“Never Trust a Stranger” shakes up the FBI formula a little with a new addition and a big change for an old faithful.
This recap of FBI season 3, episode 1, “Never Trust a Stranger”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous season by clicking these words.
The FBI Season 3 premiere, “Never Trust A Stranger”, had everything you’d probably expect from an episode of this show – moral ambiguity, socio-political commentary, and hair-raising stand-offs. But it also had something we haven’t really got to see from the show before, which is romance. Or, at least, the suggestion of romance, deployed as a last-minute cliffhanger.
But it’s something, right? Last season, Special Agent Maggie Bell was put on the shelf for a bit due to an undercover assignment that coincided with actress Missy Peregrym’s real-life maternity leave. The mission, we learn here, was a success. She even got a medal for it. But it cost her something, having had to kill a woman she had come to consider a friend, and that’s clearly something she’s going to be grappling with going forward. But the stress of the assignment also evidently pushed her into the arms of her colleague, Special Agent Nestor Vertiz (Josh Segarra). We get the hint at the end of the episode thanks to a little kiss on the cheek and a squeeze of the hand. Tellingly, this comes after spending a good chunk of time watching Vertiz badly clash with Maggie’s partner, OA.
OA got the bulk of the attention in “Never Trust A Stranger” when one of his confidential informants was implicated in a mass shooting perpetrated by a far-right white nationalist group. The episode is set during the pandemic – we see the agents wearing masks while out and about, and Maggie jokingly asks OA if they can hug when she first returns – but its main relationship with contemporary issues is the increasing divide between the political left and right, which often manifests as a divide between white and non-white, as we see here. For OA, though, it’s more a question of personal responsibility. He endangered his informant and worked him with vague promises of a legitimate job, and the poor guy’s efforts to really embrace his role as a criminal landed him in a seriously compromising position. To what extent is that OA’s fault?
Elsewhere, we learn that Ebonee Noel has departed the show, leaving Scola in need of a new partner. He gets one in the form of Special Agent Tiffany Wallace (Katherine Renee Turner), a no-nonsense new addition who transferred from the NYPD after decking her superior officer. Things between them are frosty right from the jump, and Wallace will undoubtedly divide opinion being so radically different from fan-favorite Kristen Chazal. What FBI Season 3 does with her, and indeed what direction it takes Maggie and OA’s relationship in, will probably determine its success.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.