Graceland "Guadalajara Dog" Review: Smokey and the Bandits

Graceland S01E02: "Guadalajara Dog"

Graceland's really gonna have to stop with all the food truck porn and yummy descriptions of heart attacks masquerading as sustenance if I'm going to watch it without eyeing up the fridge every ten seconds. You had me at guacamole, show.

Mike almost blew the housemates' cover at the official taco truck of undercover FBI agents when he tried to chase down a dude who stole a bag of Doritos. Bad, Mike. Bad. After managing to cobble together a credible undercover persona in last week's series premiere, it seems that Mike is experiencing some difficulty remembering that his undercover self needs to act like his real self—and not a government operative—whenever he's out and about. Conversely, Briggs never seems to turn off his cover, which makes for some interesting thinky thoughts considering that whole being-under-investigation thing. 

Speaking of that being-under-investigation thing, Mike was summoned to meet with a psychologist to discuss the shooting action from last week, but his psychologist turned out to be his boss for the Briggs investigation. They tried to conceal their meetings by claiming that Mike had been ordered to attended weekly sessions, but Briggs could smell the bullshit and it was amazing. This week's mini-cliffie, with Briggs taking Mike out to a nice remote area for a little friendly interrogation, wasn't terribly clever, BUT I like that we're jumping right into their conflict, rather than dragging it out across an entire season of Mike just barely fooling Briggs and Briggs giving Mike weird, knowing looks whenever his back is turned. 

That said, I'm not entirely convinced that the truth will come out super soon, because then what are we supposed to do for the remaining ten episodes? The Briggs-is-probably-innocent alarms are going off big time, though. Mike's FBI contact, Juan, only offered vague reasons for the investigation and really pushed the "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" mentality that seems to be a staple of dirty law enforcement on TV as of late. 

My current theory is that Briggs got attached to someone he shouldn't have—either another agent who's no longer at the house or maybe someone he was supposed to be investigating—and when the FBI got wind of it, they no likey. Idk. This was only Episode 2. There were some serious hints being thrown around, though. Donnie is definitely not returning to the house and Lauren was all emo girl about it. Briggs encouraged her to let him go and focus on her job. He hinted at being in a similar situation and called himself a "cautionary tale." Then there was all the "I owe you" blah blah toward Paige—who we finally got to meet. Hello, Serinda Swan! Hello!


Paige Arkin is DEA, she was too deep undercover last week to make the housewarming party for Mike, and if that whole starstruck-googly-eyes scene when Mike first saw her is to be taken seriously, then I guess they're eventually going to hook up. I'm ambivalent, mostly because I don't know if I actually like either of them yet. 

As part of Briggs' penance for whatever he owes Paige for, Briggs helped her get out of her undercover mission before the birth control she was slipping her gangster "boyfriend" to keep him from being able to bang her was no longer enough to keep his advances on the PG level. Though Briggs had previously nixed Mike's plan to borrow some cop-killer bullets that D.J. snagged on a bust in order to get close to one of Briggs' targets, Briggs changed his mind and for a mere two-turn deal on the chore wheel, D.J. just forked over the kryptonite ammo. After a brief moment of panic over whether or not Briggs was reallgoing to bust the bad guys or just let them drive away with a crate full of awful, the good guys won and Briggs snagged some cash off of the pile that Paige's fake-ex paid. I'm pretty sure that alone would have been enough to land someone under investigation by their FBI bosses. 

"Guadalajara Dog" provided a bit more focus after a series premiere that only gave us the broadest sense of what Graceland will ultimately be. With the introduction of Paige, our roster is full and we're ready to let them do... whatever it is they're going to do. That Briggs isn't necessarily the untrustworthy bad guy the bureau suspects him to be is a given, but the why is still as unpredictable as what will come out of Mike's mouth during any given undercover operation—seriously, he's two for two, when is that habit of going off-script going to not work out for him?


What'd you think of "Guadalajara Dog"?



SURF REPORT

– Charlie and Johnny are my favorites. <3

– "Stop staring, you're still my fake boyfriend." 

– It's twisted, but the Smokey Bears made me laugh. I'm a bad person. Oh well.  

– I would totally eat a Guadalajara dog—and then feel really bad about myself. 

– What are your Briggs theories?

