Picks and Pans Review: The Agency

updated 05/05/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/05/2003 01:00AM

CBS (Saturdays, 10 p.m. ET)

Plausibility isn't the highest priority of this second-year drama about the CIA. I'm still amazed that the agency's director (Beau Bridges) and two key aides (Will Patton and Rocky Carroll) survived a car bombing in the Middle East. I can't believe that two indispensable agents (Jason O'Mara and Paige Turco) seem to be assigned to every case.

Still, The Agency deserves credit for consistently delivering twisty plots and real suspense. In the April 26 episode it's spy versus spy when the CIA contends with ex-agents involved in an American tycoon's plan to kill members of the Saudi royal family. On May 3 O'Mara is ordered to kill a Russian émigré scientist suspected of aiding terrorists, but doubt grows as to the man's guilt. I don't get why Patton has to talk even more softly than whispery Daniel Benzali, who plays an agency hard-liner whose every word sounds sinister. But I listen closely for fear of missing something.

BOTTOM LINE: Good spy games

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