SPOILERS. New for 2013, a prime time crime drama starring Kevin Bacon as former FBI agent Ryan Hardy tracking the exploits of charismatic pyscho killer Joe Caroll's cult followers. Some years ago Hardy pursued and caught the killer, a university professor of literature. His beautiful wife Claire Matthews was also a professor. It was Claire who suggested to Agent Hardy that the killings bore resemblance to scenes from Edgar Allan Poe stories. Caroll, played by James Purefoy, is a devotee of Poe, but when his own novel flopped, the setback inspired him to start killing people. But Hardy eventually got him, and Caroll was tried and sentenced to life in prison for the murders of fourteen women. Hardy writes a book about Caroll and has an affair with Claire. All's well that ends well.
For reasons unknown Caroll was allowed plenty of freedom in prison. He had several visitors and access to the Internet. Under the noses of everyone, the charismatic psycho developed a cult following including a prison guard who orchestrated his escape, the nanny employed by Claire to look after their 8-year old son, and the gay couple who are Claire's next-door neighbors. Hardy has long since left the FBI and started drinking heavily, we don't really know why. Now Caroll has escaped and Hardy is the only one who can catch him.
By the end of episode 1, Hardy has already caught the killer. Caroll is back in a cell, in isolation we hope. But we've got new trouble, because the gay couple and the nanny have kidnapped Joey, and the prison guard is still out there. The real problem is these and other as yet unknown followers à la Manson Family. They adore Caroll and deify Poe. They commit violent acts to glorify him. Caroll and his followers seem to have a plan, they are writing a sequel, ambiguously to either Hardy's book or Caroll's, whichever theory fits the scene.
It's meat and potatoes television, or rather leftover meatloaf of incestuous plot twists. The cast make a solid cohesive performance. Bacon delivers, although his role and the story will not hold up under scrutiny: What's so special about Hardy? Wasn't it Claire who found the common thread in the original killings? And after Caroll's been caught the second time, Hardy's job is done, so what's the point in having him around? Especially since the FBI have brought in their own expert on cults in episode 2. Of course, there wouldn't be a show without Bacon. It's a vehicle to put him on camera doing stuff, kicking down doors, kissing a woman, grappling with knife-wielding psychos.