David Schwimmer is bringing a heavy dose of American arrogance across the pond in Peacock’s new UK import Intelligence — but did this goofy workplace comedy earn a full-time gig on your watchlist?
Schwimmer stars as brash NSA agent Jerry Bernstein, who arrives in the UK to serve as a liaison with the British cyber crime division — a collection of geeky misfits including the eager-to-please Joseph (played by writer/creator Nick Mohammed), former hacker Tuva (Peaky Blinders‘ Gana Bayarsaikhan) and bedraggled cat lady Mary (Sally4Ever‘s Jane Stanness). Joseph spends his days snooping into Matthew McConaughey’s browsing history (“it’s lawn mowers, mainly”), so he’s excited to meet Jerry… but the new arrival is the very portrait of the ugly American, throwing his weight around and insulting everyone from the start. (“Do you have dwarfism in your family?” he asks the diminutive Joseph. “Well, you should check.”)
Jerry immediately barges in and tries to assert control of the whole team, much to the chagrin of by-the-book director Christine (The Crown‘s Sylvestra Le Touzel). When she bristles at his power play, he reassures her that “I think we can learn a lot from each other. Especially me.” Meanwhile, he adopts Joseph as his assistant/mascot, ordering him to investigate a mysterious stain in his new office and informing him that he “basically knows everything” and even “predicted 9/11” (!). “I want to raise morale so high, people can barely move,” he tells Joseph — which sounds kinda painful, but OK.
Christine attempts to put Jerry in his place, calling him a “privileged fool” and reminding him she’s in charge here. But he ignores her, leading the group in a series of bizarre team-building exercises while Christine is away. (One of them involves the employees groping each other with blindfolds on and talking about when they last had sex. Does the British government not have an HR department?) When Christine arrives, she orders everyone back to work, but Jerry insists they’re just having fun, prodding Christine to try a jelly bean from the enormous plastic jug he brought to work. She slaps away the one he tries to put in her mouth, but does try one, to her employees’ relief and applause. Maybe this can work after all? Yeah, probably not.
It’s time for your employee evaluation: Give the Intelligence premiere a grade in our poll, and hit the comments and tell us if you’ll stick around for the rest of Season 1.