Ethan Hawke has gotten used to playing figures of law enforcement, but he’s never done it on television. In fact, he’s never done anything on television apart from a brief stint on ABC’s Alias. He won’t have to stray very far from his comfort zone if he chooses to accept this new mission: 20th Century Fox TV’s Exit Strategy. The program from Kurtzman and Orci Paper Products (responsible for Fringe and Hawaii 5-0) has a put pilot commitment from the network and could very well go to pilot now that a “name” is attached.
Exit Strategy centers on a team of 5 experts associated with the CIA who are deployed when an agency operation goes awry. They must extract the agents involved before it’s too late. Hawke would play the team leader, the architect of exit strategy who also “empathizes with the people they extract and would almost rather die than let them get hurt,” says Deadline. David Guggenheim (upcoming Safe House) wrote the pilot and would executive produce with Kurtzman/Orci.
The network seems to think that this is the show that will fill the void left by 24 as it focuses on similar themes, contains high octane action and will see events unfold in real time (where there’s never a moment for a bathroom break). Further similarities include the fact that a one-time major motion picture star will topline the series and serve as executive producer, but in my opinion Hawke is no Kiefer Sutherland in terms of kicking ass. I’ve enjoyed his work more in dramas like Great Expectations, Before Sunrise and Gattaca and all of those projects had wonderful filmmakers behind them to guide his performance. Perhaps with the right director Hawke can shine in Exit Strategy – which happens to be attracting numerous A-list helmsmen – because his work as of late has felt a bit stale.