Hey TV.com, Should I Watch Graceland?


Summer is upon us, which means USA Network's warm-weather roster stands poised to claim its usual place as one of the better options for (generally) lighthearted original series; Graceland, which premieres this week and is currently being marketed as "inspired by true events," is the newest addition to the lineup. However, despite the sunny SoCal setting and shared DNA with network veteran White CollarGraceland seems to run a bit darker than USA's typical summer fare.

The network has been toying with grittier themes for a while now (see: last summer's Political Animals, the more mature storylines on Covert Affairs and Suits), but is Graceland an amazing wonder born out of all this experimentation, or the channel's very own Frankenstein's monster? Let's talk it out. 


Graceland! The Elvis biopic everyone has been waiting for!

Yeah, not so much with the Elvis. In this case, Graceland is the name of an impeccably decorated beachfront home where the FBI, the DEA, and U.S. Customs house a handful of their best agents, Real World-style, so that they can work together to catch the bad guys—when they aren't sipping mai tais, surfing, or squabbling over the chores wheel. Daniel Sunjata (Rescue Me) is the Obi-Wan Kenobi to Aaron Tveit's (Les Miserables) Luke Skywalker... on a way less intergalactic scale. They're joined by Vanessa Ferlito (24, CSI: New York), Brandon Jay McLaren (Falling Skies, The Killing), Manny Montana (Chicago Code), and Serinda Swan (Breakout Kings).


Whose saltwater-soaked brain graced us with Graceland

That would be Jeff Eastin. He created White Collar for USA as well. 




When does this beach party start?

Thursday, June 6 at 10pm.


Who will like Graceland?

Honestly, probably not Real World fans. White Collar fans will notice similarities between that show and Graceland, most notably in the latter's bromance and in the way Southern California receives the same "love letter to the location" treatment as New York does in White Collar. But be warned, Briggs and Mike, our two leads, are not Peter and Neal. Graceland has its fun and sexy moments, but at its core, it's a tense, borderline thriller where the lines between hero and villain are somewhat blurred. I wouldn't go as far as to say that Graceland has nothing in common with its fellow summer shows or that it doesn't have a place in USA's lineup, but it's definitely something different. If you've ever caught yourself watching White Collar, Covert Affairs, Suits, or any of Graceland's processors and found yourself frustrated by how they often seemed to stop juuuuust short of "getting real," Graceland is worth a look.


What's good about Graceland?

Graceland's pilot is TIGHT. Like, sometimes-I-forgot-I-was-watching-a-USA-summer-show tight. Without getting into spoilery details (let's save those for my full review on Thursday night!), it's not necessarily the show it's been sold as and it's awesome




What's not so bueno?

Just little things, really. Some of the roommates aren't as well-developed as they could be, but it's just the first episode and it's a fairly large cast, so I'm willing to let that one slide with the understanding that we'll probably get more backstory as we go. Regarding the more developed characters, there's one in particular who, I thought, came off as rather unlikable—which is unfortunate because I get the feeling this character was meant to be the exact opposite of that. Still, it's fixable. 


So... should I watch it? 

Oh, yes. I initially approached it as a "summer show that doesn't look awful" and after watching the pilot can say that I'm definitely hooked. 


Trailer, por favor?

Heeere you go:



What beverage should I pair with Graceland?

Margaritas and a nice beach-y beer like Oberon or LandShark (or Bud Lite if you'd prefer to  drink water).


Graceland premieres Thursday, June 6 at 10pm on USA. 


Comments (92)
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This show sucks. I know it's a little soon to tell after 2 episodes but I don't think I can stick around for a third. One of the most boring shows ever!
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I seriously thought that was Michelle Rodriguez and was like hey girl, yay you for getting back in the game...why aren't you in the credits...oh. I liked the pilot. Pretty well paced and engaging. Will have to watch this space if they can keep it up. What do they mean by based on real events or whatever?
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is it a case-of-the-week-show?
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if its a procedural and has anything to do with law enforcement or crime I pass
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I'm confused...isn't Scottie Thompson supposed to be on this show?
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Serinda Swan is easy on the eye, so, that's a plus and I actually enjoyed Breakout Kings, was really sad to see it go. So, let's give this one a try.. :)
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It was the best pilot I have seen this year. Kept me engaged all the way until the end. I plan on following this show to see how things develop.
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I'll give it the 4 episode treatment. If you guys still think the series is awesome after 4 episodes, I'll give it a try :)
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Just saw the Pilot its pretty damn good actually and plenty of twists . Should be a bucket of fun.
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I'm in. What can I say? I loves me some USA shows. Especially with witty dialogue, intriguing characters, and a bromance or two. I was in from the beginning. The casting doesn't hurt. My only qualm is that it's taking the time-slot of my beloved Suits. :(
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That's what I said when Common Law premiered, and I quit halfway through the pilot.
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I watched it til the end. I like Michael Ealy and Warren Kole.
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did not watch suits, white collar or covert affairs so its a pass for me, BURN NOTICE season premiere tonight hell yeah
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Watched the pilot, looks good. No Serinda Swan yet. Had Scottie Thompson though to keep my eyes warm. But it doesn't seem like she'll be a series regular.
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Went to an advance screening of the pilot. Was pleasantly surprised, it was really good. Will definitely be watching this season
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Looking forward to this
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I do not like any of the USA shows except Suits so I was going to give it a pass. However after reading your review, I shall watched the pilot and give it a chance. First time I am changing my mind after a review here :-)
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I'll be watching. With the exception of Psych (which I lovingly adore), the USA Network seems to continuously make shows that I find fun enough to watch, but not enough to be memorable or a favorite. This will likely be one of those. I guess it's just a matter of whether it'll be enough to watch (like Burn Notice and White Collar) or enough to give up on (like Royal Pains or Necessary Roughness). Suits is getting close to being another exception.
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Ummm, that's allot of eye candy ;o)
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I'm voting maybe, but leaning no only because of the beach house frat thing is a turnoff, and also some other reviews out there have been much less kind.
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I watched the pilot online. caught me right from the beginning. my first impression: thrilling cop drama with a moody beach vibe.
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So..."Terriers" =)
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Not really, Terriers was way better...
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Pilot was so good.