Comments (69)
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I am bad with you. Smokey Bears made me laugh too. Ha ! I was going to skip Graceland thinking it is one of those USA shows like White Collar with the 2 cops buddy up kind of show. But hey...I am glad I did not, Graceland is certainly not that. It is fun with many characters. The show is sunny and funny and moves at a fast pace.

This is not a typical procedural show. The actors are quite good. Daniel Sunjata shows he can carry a show on his own after playing supporting roles including stints with Rescue me and Grey's Anatomy.

I do have 2 questions though, why are these agents put together on a sunny beach?

At first, I thought they were going to work together on a big case hence putting them together but it now seems they working on mostly different cases.

Secondly,aren't the bad guys on the streets generally going to get suspicious if other gang members are in jail after working with them and these guys are still not ?
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Meh, I never get bored with a show this early but I am done. I like Eastin's work, White collar is fantastic. I can't help but think he didn't try with Graceland. It's also rare I'll admit USA have a miss, the cast are great in this but the writing really lets this show down.
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Enjoyed it. Not as good as the season premiere but heading in a good direction.
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I thought the stealing money thing was pretty trite. But I loved the fact that Briggs acknowledged the tactical team. No body ever acknowledges the tactical team! That was an interesting and unique character moment...the show just needs more of them.
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The "I'm buying" gesture by Briggs was perfect.
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Any clean undercover agent or cop has failed.It is impossible to remain clean doing that job; but the question is to which extent would one go to establish the trust among the target and to what extent will the agent not be prone to accept the easy aspects of belonging to such targets.So no, Briggs cannot be clean. This makes him the best Sensei to mike, but what can Mike really learn from a man he supposed by assignement not to learn from?
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I think the whole Briggs assignement is a test of loyalty and to what extent can Mike be trusted to follow the leadership of the FBI back in Washington. We kind of had the hint that his father is a big shot (an ex director?) and that the present one is a "friend of the family".But we all know that the top brass by virtue of its political biases have to take decisions that are counter to the national interests, or be involved in what can only be termed as "very delicate". If we accept that direction, then Brass is going down, whatever his innocence or guilt, just to make the point of this loyalty. There is another counter-point, that the FBI "friend" is not really one amd wants to put Mike in positions that might eventually be used to either blackmail the father otr himself at some time in the future.
Whichever way this is going, I am going with it.
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I'm definitely enjoying this show, some of the acting is bad and takes me out of it, but overall the show is good enough to keep me coming back.
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USA network shows always seem so superficial to me for some reason. I don't know there is something in acting, in actors, in plots (or lack of), dialogues. May be it's the sky?
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I am still on the fence for this show. Some of the episode was good, some bad. The dynamic building between Briggs and Mike is going all right. But I agree with what Juan said, Mike is supposedly smarter than Briggs and if so. He needs to act like it. I know that he was just thrown into this thing. But come on, running after a guy that stole some cheetos was a bit much. I am hoping that they don't bounce back and forth between smart Mike and dumb Mike when convenient for the story, because that can get tiresome.

MY theory on Briggs is that he isn't dirty. He just isn't squeaky clean like the FBI wants him to be. There is always a fine line between bending the rules and breaking them. My guess is that he bends them a lot. But all in for getting him and his team home safe. Perhaps there is more, or at least there will be more. And there should be. This could suffer the same issues that Common Law suffered last year in that they accidentally write themselves to conclusion and have no where left for the story to go.

Overall it is all right, but it still feels like it is missing that something to make it a must watch.
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That 'Mike is Smart' thing also throws me too. I watched the trailer before I watched the pilot so I knew he was investigating Briggs, all through the episode I thought his 'fresh-newbie' thing was an act so he wasn't taken seriously. A cover.
But no. Oh no, Mike really is that annoying, because he doesn't get the call till the episode end. dammit USA!
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it's a fun show so far.

