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'Legends' series premiere recap: Who is Martin Odum?

Season 1 | Episode 1 | “Pilot” | Aired Aug 13, 2014

With all the spy/cop/secret agent dramas out there, it’s difficult for a new show to separate itself from the pack and find a niche. Could TNT’s new drama, Legends, put a new twist on a genre that seemingly has no new ground to cover?

The premise: FBI agent Martin Odum has made a career of going deep undercover and assuming various new identities, or “legends.” This has led to his colleagues in the bureau questioning if he’s truly reliable for high-priority missions. After the events of the premiere episode, Martin is starting to question his own identity.

martin odum

We’re first introduced to Martin Odum (played by Sean Bean), but he’s not exactly Martin. He’s been undercover for six months as Lincoln Dittman, a stuttering former construction worker with nothing to lose. Dittman is working his way through the ranks of a domestic terror organization led by a man called the Founding Father. Unfortunately, when we meet FF later on, he’s not wearing a powdered wig or speaking with a 1700s British accent (sigh).

After the DEA almost blows his cover, Odum returns to the FBI to regroup. This break from being Dittman also gives Odum a chance to stop by his ex-wife’s house. He hands her a check and promises his son a dinner that never comes. You mean a guy that disappears for six months and changes identities isn’t a responsible husband or father? Surprise! During this brief yet ineffective family moment, Martin sees a man who appears homeless lurking around his neighborhood.

Remember that lurking homeless person from the last sentence? Well, just when you think you’re watching a standard secret agent show, a hobo interferes and changes the game! Actor Billy Brown, who most recently portrayed August Marks on Sons of Anarchy, is our bearded vagabond and appears to be following Odum. When Odum finally catches up to him in a shopping mall, the mysterious hobo offers up a startling revelation.

Hobo: You’re not Martin Odum!
Odum: I’m guessing you’re not an ordinary hobo!
Hobo: It’s all lies. Martin Odum isn’t your name.
Odum: Well, granted, it does sound like a fake name, but still, how does a hobo have all this information?
Hobo: Gotta run. See you later in a subway, aka my hobo home away from home.

The conversation didn’t go exactly that way, but you catch my drift. Odum, who (according to his FBI team) has an unstable personality, may not even be Odum. Martin takes this newly acquired information and some security footage to FBI computer whiz Bobby. No last name? Not a good sign. Bobby is able to find out the hobo is in the FBI database thanks to facial recognition software, but is unable to access that information directly. Then he’s promptly murdered.

Martin is set to meet up with the Secret Agent Hobo once more, but before he can sit down for an iced latte with him, the hobo is stabbed by a mysterious woman. The hobo does manage to hand Martin a book, tells him that there’s a message to be decoded, and then dies, whispering, “I loved you in Game of Thrones.” Weird that they added that, but I didn’t mind.

One word to describe the first episode of Legends: intensity. The show didn’t drag at all, even when they needed to slow down a bit to unfold certain background elements. We briefly met Martin’s ex-wife, Sonya, and son, Aiden, but the pilot didn’t linger on their relationship. We also met several FBI team members, but only Martin’s relationship with Crystal McGuire, played by Ali Larter, was developed. Apparently they slept together, it was a mistake, but she has a stripper’s outfit with her at all times just to be safe. That’s not a joke.

ali larter on legends

While waiting for the Founding Father in a strip club, Martin’s cover as Lincoln Dittman is almost blown again when his CI (criminal informant) is tortured for intel. While the FBI team backing up Odum quickly falsifies new medical records to re-legitimize Dittman, Crystal swoops in to give Martin a lap dance. During the dance, she clues Martin in on his freshly killed CI, and mistakes a smoke detector for a camera.

Martin: Gotcha!
Crystal: You said it was a camera! That’s the only reason I actually gave you a lap dance.
Martin: Ya know, an FBI agent should probably be able to tell the difference between a camera and a smoke detector. How’d you get your job again?
Crystal: I won it in a contest.
Martin: I’m surprisingly fine with that.

In the end, Martin and the FBI arrest the Founding Father, Crystal retires from dancing, and everyone forgets to hold a funeral for Bobby. Sorry, Bobby.

I’m very intrigued by the notion that Martin Odum might also be a legend, and not his actual identity.Who was the hobo killing subway lady? Where was Morris Chestnut, whose character seems important, but wasn’t in the first episode? What was that book the hobo gave to Martin? So many questions! I’m excited to find out the answers this season on … Legends (music plays).

If you’re still wondering whether or not to watch this show, I would highly recommend it if you’re a fan of Burn Notice, Orphan Black and/or Homeland. There are bits and pieces from each of these shows in Legends, but the show still has a fresh feel to it. With a 10-episode first season, they won’t have time to drag things out if they want to keep the audience on their toes. So watch Legends every Wednesday night at 9 p.m. on TNT. TNT: We Know Hobos.

Legends airs Wednesday at 8/9C on TNT.

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