In television, like in life, timing can be everything, and Amazon’s February 24-launching Patriot is very much of its time. The Michael Dorman-led genre-defining series is also a welcomed return to high-quality unconventionality for the House of Bezos’ streaming service. Having just concluded its world premiere today with a couple of episodes at the Berlin Film Festival, Patriot, as I say in my video review above, is a fun and shrewd farce full of surprises throughout. As with so many things of late, you will laugh so hard you’ll cry — in the best way.
Part of what makes the 10-episode first season of the series written and directed by Steve Conrad such a joy is that it fulfills so many of the promises of its pilot which debuted in November 2015 — a rare bird on broadcast, cable or streaming
To give you the overview, Patriot parachutes us into the complicated life of John Tavner, a spy with more that the usual quota of secrets. For one, Dorman’s often delightfully deadpan character seeks therapeutic outlet in performing highly classified folk music in coffeehouses to help with his PTSD and other personal and professional frustrations.
Coming at the grand game of spycraft from the ground up, the seriously conflicted and weary American intelligence agent is now undercover and overwhelmed at a Milwaukee-based industrial piping company as he tries to influence an election in Iran and a messy situation or two, or three. More buried in the fourth paragraph than ripped from the headlines, the twisted series also stars Lost alum Terry O’Quinn as Tavner’s spy-chief father, Michael Chernus as John’s dimwitted congressman brother, plus Kurtwood Smith, Aliette Opheim, Chris Conrad and Kathleen Munroe.
See more of what I think of Patriot by clicking my video review above, especially if you are looking for something out of the ordinary and defining expectations.