Peacock Preview: INTELLIGENCE

Jul 12, 2020 Posted by in Features, Preview | Comments

On Wednesday July 15, NBC Universal will launch the new streaming service Peacock. In addition to offering lots of fan-favorite NBC Universal programs from the past, the service will also be the home to several brand new scripted original programs, some of which have aired in other countries, but making their U.S. debut. In the days leading up to the launch, we’ll be taking a look at some of these new scripted comedies and dramas.

The British half-hour workplace comedy Intelligence first premiered earlier this year on Sky One in the UK, but will make its U.S. debut on Peacock. The series comes from creator/writer/star Nick Mohammed (The Martian, Christopher Robin), and stars Friends funnyman David Schwimmer.

The Cyber Crime unit of the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is responsible for detecting and preventing international and domestic intelligence and security threats, all from behind the safety of a keyboard. However, if you saw the oddball group of people who work there, you might question just how secure the nation actually is. American NSA agent Jerry Bernstein (David Schwimmer) has just been assigned as the new liaison to the GCHQ Cyber Crimes unit, and he hardly makes a good first impression. Immediately upon his arrival, Jerry takes over the office, telling people what they are doing wrong, and how things should be run…his way. Jerry is pompous, misogynistic and brash, unwilling to listen to others’ ideas, and this doesn’t sit well with GCHQ Director Christine (Sylvestra Le Touzel, The Crown), who struggles to regain control of her office.

As Jerry meets his team, he immediately starts treating them like his direct reports, and in the case of technician Joseph (Nick Mohammed), like his personal assistant. Joseph doesn’t correct Jerry, and just runs with it, happily doing whatever menial task Jerry asks of him. Joseph is a bit of a pushover, and lets his awe and fanboying of Jerry take over—all he yearns for is Jerry’s validation and approval. However, the rest of the team aren’t as drawn in by Jerry’s charm. The rest of the staff includes former hacker Tuva (Gana Bayarsaikhan, Ex Machina), whom Jerry wastes no time inappropriately hitting on, homely analyst Mary (Jane Stanness, Sally4Ever), who still lives with her mother, and Christine’s dim personal assistant Evelyn (Eliot Salt, Normal People).

The series is a fun workplace comedy that follows this team of misfits as they deal with major security threats, smaller domestic mishaps, and lots of office politics. There are definitely some similarities that can be drawn to The Office. Jerry is like “Michael”, putting on all this bravado and trying to prove himself to the staff, while underneath he’s hiding some insecurities and things about his past. Christine is eager to find out what Jerry is hiding and use that information to get this thorn in her side out of the GCHQ. Meanwhile, Joseph is like “Dwight”, who often comes off looking stupid as he tries to get the approval of boss, even if Jerry isn’t actually his boss. And Mary is like an amalgam of the hopelessness and loneliness of “Angela”, “Phyllis” and “Meredith”.

This series is a lot of fun, and the fourth episode in particular had me laughing out loud. At launch, all 6 half-hour episodes of the first season will be available to watch for Peacock Premium subscribers, while those with the basic free tier should be able to at least check out the first episode. This series makes a really great quick binge, and I hope we see additional seasons on Peacock (a second season has already been confirmed by Sky in the UK).