The Following (FOX) - Series Premiere: Synopsis and Review


For those of you who haven’t had enough of cop-shows, there is a new oneon FOX, called ‘The Following’. The series premiere was Januari 21st at 9/8c, and the series stars Kevin Bacon (X-Men: First Class) and James Purefoy (‘Rome’).

The episode starts with an amazingly easy prison break, with a room full of slaughtered guards that go unnoticed just long enough for killer Joe Carroll (Purefoy) to escape. After the escape, former FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Bacon) is called and asked by the FBI to work as a consultant for the team in charge of finding Carroll. Hardy had been the one to capture Carroll the first time. Hardy agrees to help, fills his water bottle with vodka and leaves. At the prison, he meets the FBI agents he will be working with, including Jennifer Mason (Jeananne Goossen, ‘Alcatraz’), and he finds a note directed to him in the book Carroll was reading, the book Hardy wrote about capturing Carroll. The FBI suspects that the note, which is basically just Carroll telling Hardy he liked the book, is a confession by Carroll that he will try to kill again.

At a field office where the case is discussed and civilians who visited Carroll in prison are gathered for interrogation, Hardy learns that Carroll had restricted access to the internet, and he points out that that could have been a means for Carroll to contact the outside world. While the FBI agents are frantically trying to search in the internet records of Carroll’s activities, a woman who is there for interrogation gets a text message saying ‘do it now’, at which point she takes off her dress, revealing that there is writing all over her body, and she takes an icepick out of her purse. As the officers around her, including Hardy, are trying to talk her out of it, she drives the icepick into her eye. They quickly realize this woman has been set up to do this by Carroll.

Through Carroll’s internet records, they find a connection to a prison guard who turned a blind eye when Carroll was on the internet, and they go to his house. He's not there, but they do find out that not only did he abduct puppies, he also slaughtered them. The man is a dog-killer. The FBI figure it was for practice; Carroll was teaching him how to become a serial killer.

When Hardy talks to Carroll’s former wife Claire Matthew (Natalie Zea, ‘Dirty Sexy Money’), we find out Claire and Hardy had a relationship after Carroll was imprisoned. Claire tells Hardy that Carroll was dead set on finishing what he started. Hardy realizes Carroll will be going after Sarah (Maggie Grace, ‘Lost’), Carroll’s last victim who he never got to kill because Hardy stopped him as he was stabbing her.

When Hardy and Jennifer go to Sarah's house to check on the security that was set in place when Carroll escaped, they find two guards missing; the guards in front of her bedroom. In Sarah's bed they find one of the guards dead, and Sarah is nowhere to be found. Ryan finds a hatch between Sarah’s bedroom and the house next door, and they find the second dead guard in there. As Hardy investigates a picture of Sarah’s neighbors, who seem to have been pretending to be an innocent gay couple for three years so they could get close to her and deliver her to Carroll, he notices the name of a B&B and drives there with one of the FBI’s cars (not informing the FBI, which is obviously always a good idea. Not.)

The B&B is old and rundown, but Hardy has a gut feeling and dammit, he's gonna stick with it!
Hearing a woman screaming, Hardy starts running through the house like a chicken with its head cut off, not realizing the screams sound the same every time he hears them (because it is, quite noticeably, a recording). As he enters a room, Carroll is there waiting, smacking him on the head. Carroll then reveals a dead and eyeless Sarah to Hardy. Hardy lashes out at Carroll, who quickly surrenders, wanting to turn himself in. Hardy is ready to kill him, but is stopped by the arrival of the FBI (damn those tracking devices in their cars!)

It would seem the case is over, if it weren't for Carroll's intricate web of new serial killers, and his desire to 'write' a real life story filled with murder and tragedy, even if it means having his followers kidnap his own son.

What do you think about 'The Following'?

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‘The Following’ is actually quite a good series, if you’re able to look past the almost unbelievable happenings. I have mentioned a few in my synopsis, and there are many, many more. Small but unbelievable for instance; Hardy can type the name of the B&B and the location on his touchscreen without making a single error. We all know that is just surreal. Also, how extremely convincing is Carroll, getting an extensive group of people to the point where they would kill and be killed because he told them to do so online. Is this the natural evolution of charismatic killers? Are they able to transfer from face to face convincing towards spreading their charismatic messages online? It’s these kinds of things that are harder to believe, but for me they don’t stand in the way of enjoying the story. Well, not too much, at least.

Concluding; it’s an entertaining show, that does have its downsides. For instance: the murders aren’t very original. After all, how many killers have we seen over the years that have a fascination for eyes? And how many cops-with-drinking-issues? Also, the story can be quite unbelievable at times. (An internet based-murdering-cult organized from prison? Really?) However, the acting is great and the storyline could become a very interesting one if they play it right. If the description of the show interested you at all: watch the show. It may not always be believable, but the entertainment-factor is huge.

'The Following' airs on Mondays at 9/8c on FOX.

