Class of ’09
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Unfolding across the three timelines, Class of ’09 follows of team of FBI recruits from their early years training at Quantico to their present day roles to their future lives a decade from now — where artificial intelligence is used to determine “intentions,” and their jobs require them to preempt crimes and disasters.
Kate Mara (A Teacher, House of Cards) stars a Ashley Poet, known as Poet, a former psychiatric nurse at a prison hospital who receives an unexpected invitation to join the FBI.
Bryan Tyree Henry (Oscar winner for Causeway) plays Tayo, a former insurance executive who leaves a lucrative job behind to join the FBI in the hopes of radically changing the agency. An experience with racial injustice when he was a kid altered his views and drives his sense of purpose, but nothing prepares him for what’s ahead.
Sepideh Moafi plays Hour Nazari, a razor sharp FBI trainee and the daughter of Iranian exiles who specializes in data — but sees the unfairness in relying on it to solve crimes.
Created by British writer Tom Rob Smith, who won an Emmy for American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace.
It tackles two of the most timely and alarming issues in the news — the role of artificial intelligence and surveillance tech — and takes it a step further into the not-so-distant future, the one we are all worried about. While it’s not the first story to tackle the role of artificial intelligence in our criminal justice system, Class of ’09 is the latest, and show creator Smith did his research, spending time with several agents and the FBI’s deputy director, who let him review elaborate, in-depth cases.
The intertwining of eras and characters, plots and relationships requires that you pay attention, but this is an action thriller, the writing is sharp, and actors rise to the occasion.
What ultimately distinguishes the show are the questions that arise from the rapid advances we are all bracing for. In the imagined future, the FBI has a “golem” that can detect someone’s intentions, leading to “preemptive arrests.” Yes, this is a modern day version of George Orwell’s 1984, where the Thought Police could apprehend anyone who is a threat to Big Brother.
For this alone, the FX show will draw you in and keep you riveted.
Critic’s Take: From Nick Schager at the Daily Beast: “Inventively conceived and deftly executed, it’s a crime saga that comes across as a modernized, multi-layered spin on Philip K. Dick’s (and Steven Spielberg’s) Minority Report. (the full review)
An ambitious, smart and timely series that takes us into the past and future of the FBI, laying out provocative questions that are sure to drive much needed conversation.
With its A.I. hook, FX pedigree, and Kate Mara and Brian Tyree Henry performances, Class of ’09 is likely a draw for people who don’t usually gravitate towards crime and three-letter-agency dramas. That should make it easier to recruit fellow viewers. You’ll want them. This is a series you’ll want to talk about. Stay tuned for more on our Watercooler Club.
As part of their prep, the lead actors performed high-speed driving tests. “We were doing some crazy stuff in empty parking lots in Atlanta,” Kate Mara told Vanity Fair. “It’s like we went through our own version of Actors Quantico.”
Where to find it: Hulu