CBS's Intelligence

Why Josh Holloway's character in CBS's Intelligence is the anti-Terminator

Contributed by
Jan 7, 2014, 2:51 PM EST

CBS is about to launch its new spy-fi series, Intelligence, tonight, and the good news is it's actually sci-fi, and not just a little five-minutes-in-the-future sci-fi like Person of Interest. However, when it comes to Intelligence, think more The Six Million Dollar Man than The Terminator, said executive producer Tripp Vinson in an exclusive interview with Blastr.

“The show's got its roots in the spy show or in a show like The Six Million Dollar Man,” said Vinson. “We're going to explore what makes us human. We're going to explore what our relationship with technology is like now, and how it's changing and evolving. Also, what are the dangers of technology? I think that plays a big part into the type of cases that Cybercom takes on. They're usually based in some kind of technological threat.”

Intelligence follows Gabriel Vaughn (Lost's Josh Holloway), a spy who has been implanted with a super computer chip in his brain, which allows him to access everything from the global information grid to satellites and virtually any database. Cybercom is the government-run team dedicated to keeping the U.S. and its interests safe; it handles his missions and the issues that pop up when it comes to having a spy with a computer in his head. The team includes Director Lillian Strand (Marg Helgenberger); his Secret Service protector, Riley Neal (Once Upon a Time's Meghan Ory); and the brilliant mind behind the chip, Dr. Shenendoah Cassidy (Star Trek: Enterprise's John Billingsley).

While the series will have a procedural case of the week most of the time, there's also “a serialized element to the story that comes to fruition by the end of the last two episodes,” said Vinson.

The chip in Gabriel's head “does affect him in the way he looks at the world, the way he interacts with people, because he has the ability, of course, to know quite a bit about you before you even say a word. So that colors the way he starts to view himself in the world,” he said.

“It's different than some of the other things that are on television because of the approach we took, which was to really focus on the humanity of the character and lean into that side of him rather than become too obsessed with him being a robot or a cyborg or anything along those lines. We are constantly trying to find ways to humanize this character as much as possible and make him feel like one of us, or at least somebody that we'd want to go see every week in the series. I think that approach is a bit different than what I've seen done before. Even in the movies, if you look at a character like the Terminator, that's the exact opposite of what we're doing,” said Vinson.

“We did quite a bit of research into this area. Just look at the technology that exists today with Google Glass or an iPhone. It actually comes from the opposite way. It's how we, as humans, use technology. That's how it really works in the real world ... There is a professor whose work we looked at. His name is Professor Kevin Warwick. He's done a lot of experiments with hooking up the human body directly to computers and to the Internet. That technology and that research was a big influence on us thinking about the future, what may be possible,” he said.

“Also interesting to explore in a show like this is how does our morality keep up with the changing of technology? That's something humanity has struggled with over the years. [What] does that mean to us morally?” asked Vinson. “As new technologies are developed, different moral questions arise,” said Vinson.

Intelligence premieres on CBS tonight at 9 p.m., and then next week the series will move to its regular timeslot on Mondays at 10 p.m. ET.

Here's a look:

Does Josh Holloway have what it takes to be the next Six Million Dollar Man ... or maybe the next Several Billion Dollar Man?