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Comments 13 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

I just dropped by to give you some support; since I don't have tv, there isn't much I can say about this, other than good job on the review. :) I hope you are well my friend. Sending blessings and good vibes your way.


Robin Oatley profile image

Robin Oatley 4 years ago Author

Hey Bill,

Thanks for stopping by and supporting me! I wish you the same and I hope you have a great day.

NickysMom2003 profile image

NickysMom2003 4 years ago

I'm not sure what to think of the show yet. The garage scene with the dogs really really bothered me. I had to keep reminding myself that it was ONLY a tv show, like I remind my husband when he gets upset (he left after the ice pick in the eye scene... he'd "had enough" as he put it). The twist involving the "gay" neighbors threw me for a loop, as I was completely and utterly dismayed to think that Carroll had done away with them in order to get to Sarah. And speaking of Sarah, why didn't Carroll have the neighbors kidnap her at the same time he escaped, that way there would have been no need to sneak into her place through a closet. I guess it wouldn't have been such a plot twist if they'd done it that way. ;-) It will be interesting to see what they do for a follow-up season, because dragging out this storyline beyond one season will get old real fast. I'll keep watching to see how this all plays out, mainly due to the acting as you mentioned.

Robin Oatley profile image

Robin Oatley 4 years ago Author

I know what you mean, that part with the dogs was just... Well, I definitely had to force myself to keep watching after that. You make an interesting point about Sarah's kidnapping, I hadn't even thought about that! But then again; there are so many inexplicable things in this series and others just like it that perhaps my brain is now trained to just accept it :P

Thanks for reading!

Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

I think for this to be a show for someone of Kevin Bacon's caliber to star in, it has to be big and for the most part it was very enjoyable. The part with the dogs definitely had me disturbed as well as the part with the suicidal woman. However, I do give it credit for not taking the route of typical police procedurals.

Like Nicky'sMom said, I wanna see how this goes beyond a season. I think Fox is good at picking good shows but sometimes it might be best to make it a miniseries instead of dragging it out (See Prison Break).

Robin Oatley profile image

Robin Oatley 4 years ago Author

Hi Alecia,

This is one of those shows that makes me wonder how they will keep it interesting. The story basically revolves around one event, and they can't do that for several seasons. On the other hand, there are a lot of shows that start like a typical procedural and two seasons later they turn into a show just like this, and it works for them.

Fun fact: I just learned that in other countries some of the shows that are cancelled in America are announced and aired as a miniseries there, when it is in fact just a cancelled show. Quite ingenious.

Thanks for reading!

howtolearnmore profile image

howtolearnmore 4 years ago from Tartu

This could turn out to be an epic show... unless, of course, they screw it up or drag it out too much.

But one thing I found amusing: many people weren't really shocked by the death scenes, but when they saw a tortured dog, they freaked out (including the young investigator). Kinda makes you think how some people are desensitized to murders.

NickysMom2003 profile image

NickysMom2003 4 years ago

I explain my horror at the torturing of dogs this way: grown people usually have a way of defending themselves either mentally or physically, while children and animals do not as they are too trusting and innocent. Yes, I group animals in with children when it comes to tv show murders. I'm weird that way.

Robin Oatley profile image

Robin Oatley 4 years ago Author

I agree with NickysMom on this one, the average dog (or any other animal or child for that matter) isn't violent or aware of the fact that they are about to be slaughtered. It's the innocence of the victim that makes it so much more gruesome.

Furthermore, since there are so many TV series and movies in which people die, we are accustomed to seeing it (on TV that is) and instantly realize that this is in fact fake. Doggy-murder on TV is less common so that still makes our hairs stand up straight. (Of course, when someone is murdered in real life I'm sure everyone is shocked and appalled.)

As for the character in the series that was more shocked by the dogs than the murder victims: I'm guessing that you get over the shock of seeing dead people when it's a part of your job. If not, being a coroner would be the worst job ever.

MelChi profile image

MelChi 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

Anything with Kevin Bacon in it is good in my eyes. Especially when he plays the bad guy. I saw the clip for this show on TV yesterday, and can't wait to watch it - even more so after reading your review. :)

Robin Oatley profile image

Robin Oatley 4 years ago Author

Well if you like Kevin Bacon then you're in for a treat! Also, even though he is technically the good guy, he plays one of those 'good guy but actually still kind of a bad guy' types, so you won't be disappointed there either.

NickysMom2003 profile image

NickysMom2003 4 years ago

I have to say I think I'm done with this show. I know it's "only a show" but using the boy (when I myself have a 9 year old son) to torture and kill animals in an attempt to "train him" to be a killer really pushed me over the edge. I think I'll stick with zombies and Russian spies, and leave this show to someone else. :/

Robin Oatley profile image

Robin Oatley 4 years ago Author

Well this entire show is weird and twisted and I'm constantly thinking 'Why am I watching this?', but somehow it's that twisted aspect that keeps me interested.

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