11 April 2006 | vchimpanzee
Graphic, sometimes interesting, second half better
In part one of this CBS miniseries, three people become violently ill in different locations--one is a family man (and, we learn later, a marine) outside Camp Pendleton in southern California, one is a waitress in a Seattle diner, and a prisoner held at Guantanamo in Cuba.
Col. Jonathan Smith, formerly of Covert One, and his beautiful fiancée Dr. Sophie Amsden are called into action. It seems these people have a terrible disease which can be spread from person to person, and thousands could die if a cure cannot be found. The United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) must find answers. At one point, we learn that 90 percent of those who get the virus die. And a lot of people are getting the virus.
Meanwhile, in Berlin, Rachel, a member of the Covert One team, is dealing with Chechens who have the deadly virus in tiny containers. Money changes hands in the basement of a dance club, in an office from which dancers can be seen through a glass ceiling. Rachel changes her appearance several times as she runs from those who might be out to get her, while at the same time searching for others who can help. In Paris, she finds a scientist who is familiar with the Afghanistan situation--that is where several marines who got sick were serving.
The second half focuses more on the search for information, and for a cure for the virus. No one sick is shown except for those who make direct contact with terrorists or government investigators. Though we hear the death toll rises from less than 1000, as the second installment begins, to 3000, with panic taking place at overburdened hospitals (we never see this either). And terrorists have the virus, and big plans to disperse it. Some people are trusted who shouldn't be (and vice versa), and unexpected plot twists keep showing up.
I had trouble following what was going on, but brief black-and-white flashbacks were shown in many cases to remind us who certain people were or why something was important. And seeing the people who were sick was really hard to watch. One particularly effective scene showed one marine being asked questions in the hospital. He came through admirably in spite of his obvious suffering.
As a spy thriller this does eventually succeed. There are lots of good acting performances, and I especially should single out Anjelica Huston as a U.S. President obviously not elected for her looks, and Colm Meaney as Peter, who plays a major role in the Afghanistan investigation. The tension level stays high, with lots of action toward the end.