Rubicon: Not Every Conspiracy is a Theory

In 1984 tv channel AMC (American Movie Classics debuted as a premium cable channel showing classic films. In 1987 it started to become available with basic cable packages. While AMC’s main focus was classic movies in 1996 they aired their first original tv series Remember Wenn. In 2002 AMC switched their focus from focusing on classic films to showing films from all eras.  While AMC still primarily shows movies over the past few years they have started airing original television shows. In 2007 they premiered Mad Men which has won 9 Emmys and 4 Golden Globes to date, in 2008 they premiered Breaking Bad which has won 4 Emmys.

AMC’s latest program Rubicon debuted in early August 2010, after a sneak preview of the first episode in July which was also available on OnDemand.  It airs weekly at 9pm Eastern time Sunday nights. After watching the first three episodes of this new series I have a feeling that AMC can look forward to even more Emmys in the future.  The series centers around an intelligence analyst  at a national think tank who discovers that he may be working with members of a secret society that manipulates world events on a grand scale. With the series being based around a think tank it does a great job of involving the viewer in the plot and making you think.  Unlike most shows that leave you wondering what might happen next, Rubicon encourages you to kind of play along and try and crack the codes.  On their websites they have posted a crossword puzzle that is an important part of the first season of the show. They also have community chats where viewers can post their guesses on some of the puzzles in the show with chances to win prizes.

The show centers around Will Travers who is played by James Badge Dale, his previous work includes HBO’s The Pacific, and he was featured in season 3 of Fox’s 24.  In the premiere all is not what it seems when will finds a coincidence amongst crossword puzzles in several different newspapers worldwide. While this is originally explained away as a coincidence, he soon realizes it is anything but that.  Soon after his boss/mentor/father-in-law/friend  Davis dies in a train crash that is presumed an accident, but WIll starts to think otherwise. Will is promoted to fill in the vacant spot and things really start to heat up. With only 3 episodes aired the mysteries seem to slowly be unfolding, but new ones are added each episode.

Supporting cast includes Miranda Richardson who plays Katherine Rhumor the wife of a man who commits suicide in the opening scene of the premiere.  After her husband’s Tom’s death Katherine starts to find out more and more about her husband that she didn’t know.  Katherine and Will’s storylines unfold separately, but we can assume that they will eventually intertwine as we can wildly guess the Tom’s suicide and the death/possible murder of David are related.

Arliss Howard plays Kale Ingram who is one of Will’s superiors and seems to have secrets of his own, and seems to be an important part of the mystery of the cross word puzzle, even to the point of having people spy on Will to see if he’s still investigating it. Other members of think tank are played by Dallas Roberts, Jessica Collins, and Christopher Evan Welch.

The cast of the show work great together and the acting comes across smoothly instead of seeming overly rehearsed. The show also plays like a good mystery movie that takes multiple viewings to catch all the little things.  You never know when something that seems like a minor detail turns out to be of major importance later on. The series tag-line “Not Every Conspiracy is a Theory” is enough to keep you thinking on every detail not knowing if some minor detail like a picture out of place is an accident by the prop crew or something of importance later on and 9 times out of 10 it’s the later.

As mentioned previously Rubicon is in good company on AMC with  award winning programs like Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Rubicon is AMC’s fifth original series and of the previous four The Lot was the only one not to win any awards. If Rubicon continues down its current path I believe it will definitely be joining Mad Men and Breaking Bad at the award ceremonies next year. Will Travers may not be the suave Don Draper character, but his own brand of paranoia makes him an endearing character that I look forward to spending my Sunday nights wondering what will happen to him next.

For  more information on Rubicon check out

Jason Patterson

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