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TV Series Review

Dr. Ellen Sanders is in the business of saving people, not killing them. But would she kill to save her family?

That's the central question in CBS' Hostages, a drama filled with dark secrets and nefarious political agents and enough plot twists to warrant a comparison to Fox's notorious roller-coaster series 24.

Here's the initial setup: Ellen, a respected surgeon in Washington, D.C., and her family have been taken hostage by rogue FBI agent Duncan Carlisle and his crack team of accomplices. He tells her she either has to kill the president of the United States (whom she's scheduled to operate on in a matter of days) or watch her husband and two teen children die.

It's an impossible choice, of course, which is exactly the point for Hostages as it teases and chases the moral quandary. An example comes up when Ellen finds herself sympathizing with Duncan's plight and his purpose. The president, she tells hubby Brian, is a horrible human being. "That doesn't mean that it's OK to kill him," Brian reminds her. "And Duncan's wife being sick doesn't entitle him to commit murder. Life isn't fair, OK? Good people die. Bad people live. … That's just the way it is."

But before we can think about that too much, we're off to watch Duncan's team kill another group of assassins, or a half-clothed governmental attaché climb into bed with an NSA agent.

And so we're left not with a high-brow examination of situation ethics, but rather with a TV-typical mess of bloody shootouts, gangbuster special ops and moaning hookups.

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Hostages: 12-9-2013



Readability Age Range



Toni Collette as Dr. Ellen Sanders; Dylan McDermott as Duncan Carlisle; Tate Donovan as Brian Sanders; Quinn Shephard as Morgan Sanders; Mateus Ward as Jake Sanders; Rhys Coiro as Kramer Daly; Sandrine Holt as Sandrine Renault,; Billy Brown as Archer Petit; Brian White as Col. Thomas Blair; Jim True-Frost as Logan; Larry Pine as Burton Delany; James Naughton as President Paul Kincaid






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Paul Asay

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