Is it actually based on a true story
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No, it's "based on real events" which in this case means there was a house named Graceland seized in a criminal investigation and used by these agencies as a front, but not all together at once.
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Thanks!
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Yeah, what he said...
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I watched the pilot too it really is amazing
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I watched the pilot online last month, it has a great premise and cast but I can't judge on one episode. While the pilot was solid it could have been alot more.
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The pilot is pretty solid,but the "can't judge on one episode" challenge is one of things that makes me kiiiind of uncomfortable every time I write one of these and then ramble about how wonderful it is and how ya'll should totally watch it. Like last summer I loooooved the Common Law pilot and then ended up hating the series as a whole, so, I totally see your point.
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I generally give a new show 3 or 4 episodes and then make up my mind (except Revenge, fell a sleep both times I tried the pilot [Seriously!])

I can see the "USA" chemistry & and other trademarks in the pilot, I would be surprised if it doesnt spawn into something great (White Collar is one of my favorite shows)
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You had me at the picture of the lovely Serinda Swan. Sucks 'Breakout Kings' got canceled but I'll follow her here.
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I still haven't finished watching Breakout Kings, but I will because it was way good...
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I'm of the 'I can't believe they canceled it' after the ending they leave with in season 2. It was a great procedural because it broke the mold of your typical procedural. Jimmi Simpson stole every scene he was in.
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Love me some Jimmi Simpson...
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I was planning on watching it anyway, but I'm happy you'll be reviewing it! I very much enjoy reviews by you/Price/Lily....not to play favorites! (*whispers* I am totally playing favorites, though.....just to be clear)
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I will watch anything Aaron Tveit is in. The show is actually pretty awesome, which is good, I can actually pay attention instead of just watching it on mute.
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thought it looked pretty interesting, but I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I do think it should've been a little shorter, USA likes to make their pilots an hour long instead of 40ish minutes, so I think a little shorter could've streamlined the storytelling a little and made it flow better... but I still liked it.
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YES YES,,,,you should watch it...I saw an episode online and it's REALLY good.
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i hate white collar ...

so ... This neighborhood isn't for me...
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My wife hates White Collar, so I don't watch either. I just have too much better stuff still in the bank. 9 episodes of Banshee, 6 Orphan Black's, 4 Rectifys, some Scandal, Revenge, Hannibal, The Good wife and even a few Terriers...
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Already saw the pilot and liked it. I'm definitely going to watch the first couple of episodes to see where the show is headed.
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Sweet!
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Love White Collar. Love Aaron Tveitt. Love Vanessa Ferlito. Love hearing that you love it.

