The other night, my wife and I had the comical misfortunate to watch episode S01E11 of FBI International.
The show’s basic premise – that every country around the is begging for the American FBI to help them fight crime – is so ludicrously jingoistic that it almost feels like a lost script from the 1950s or something.
Episode 11 was set in Tiraspol, the capital of evil Transnistria, so, of course, we had to watch it.
The entire episode was riddled with laughable inaccuracies, but what really surprised me was that someone in their set department went to a hell of a lot of (unnecessary) effort to provide a good simulacrum in some scenes.
For instance, the police uniforms worn by the (super corrupt, and dumb, of course) Tiraspol cops actually looked fairly authentic. Furthermore, some of the interior shots were in very authentic-looking Soviet-style buildings, including a few cases where signs were written in Russian.
The exterior shots of “Tiraspol” were all filmed in Budapest (Hungary), so I had quite a chuckle about whoever the poor guys were that had to run around and hang “Transnistrian” flags on real buildings used for the backdrop of some scenes. The ones at the “school” scene were really huge flags.
However, the writing was far lazier. Literally, all the cops in Tiraspol are involved in a sex trafficking ring that ships girls (directly, somehow) to New York City. And once the girls are in NYC, other evil Transnistrians pimp them out. Luckily, the FBI arrests everyone with ease.
The only good guy in Tiraspol is a cop with a Romanian name (Lieutenant Rusu) who helps the FBI International team “solve the case.” In one of the last scenes, this exchange takes place:
Lt. Rusu: Oh my gosh, FBI International, you are the best. I wish you could set up a permanent office here in Tiraspol and help us full time.
FBI guy: Wish we could, bud! After all, it would remove all corruption from your country, and your people would finally be free instead of living in this authoritarian shithole.
Lt. Rusu: Is it because we’re unrecognized? Gosh darn it!
FBI: Yes, it’s because you’re unrecognized, you naughty breakaway republic! But if you keep up the good work, maybe we can convince the American government to recognize you one day. Then we can come save you.
Lt. Rusu: Okay, bye *super sad face*
Even setting aside all the idiocy concerning PMR itself, the show really has a hard time telling a coherent story.
For instance, the episode starts with a fat, extremely drunk American cop starting a fight in a bar in Tiraspol and then getting his ass (righteusly) kicked, landing him in the hospital.
The FBI swoops in because this guy is somehow a kind of “federal agent” doing some important work on stopping criminals in Tiraspol from buying heroin directly from the Taliban(!) even though he’s actually an incompetent NYPD cop.
In fact, we soon learn that his wife and unborn kid were killed on September 11, 2001, and that he’s been a drunken loser every since. But everyone feels sorry for him because he lost his kids on NINE FUCKING ELEVEN so they gave him the useless job of “monitoring the heroin” in Tiraspol.
And then even he admits that “my work only takes about an hour or two per day,” and the rest of the time, he gets drunk.
Seriously, this is the plot.
So, not only is he a fat, drunk loser, but we then learn that he’s really, really fixated on prostitutes. He starts thinking it’s his life’s mission to “save” them, except that a lot of the “saving” involves giving them money and gifts.
The FBI, upon learning about this precious jewel of a crimefighter getting his ass kicked in scary Transnistria, swoop into town on their special plane that lands at the Tiraspol Airport (airport code: LMFAO).
Before assembling their team, one character says, “I should go because I speak a little Russian.” Sounds logical, except that it turns out that everyone in Tiraspol, including the cops, all speak English :)
Even more hilariously, the FBI quickly finds out that the NYPD guy is a drunk loser. But it “just so happens” that they unravel a (real) sex trafficking network along the way, so they forget about the NYPD guy.
Indeed, near the end, the FBI also discovers that the “poor girl being sold into prostitution” that the NYPD loser was paying was just feeding him sad stories in order to get his money, and that “other girls did it” before as well.
And what does the FBI do with this information? They literally agree amongst themselves to never tell NYPD loser boy that he had been tricked because he lost his wife and kids on NINE ELEVEN.
Literally, they go to visit NYPD boy in the hospital, and he anxiously asks the FBI, “Is Prostitute Girl safe?” and they say, “Yeah, yeah, she’s fine. You’re a hero, bro!” and his face lights up with glee.
That’s the level of writing on FBI International.
An additional extra “fact” that I learned is that Germany has a super modern and advanced military bunker hidden somewhere underground in “Transnistria” for spying on the country. And the Germans are very casual about letting FBI agents wander around it.
Anyway, that was my review of FBI International’s eleventh episode of season one. The pile of garbage is definitely not worth watching, even setting aside all of the glaring factual inaccuracies in a show supposedly dedicated to being “international” in scope, with most filming actually being done in Europe.
But my sincere congratulations to whoever designed those police uniforms and to the folks who had to go around downtown Budapest, hanging up giant PMR flags for the shoot.