Briggs & Mike sitting in open view in the "loud" orange vehicle was dumb imo. If they could see the bullets getting jacked from the gangsters then what was to prevent the gangsters from looking around and seeing them sitting in a bright orange convertible vehicle?

like most people have already mentioned, I think Briggs is "good" and the FBI director who initiated the investigation is likely the corrupt person~~or something similar to that...

smokey and the bandit bears;-)
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My Briggs theory.. someone (Charlie?) says that Briggs was like Mike in the beginning, but when he came back (from somewhere I can't remember) he was like all Zen as he is now. My guess is Briggs somehow figured out that the FBI bosses of Graceland are dirty. Being the savant agent that he is, he goes "undercover" as a "dirty" undercover agent to expose them. He pushes the boundaries so that the dirty bosses would think he was "corruptible" and bring him in.

Mike was brought in either by the dirty bosses trying to suss out if Briggs was really dirty or by "clean" bosses taking notice of Briggs questionable behavior.

I don't think Briggs is totally clean. He may have done some bad things (let a bad guy go free, or killed someone in cold blood), but it would have been because he "owed" somebody (paying out debts seems to be a big thing to him) or because one of the other agents in Graceland was in jeopardy (and he needed to do the bad thing to save them).
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It was when he shot the eyes out of the bears that I really started to laugh.
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Also, not sold yet. Still just here for the Barbie bathing suit.
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Sorry, no, I don't buy it. If my hand had just been on Charlie's ass. Paige wouldn't even get a second glance from me.
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it occurred to me when briggs was asking mike about his therapy session and charlie told briggs to butt out I got the impression that she might be in on why mike is really there. just her closeness to him coming out instead? could be, obviously.
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quick fix ...the money came from eddie.

charlie and johnny are my favorites as well. then mike and briggs and then D.J. and I really like D.J. testament to the show.

paige is obviously booby but I can't imagine she does sultry well. too tough-ish. charlie can do sultry.

maybe someone can explain the how the smokey the bears got their name that was unfortunately over my head it would appear. did enjoy mike's marksmanship though.

my only theory thus far on briggs is too much boundary pushing and / or refusal of accountability or the like. man he had me going during the eddie now has the bullets act. despite the fact i'm convinced he ultimately plays for the good guys. just thought maybe he plays it too loose.

briggs has known from the second he saw that mike was first in line for washington D.C. but got sent to graceland that something was up. any moment that granted him more suspicion was just confirmation for him. he is after all every bit on his game as mike could hope to be himself.

yet another satisfying episode. for some reason it was available free despite USA show generally taking a month before they're available. this may be the last time I get to participate if next week's isn't immediately available =(
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Smokey the Bear was a spokesanimal for the prevention of forest fires. He said "Only you can prevent forest fires".

Smokey is/was also trucker/CB radio slang for cops.
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thank you. smokey the bear forest ranger what have you was the obvious option but couldn't quite make a connection between him and police. I'll just store option 2 away was what they must have meant.
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This was awesome. Johnny and Charlie definitely the faves.
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Did anyone else notice that in three of USA Network's current shows, the main character is named "Mike"?
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I must only watch one of them. this being that one of course.
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Suits is another (tho calling Mike the main character after season 1 is debatable). Can't think of the third.
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Mike Ross - Suits
Mike Westen - Burn Notice
Mike Warren - Graceland
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I switched it off pretty early in the episode because I couldn't see a reason to continue when I had finished what I was eating. Something about this show really puts me off. It annoys me that every one looks like a model. It's not that they're good looking, it's that they're so *styled* to look a certain way. Their hair, facial hair, clothes, etc. And there's something about how the whole thing is filmed. They seem to use something to make all the colors brighter. There's lots of bright red, green, blue and yellow everywhere. It contributes to making everything seem fake. When they showed us that there were some pretty girls on the beach in bikinis, those girls weren't just there, they were *posing* for the camera. Not a big deal if we only look at that, but it's just another example of how they're trying too hard to make everything look pretty. They seem to be taking the USA network's blue skies strategy too far.

