ABC’s ‘Whiskey Cavalier’ puts humorous twists on the spy game

Scott Foley and Lauren Cohan add amusement to action

“Whiskey Cavalier” premieres Wednesday on ABC.

If you think there’s no crying in spying, meet “Whiskey Cavalier.”

That’s both a secret agent’s code name and the title of a new action-with-humor series that ABC previews after the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 24, before the series premieres in its regular slot Wednesday, Feb. 27. “Scandal” alum Scott Foley returns to the network as said spy: FBI man Will, who’s openly nursing a broken heart from a recently ended relationship while alternately working and colliding with CIA operative Frankie (Lauren Cohan, “The Walking Dead”) across Europe.

Fast-moving stunts are embedded into “Whiskey Cavalier,” on which Foley also is a producer. However, he maintains its more amusing content is “the most important thing for me when doing the show. I wasn’t interested in just doing an action show or a drama. I wanted to do a show that reminded me of the shows that I grew up watching … ‘Remington Steele,’ ‘Moonlighting,’ ‘Hart to Hart,’ ‘Simon & Simon.’ I miss those light one-hour shows, and I wouldn’t be interested in doing this if the comedy wasn’t there.”

For her part, Cohan appreciates having a break from fighting television zombies. “The fun part,” she says of her new alter ego, “is that she’s consistently unwilling to admit that she does begin to trust (Will), and that upends everything that she is built on, this emotional independence. But it’s undeniable they work together well as a team, so at least as this first season progresses, Frankie does acquiesce to that truth. And then we see if they can actually be friends.”

Scott Foley and Lauren Cohan star in “Whiskey Cavalier,” premiering Wednesday on ABC.

“Whiskey Cavalier” has its basis in a true story, when creator and executive producer David Hemingson (“The Catch”) received a 2 a.m. phone call from an FBI-agent friend who had just stopped terrorists in Saudi Arabia.

“He’s off saving the world, and he’s calling me about his breakup with his girlfriend,” recalls Hemingson. “And I started thinking to myself, ‘This guy is the first guy through the door, gun out and up. He is an American hero.’ And at the end of the day, what he wants is what we all want — which is love, which is connection.”

Thus was born “Whiskey Cavalier,” which uses actual locations throughout Europe, though it’s being filmed principally in Prague. Fellow executive producer Bill Lawrence (“Cougar Town,” “Scrubs”) notes that one episode is filmed largely on “the ski slopes in Austria. We shot on speedboats down the River Thames. Even though it’s a cliche that the location is a character, I think we are shooting for a good-time popcorn ride (where) people can’t believe that we’re actually doing this stuff and doing it in these places. You’ll see it in every episode.”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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