THE GRID. “Hour One/Hour Two.” TNT, US, 19 July 2004 as the first two episodes of a six-part mini-series. First shown on BBC Two, UK, 2004. Dylan McDermott, Julianna Margulies, Bernard Hill, Jemma Redgrave, James Remar, Piter Marek, Silas Carson, Olek Krupa, Barna Moricz, Emil Marwa, Robert Forster, Tom Skerritt. Director: Mikael Salomon.

   A failed poison Sarin attack in London post 9/11 leads to the creation of a international counter-terrorism team in the US led by Maren Jackson (Julianna Margulies) of the National Security Council. Others are members of the FBI (Dylan McDermott) and the CIA (Piter Marek). Characters on the British end of things are played by Bernard Hill (MI5) and Jemma Redgrave (MI6).

   In spite of the stated spirit of cooperation between the various agency involved, not-so-hidden rivalries between agencies break out almost immediately, not to mention the squabbles between MI5 and MI6 in the UK, the latter which also resents the US team’s “know it all” involvement, which by the end of episode two has proven quite wrong.

   They must have spent a lot of money putting this mini-series together. It shows, but the dazzling switches from scene to scene and country to country is just that, dazzling, and there are a lot of characters to keep straight at the same time. By the end of Hour Two, I think I was doing well, but I had better keep watching, or I am afraid all I have put together so far will be lost.

   But I say with an ulterior motive: as a bit of persuasion to make sure I do so. The story, while very dramatically done, does not seem to break any ground that hasn’t been plowed over many times before, and I am not talking about the threat of Islamic terrorism in specifics, but anti-espionage efforts in general.

   The inclusion of intimate details in terms of personal backgrounds and animosities as well as inter-agency squabbling falls into the same category. It’s nice on the eyes so far, but while I’m sure I will continue, there’s no sense of urgency about it either, which is too bad on many levels, including the amount of time and energy that was put into this.