Yep, I'm checking it out.
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I generally like what MaryAnn likes so I'll check it out.
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well once again USA will be the place for me to watch for the summer,
with Burn notice soon to be done, and Suits moving to tues, this could
be interesting show or a "meh" show (like Nessrcary roughness)
guess we'll see
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I swear this is the third article I've read on this show and I saw the first episode already. Pretty good but catching druggies isn't for me. Hope we win the war on drugs, but I don't care to watch it...
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I'm hoping it's not all "catch the druggies." The pilot hinted that it wouldn't be. Case-of-the-week tends to get on my nerves after awhile.
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Last night we all ganged up on Cory to do the season two reviews of Banshee. Of course no commitment was made. Would you consider doing them?
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avoid "office politics"...let's not drag her into it (she's cool)
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I know she's cool and they actually don't have an actual office. Whadda ya say RG?
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USA has, at this point, earned my respect enough to check in for the pilot of a new show (with "Monk", "Psych", "Burn Notice", "Suits" and "Political Animals" as predecessors in specific reference). With this review-thing, there is no doubt that I will be there. Props to USA for making it work as a cable channel devoted to "wide appeal". AMC/FX it may not be, and yet it is worth its weight in the annals of "non-premium cable channels well worth the time". There are worse things.
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I was hoping it would have a darker tone but it's USA so that's not going to happen. Also since it will be airing at 10PM I assume they will make sure to work in a few expletives each week to make it seem more edgy. That being said, I've watched every USA show for the past 7 or 8 years so I will be watching this as well.
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I'm probably gonna watch this one just for Daniel Sunjata. Love the guy.
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Eh the pilot was 'alright' at best. The fact that the guy was taking actual notes as he went was just plain silly.
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Have you ever had a new job? Taking notes is something I do all the time when I get a new project of the ground. You have to meet a dozen new ppl, phone #'s, locations, dimentions, and specs. We are not all whats her face from Unforgettable. This is something done in real life that doesnt translate that well onto TV. I'm sure you remembered all you McDonalds job responsibilities, but being a government agent is a little more complicated.
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Obviously you know more about McDonald's than i do as I have a high paying job that allows me to watch tv all day. No notes required. Just lucky like that. I don't need to be atop however to know that making notes on how to be an undercover cop after you supposedly graduated at the top of your academy was just silly. It wasn't case notes or clues.
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People who graduate top of their class do that because they take notes throughout the all their classes, especially if they get a (arbitrarily large number) on their practicals.
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Unfogettable? I forgot already...
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Ooooh! McDonalds job burn. Them's fightin' words!
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I ate at McDonalds once. Don't recommend it...
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Oh, that was you?!?
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I WORKED at McDonald's once. I don't recommend that either.
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I crave it about once a month and regret eating it about halfway through the meal.
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I watched the pilot. And it kind of had a Point Break vibe to it. Straight laced uber FBI academy graduate has to infiltrate a criminal organization. But instead of a criminal organization with Patrick Swayze as the bad guy. It has a head undercover cop that may or may not be dirty and the lead is supposed to find that out.

I happen to like that premise. The Pilot was pretty decent. I will be giving it 3 episodes to see what it can do. I do like the various actors and actresses involved. Plus it is a USA show and I have only met two USA shows that I didn't care for and that is Necessary Roughness and Covert Affairs. Both ridiculous in their own right. Oh and last season of Burn Notice. So it will likely be pretty good.
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3 episodes is fair. Pilots always make me nervous as a "representation of the entire series" because I think that they are so rarely accurate representations. Still, this one was good, so I'm crossing my fingers.
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I'm tired of watching Graceland promos during my NCIS and SVU marathons, but I admit it looks pretty good. I'll probably check it out.
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This is one of the most saddest things I've ever read! NCIS and SVU marathons, lol. That's the Minivan combo of TV.
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I went into the pilot with high hopes and expectations due to the cast and network and was only disappointed in one regard, the "twist" at the end. otherwise I feel like it has the potential to be good anyway. it's been a month or so, so my memories of details are a bit vague ...was the unlikable person the woman who's partner had just left the house? and I don't remember it really being any more of a *thriller* and less lighthearted than covert affairs or necessary roughness. I felt like it was a perfect fit with what I consider usa's better shows.
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Haha, yes, it was her. I got where she was coming from, but she just got on my nerves with the revenge, revenge, REVENGGGEEE. Like...he blew his cover. He's not dead. Stop it.
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Pretty sure the Jonathan Rhys Meyers TV movie is all the Elvis biopic the world will ever need. "You ungrateful HILLBILLY!!". I still scream this at my friends from time to time, it's that great.

Oh, this show. I guess I might check it out.
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sounds great and I'm glad you will be reviewing it!
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Thanks! :D
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I've seen the pilot. It was watchable. Not much more than that. It will almost certainly be a case of the week show, like everything on USA. There was however a hint that we might get to see some actual character development, which is very rare on USA.

I'll probably pass. Not sure though.
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I am still conflicted. Here is the thing I gave up on White Collar for awhile but came back. Covert affairs is okay. I love Burn Notice but I totally understand why this is the end. I am thinking it might be my Saturday morning show. But I am not totally bowled over by summer shows so far (teen wolf was okay but the killing felt like homework and I am kind of dreading falling skies and true blood so this might work).
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I'm still not convinced. Maybe if I hear that it is one of the best new shows after I read some of the reviews, but frankly there are other summer shows that look better than this.
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I saw this at the premiere in NYC and it was awesome. Plus they had a Q& A with the stars. If you're a fan of Serinda Swan and are waiting for her to show up, she comes in episode 2. alas, there will be no singing. Apparently the actors really get into their cop/agent modes because after 6 months of filming aaron tveit was on the subway once and when he saw a guy reach into his coat, he instinctively began to reach for a gun on his hip. if the natural chemistry I saw was any indication, I think this is going to be a great summer show.
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Yeah, none of the promos have had me saying "must watch", but I'm glad to hear that you felt the same and were converted afterward. I'll definitely check it out.
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I'm in! Need stuff to watch this summer lol and on an unrelated topic, are there any sites I can watch every episode of Community on for free?
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Check out our Community show guide. We show you all the places you can legally watch it online. A lot of it is available on Hulu.
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You can just "you know" it ;)
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