Minds or CSI. The introduction of characters was enticing. I’m wondering what Beth’s relationship is with Eric …. it seemed to be more than professional to me.

  37. tahina45 says:

    Can’t say I hated it nor that I loved it, it’s hard to make a sound judgement based on one episode, will wait a couple of more to make up my mind..so far, liked the premise and the pairing of two actors that I like.

  38. GiZi says:

    That show/episode was okay. However, I gave up watching Law & Order: SVU and Criminal Minds because of dark subject matter like this.

  39. flyersfan says:

    I agree Stalker is not the kind of show you want to watch before you go to bed, especially with the first episode being right out of one of the Scream movies, I thought the days of checking behind my shower curtain before I went to bed were over – but that is what I liked about it, it kept me on the edge of my seat, whereas most cop show put me to sleep with their predictability – the setup was good, the guy investigating stalkings being a stalker was a nice Dexteresque twist and the two main characters had nice oil and water chemistry – how long until they sleep together – I thought it was an interesting show which I will watching again, assuming it doesn’t get cancelled, as most new shows that I like do.

  40. Ugh says:

    The writing is horrible. Did he really say to Maggie Q that since she dressed a certain way he thought he wanted her to gawk at her?? Yeah, I’m out. But thanks anyway.

  41. kitty says:

    I totally loved it!! (Screamed when I saw the stalker emerge from underneath the carpet)
    I will definitely watch next week. Gave the pilot and A!

  42. Jeannie Hopper says:

    Absolutely loved the show. Beth and Jack have a chemistry together. Jack is “hot.” This show also gave information on what to do if you are having a stalker problem. Loved the ending of the insinuation of a stalker problem with Eric and Beth. Also there is Jack and his stalking of his ex wife Amanda. Can’t wait until next Wednesday. Also I liked the show Hostages. Need to find the last show, missed it.

  43. Tim says:

    Wow. I can’t believe so many gave Stalker an A rating. I’ve never given a F before now, but I thought Stalker was just dreadful – and wrong on so many levels.

  44. Jax&Juice's Girl says:

    I saw this last night and gave it try, I thought it was good there where some parts that gave me a scare. As for Maggie Q and Dylan I think there characters fit well together.

  45. JC says:

    The over hype for this show was major. It wasn’t scary at all and came nowhere close to being as dark and gruesome as Criminal Minds.

  46. Jeremy says:

    Not good. Give it a D. Maggie deserves so much better. One is enuff for me.

  47. Michele Norberto says:

    “Being a victim is a sign of weakness.” How dare they say that…….This show must come off……They have no idea what they are talking about, Im still in schlock that that was said…..

  48. A3rynSun76 says:

    I really did like it. I was on the fence, but for me the pilot wasn’t as scary as the trailer. That being said, there is no way I could ever watch this show live. They really need to put this show in an earlier timeslot or move it to fridays. As far as the two leads go, they had really great chemistry for a pilot and I can’t wait to see where they go from here.

  49. verisa says:

    Maggie Q is a great choice for her role, loved the story line as it played out with the crawl space above the bed @ one house, & the then guy coming up out of the floor at the other. The best part was the end scene. Holy cow!

  50. LemonLime says:

    So no one thought it was weird that it was the Stalker nanny, Nanny Carrie from One Tree Hill that was the first stalker victim? Not so much weird, really, as just oddly coincidental?

    Anyone?