Not sure if I will finish the episode. I can't really see a reason to continue this.
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So basically you're saying that this show is all style and no substance? If so, then I agree 100%.
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Yes, that's nice way of putting it.
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Worst reason i've ever heard to NOT watch a show...dumbfounded!
Storyline, acting...none of that? You are better off reading books all together...
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But there is is no storyline, at least one that's recognizable. It's overwhelmed by silly frolicking, surfing, beach parties, etc. There's still time to build this and hopefully the show begins to focus more on their work and the stress/mayhem that's associated with it. Undercover officers just don't have as much fun as these people appear to be having.
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well that's a better way of putting it, if that's what was meant...
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Charlie is hot but she is a) a little too odd looking to be a model (I think it's the lips) and b) 32 years old. I don't really think that particular complaint holds water. You're right in that models have a certain look, but that look includes a certain height, age, features that don't stand out. I'm not seeing it.
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Actually male models work till 45 year old as opposed to girls. so your claim doesn't hold waters either
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I was actually thinking of the guys more than the girls. The facial hair of the guy that the main character is supposed to investigate irritates me for some reason. (Of course, not nearly as much as the facial hair on Undercovers). He looks like he's getting his hair, facial hair and makeup done by a professional every morning.

There's another guy in the house with short and shiny hair, and I noticed how shiny it was just when I was getting irritated about the other guy's facial hair. His hair is so short that he doesn't need something in it to make the hairs point in the right direction, but he has wax in his hair just to make it look shiny...at breakfast. At least that's what it looked like in that scene.

The women are good looking, but probably too short to be models. I don't even remember exactly what they look like.

I don't know, maybe I'm just having a psychotic break because the main TV season is over. I just felt like writing something because I was bored. Didn't put much thought into it. My main point is that something about this show just doesn't feel right. It feels fake, in a very USA network type of way, and I can't imagine that it will ever be exciting, or have much of a story going on.
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It's cool that only the big things irritate you, like shiny hair.
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It's obviously a little thing, insignificant on its own, but there was like a thousand little things like that.
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Great stuff, this show is turning out to be much better than I thought it would be.
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Yep another good episode .This goes to show there's nothing vanilla about this show.
And yeah I really like Johnny too.
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Another good episode to me. As far as the Briggs theory goes, I think his undercover work might have revealed some dirty Feds in the Bureau, and they're using Mike to see what he knows.
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i'm really beginning to like this show, i can't wait to see where it's gonna go
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I'm kind of bummed they're swapping out Scottie Thompson's character Lauren with the new character of Paige after the pilot. I like the optimism of Paige more than the chip on the shoulder attitude of Lauren but I also enjoy watching the change in personality characters like Lauren go through. Plus she was apparently going to be a love interest for Briggs. I'm guessing she had another commitment that came through instead of it being some focus testing nonsense which would explain why she came back to wrap up her character's story line.
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Damn, really?
I could totally see her being a love interest thing for Briggs, and I could see character-developement potential too. They we're dropping hints a fair bit....or that might have just been me. I'm bummed.
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My Briggs theory is that he is super undercover investigating corruption or something like HR in NY (PoI), and that Mike is there to make it look good even though he doesn't know that. at some point the only one who knows gets killed, hilarity ensues.
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My guess is that this whole Briggs-pointing-a-gun-at-Mike-scenario is a part of the cover to get to Bello. And I think it'll work ;)
Btw. I like the show so far!
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charlie is awesome, if there's going to be a love interest i want it to be her, cos that way she'll get more screen time. paige so far is pretty blah.
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I'm not sold that this show is a winner yet, but I am interested to see where this is going. You could definitely feel the layers of tension between Briggs and Mike, and that's a good thing. I still feel like this show would work better on FX or AMC, where it could afford to go a little darker. USA is too happy and shiny a network for this show to play out the way it feels it should.
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I remain unimpressed! I dozed off about half way into this episode. The overly playful vibe that this show has is going to turn me off, I think.
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This is a nice summer show, I am enjoying it. Also like that they haven't underplayed their characters intelligence. The fact that Briggs already knows that something is going on... I am impressed.
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I was impressed too, usually it takes 10 or so episodes for a target character to figure out someones onto them (even when the audience is in the know, which is frustrating) Must be the 10 episode season (or 12, I can't remember.)
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We're going to find out that Briggs is really onto Mike. Mike's going to confess to investigating Briggs. Briggs will confess that the whole Graceland house is dirty, with Briggs as its leader. He'll shoot and kill Mike, and it'll be as momentous as the early death in Game of Thrones.

Okay, so not really. Briggs is acting. Mike wont confess yet. Briggs wont be dirty. Mike will help Briggs. They'll live happily ever after, aside from some tiffs and spats about undercover work and food, of course.

