THE SHOW “Blindspot”
WHEN | WHERE Season premiere Wednesday at 10 p.m. on NBC/4
WHAT IT’S ABOUT At the start of the first season, a young woman — naked, completely covered in tattoos — was found unconscious in Times Square, which got the attention of FBI Critical Incident Response Group agent Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton). Jane Doe’s (Jaimie Alexander) tattoos were essentially a “treasure map,” perhaps revealing clues to a vast terrorist plot. Over the first season, in a series of flashbacks and reveals, her true identity started to emerge. Or (umm) did it? Archie Panjabi (“The Good Wife”) joins in the second season as head of some top-secret NSA department, and she wants to know who Jane is, too. But first Weller et al have to find her.
Poor Jane. Here we go again.
MY SAY Like many prime-time anti-procedurals, “Blindspot” started off simple and ended up inscrutable. Who’s Oscar? Why is Mayfair dead? There are coherent answers to these critical questions. It’s just that you need an advanced degree in Blindspotology to adequately answer them. In this age of peak TV, when dozens of other shows also demand fervent, obsessive attention, who has time for that?
But there is one question that placed experts and neophytes on equal footing: Who is Jane Doe? Over those 23 episodes, there were plenty of red herrings, head-fakes, flashbacks and one Taylor Shaw — possibly her real name and identity, but officially disavowed by the finale. Taylor was perhaps Kurt’s childhood friend and neighbor, until he learned otherwise, setting the final scene and final emphatic demand: Who are you?
Alexander’s Doe actually became a 2015-16 prime-time standout, as both a mystery and kick-ass action hero who presided over the best-kept secret of the season: her real name. You will learn that in the season opener.
Doe, in fact, is the show’s single greatest asset, and antidote to the information overload of the first season. If we don’t know who she is, then she could be anyone or anything, which also makes her the perfect reset button. If “Blindspot” was TMI the first season, then it’s back to the starting line Wednesday night. This season opener is in fact a true data dump: Everything along with that name is unloaded. “Blindspot” instantly becomes a new show, which — considering how the old one ended last May — is a good thing. Along with some new characters, including Panjabi’s and another played by stage and TV veteran Michelle Hurd, “Blindspot” suddenly feels fresher, or at least intelligible.
BOTTOM LINE Good second season start.