How BLINDSPOT got on the air
by Ken Levine
I have obtained the transcription from the NBC pitch meeting for BLINDSPOT:
WRITER/CREATOR: We got this totally cool idea. It’s like a mix between the Bourne movies, PRISON BREAK, MEMENTO, the old game show CAMOUFLAGE, and what shows do you like?
W/C: It’s also like BLACKLIST.
NBC: We’ve been looking for another BLACKLIST. And another HEROES.
W/C: Ours is that too.
NBC: That’s okay. We’re remaking HEROES.
W/C: Well, if you ever want to remake THE BIONIC WOMAN ours is also like that show.
NBC: THE BIONIC WOMAN was a bomb.
W/C: Wait. I forgot. We took out THE BIONIC WOMAN elements.
NBC: So what’s the series?
W/C: Well, we don’t actually have a concept yet – what’s it about, what happens every week, who all the characters are – we still need to tackle those details.
NBC: So what are you bringing us?
W/C: An opening scene.
NBC: An opening scene? That’s it?
W/C: Yep. Something with sizzle that you can promote all summer. Who cares if it has legs?
NBC: Well, like I said, we’re looking for another BLACKLIST. And that’s BLACKLIST. We’re sort of hoping they’ll figure something out this season. What’s your first scene?
W/C: We’re in Times Square. It’s night. Crowded. And someone discovers a duffel bag. Just sitting in the street. And it has a tag that says CALL THE FBI.
NBC: Wouldn’t they call the FBI anyway?
W/C: You know that. And I know that. But NBC’s audience doesn’t know that.
NBC: You think they’re that dense?
NBC: Good point. Go on.
W/C: So what’s in the bag? A bomb? Dirty laundry? No. It’s a hot girl.
NBC: Wouldn’t she suffocate in the bag?
W/C: What? There are air holes.
NBC: But then couldn’t someone see what was inside?
W/C: Small holes. Tiny holes.
NBC: Who is she?
W/C: We don’t know.
NBC: I assume the audience doesn’t know but who is she?
W/C: We don’t know either.
NBC: Who put her in there?
W/C: No idea.
NBC: And why?
W/C: Couldn’t tell you.
NBC: Gee, you’ve really thought this thing through.
W/C: Easy fixes. But wait – she is covered in tattoos.
NBC: Oh, so we could do product placement. I’m starting to like this.
W/C: No. They’re all clues.
NBC: To what?
W/C: We still have to figure that out.
NBC: So then what happens?
W/C: The girl comes out of the bag.
W/C: She upzips the bag and slithers out.
NBC: What duffel bag upzips from the inside? Why would they ever make that?
W/C: Uh… it’s a custom bag. They want her to open it.
NBC: Who does?
W/C: We don’t know.
NBC: Can she even see the zipper if it’s on the inside?
W/C: Yes. There’s a tiny light. So she comes out of the bag. And on her back is the name of an FBI agent. So they bring him in on the case. We do a scene where he’s breaking up a hostage situation in Kentucky and a helicopter arrives to take him to Manhattan.
NBC: Why do you need a helicopter? Can’t they just call him?
W/C: We don’t know.
NBC: And they’re calling him to do what?
W/C: Again, don’t know.
NBC: So who is this FBI agent?
W/C: Sorry, can’t help you.
NBC: Could he be like RAY DONOVAN? We’re also looking to do something like that.
W/C: Yes. Exactly. How about this for a character profile? A knock off Liev Schreiber.
NBC: Okay. I totally see that character. Brooding. Charmless. But I’m still hazy on the girl.
W/C: So is she. She has no memory.
NBC: How’d that happen? And please, don’t say you don’t know. Just make something up if you have to.
W/C: She was given this drug that wipes out your past memory.
NBC: Does such a drug exist?
NBC: Okay. She has no memory. Then how does she function?
W/C: Oh, she can speak foreign languages and is an expert in martial arts.
W/C: This drug is selective based on what we need for future episodes.
NBC: Which you haven’t thought of yet.
NBC: So what happens in the pilot after that first scene? What’s the plot?
W/C: We could go procedural, we could go action-adventure, espionage, the door is even open to sci-fi if you like.
NBC: I have to tell you – this is a mess. What you have here is the first scene of a movie, maybe. But a long-running television show? It’s downright insulting that you seriously think we would buy something so half-baked.
W/C: Wait. One more thing: the girl is naked.
W/C: She’s incredibly hot. Someone like Jaimie Alexander. And when she comes out of the bag she’s completely naked.
NBC: So you think we’d spend five million dollars on a pilot just because there’s one nude scene?
W/C: No. Don’t be ridiculous. There are several nude scenes. When she’s alone in her room she stares at herself in the mirror, naked. She goes into a fetal position, naked. When they photograph her, she’s naked. And then we have all these photos the FBI will post – of her naked.
NBC: Forget the pilot. Go right to series.