If you really pay attention to the many Cavalier previews, you’ll learn the action dramedy's cast is led by two very different American spies — Foley’s Will Chase and Walking Dead star Lauren Cohan’s Frankie Trowbridge — who are forced to work together on a joint task force. FBI agent Will is the touchy-feely oil to CIA operative Frankie’s no-nonsense vinegar.
Besides that basic premise, prospective viewers are left with a lot of questions ahead of the premiere. Like, what on earth Whiskey Cavalier’s name even means, or why Frankie and Will have to work together in the first place. Keep reading for answers to those questions, along with many Cavalier more.
Seriously, why is Whiskey Cavalier called Whiskey Cavalier?
Great question, because that is a massive hole in Whiskey Cavalier’s huge marketing push. The answer is really simple: Scandal dreamboat Scott Foley’s character is named Will Chase. He is a star FBI agent and leather jacket-wearer. Whiskey Cavalier’s Will Chase is not to be confused with real-life actor Will Chase, who is currently moping through Good Trouble.
This Will Chase’s agency code name is “Whiskey Cavalier” — it’s supposed to stand for his initials. Half of this detail makes logical sense, since “Whiskey” is “W” in the military phonetic alphabet. However, “C” in that alphabet is “Charlie.” We guess “Whiskey Charlie” didn’t sound breezy and badass enough for a globe trotting ABC action drama.
So Scott Foley is both Whiskey and Cavalier?
Yes. The entire title of this show is dedicated to Foley’s Will Chase, a man who excels in shooting bad guys but is also a charming romantic who wears his heart on his sleeve. Whiskey Cavalier cannot stop sobbing about his ex-fiancée Gigi (Valerie Huber), who recently called off their engagement.
Well then where does Lauren Cohan fit in this?
While Lauren Cohan appears in every promotional material Whiskey has — and there are legion — she obviously couldn’t make it into the title of her show. For the record, she plays Frankie Trowbridge, a ruthless CIA agent with a tragic past. Frankie, who sets fire to the rules Will loves so very much, enters Whiskey’s life when they’re both chasing the same alleged criminal across Europe.
Does she get a cool nickname?
Yes, it’s “Fiery Tribune.” But that nickname doesn’t get the marquee billing “Whiskey Cavalier” does (honestly, it’s so neglected this writer momentarily forget Frankie even had a code name after viewing the pilot).
What do all of those ads during The Bachelor have to do with Whiskey Cavalier?
Rather than explain the plot, fake ads like the one above, where Frankie stuns Will with the ring he just gave her, set the scene for their tension. Will is a Boy Scout with a badge who loves the rigidity of the FBI, which Cavalier paints as the government’s most buttoned-up intelligence agency. Frankie is a lone wolf and sorta-loose cannon who enjoys the freedom that the spy games-happy CIA offers. When the pair are forced to work together, their differences lead to many zany, espionage-themed hijinks.
Watching Frankie incapacitate her scene partner with a piece of jewelry or seeing the pair get flung 10 yards due to a surprise explosion supposedly tells audiences as much.
Wait, is this is a will-they, won’t-they situation?
Yes, but it looks like the “won’t they” half of the equation is going to reign in the foreseeable future. “Frankie’s desire to keep everything mission-focused is out of sheer terror at true intimacy,” star Lauren Cohen told TV Insider of her character. Considering the secrets we learn about Frankie throughout Cavalier’s first episodes, it’s unlikely she’s going to lose that fear any time soon.
Creator David Hemingson also doesn’t sound like he’s in a hurry to get his main characters in bed together. When Entertainment Weekly asked if Hemingson felt the “pressure” of setting up an immediate will-they or won’t-they predicament, he said, “Not really. Things will evolve and mature the way they have to and the way they should organically … I’m reveling in the complexity and the intrigue of the romantic elements, and I feel like we’ve got a lot to work with and a lot of stuff to play with.”
Right now we should expect to see super emotional Will simply work to get Frankie agree to be his friend, let alone girlfriend.
Is there literally anyone else in this show?
Yes, and that’s where all the people of color come in. Ugly Betty alum Ana Ortiz plays Will’s closest confidant, a Mindhunter-like world-class profiler named Susan Samson. Tyler James Williams, the titular Chris of Everybody Hates Chris and another former Walking Dead performer, is Edgar Standish, a genius NSA specialist who is originally an FBI-CSI target. Superstar Indian comedian Vir Das plays CIA weapons specialist Jai Datta. This trio forms the support team for Will and Frankie’s joint task force.
Oh and there’s also another traditionally handsome tall brunette 40-something-year old man thanks to Cougartown alum Josh Hopkins and his character, Ray Prince, Will’s bro-y best friend. Remember, this is broadcast TV.