Co-created by Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files, The Man in the High Castle) and David Vainola, Ransom — debuting Sunday night before moving to its regular Saturday (!) timeslot — is CBS’s new take on the inherently tense job of hostage negotiations. The hostage negotiator in this case is the classically handsome and trustworthy Eric Beaumont (Black Sails’ Luke Roberts) and his team from the slick Crisis Resolution—who appear to have very nicely monetized the hostage business. Because he works outside of the law, Eric is able to get away with questionable tactics, which could alienate audiences who aren’t able to suspend disbelief so easily.
Most likely because hostage negotiations already have built-in drama, the show does a commendable job creating tension, although creating memorable and impactful hostage situations each week with characters we actually care about could prove difficult over time. Roberts stands out as Beaumont, who must convince both terrified parents and hostage-takers to trust him—a delicate line to walk that Roberts manages to make believable. Throughout the premiere episode it’s easy to see why anyone would trust Eric with a loved one’s life.