Anyway, that was a pretty fun episode again overall.
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My Briggs theory: he is not corrupt, but he did defy the law somehow, and it also seems that someone big in the FBI is gunning for him
and about the last scene, i think it's just a dream
i mean of they are undercover that means that there is backup in case something happens, and i don't think Briggs are going to interrogate gate Mike with a ton of backup with him
he would kidnap him interrogate him then probably kill him
and i also don't think the show will reveal it's main card on its second episode
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I thought this episode was really good. For some reason, it's always surprising me in the best ways. Episode 1 was, I thought, just an introduction about the new FBI-guy making mistakes. But he didn't make he mistake then. He pulled it off. And then at the ending: a major cliffhanger, this was really an investigation!
And now, more of the same: he gets to go on a job, it goes well (that part was now predictable), but instead of having that entire season of secret meetings and such, woah no, we just get a confrontation head-on!
Seriously, I like it. It's a solid show, unpredictable in the best way, interesting characters and for now, the storylines have me totally hooked. Looking forward to next week!
I don't have a theory on Briggs yet. But I'm guessing the main motivator has something to do with "overwhelming guilt which has led to his current way of life". As of yet, I think it's too early to start making real assumptions just yet.
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I liked it too! I enjoyed the premiere and I enjoyed this episode, which makes me really excited about the rest of the season because a lot of the time, with me, I'll love a pilot and hate the follow-up or dislike a pilot and LOVE the second episode, so for both of them to really keep me engaged is awesome.
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Yeah, I know what you mean. Usually it's one or the other, but never both. I really hope they can keep this up! :-)
Especially since I think I read somewhere that this is from the same creator as White Collar. And though I don't dislike that show, so far these Graceland episodes have been way better!
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I feel really sorry for the bears
it was a really nice episode i liked almost all of the cast they were all great
by the way is the "Cop Killer" bullet is the same as "High Explosive Incendiary/Armor Piercing Ammunition", if it's the same it is not only illegal in 50 state, but worldwide illegal and it would do to humans the same it did to the Teddy Bears, currently only used by the Syrian army
if it is the same that means that Briggs and Mike are the craziest FBI agents in the world for making it a part of there ruse
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Poor bears. :(

Not sure about the bullets, but I thought DJ was pretty crazy for just letting Mike take them in exchange for some chores.
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My Briggs theory: Some FBI guys are corrupted or something like that and Briggs is getting too close to them so they want to make him look like the bad guy and get rid of him at the same time by throwing Mike on the table.
Also, there should be a drinking game with the rule of drinking whenever someone calls Mike smart.
Also again, Charlie and Johnny are my favorites too, but Jakes is not that bad himself.
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Haha, it's probably sad that we can already start forming a drinking game after a mere two episodes. I love it though. Drink when they call Mike Levi. Drink when he goes off script. Drink when Briggs does something questionable only to be redeemed. Drink whenever they drink on the beach.

Jakes is great too! :D
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Oh I love this show too but you're right we'd be drunk before the opening credits!
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My Briggs theory: Last episode he told Mike the whole "we've seen [the Russians] do that before" speech and he seemed really uneasy saying it. I'm guessing he was supposed to kill someone and either actually shot the person or screwed it up and got someone else killed in the process.
As for the end of episode 2: Mike and Briggs are there to meet Bello, and he is probably going to look for a scapegoat. My best guess: Briggs is actually waiting for Bello to arrive, using the holding-a-gun-to-Mike's-head scene to gain his trust.
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I really like this show it is so good.

I think that it is a personal vendetta that someone has against Briggs. Mike will figure that out and help Briggs bring down the bad dude. And then decided he much prefers Graceland to the political world of Washington. And then season 2 will start.
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yes! I think so too... you actually went ever further than me on that theory ;)
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I liked this episode A LOT, and I am pretty sure this will be a summer staple show for me. :-) As for the Briggs-and-Mike dynamic, see.....I don't think either one completely trusts the other, but I also don't think Briggs is on to Mike just yet. Given what went down in this episode, and what we saw in the previews for next week's episode, my guess is this whole gun-to-the-head, "WHO HAVE YOU BEEN TALKING TO?!" thing is an act for Bello (like, Briggs' attempting to appear pissed about what happened with the bullets by "turning on Mike", etc.).
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