Candid Cinema

‘Class of ’09’ Review

By: Amanda Guarragi

It’s hard to honour a system that believes in justice and truth when it’s corrupt from the inside out. When police officers or FBI agents go to the academy eager to learn about the system and how to keep civilians safe, they don’t realize that it comes with a persona to keep the secrets of the badge. The FBI agents in the Class of ’09 joined the academy for different reasons. As the system breaks them down, they end up completely different in the future. Series creator Tom Rob Smith makes some unique choices with the story structure throughout the episodes to show the full scope of how the FBI changed over the years. It shows the characters’ past, present and future, which explores how they’ve adapted to the agency. 

The series begins in the future and sets the futuristic atmosphere to show where these characters will eventually end up. The world has greatly changed, and Artificial Intelligence has become part of national security. Tayo Michaels (Brian Tyree Henry), who used to be an insurance broker becomes the head of the FBI and believes that AI will improve the safety of everyone. On the other hand, Poet (Kate Mara) was a nurse and worked her way into the FBI through the back door. Poet understands the corrupt side of certain organized pockets within the city. That is what makes this dynamic interesting as the story unfolds. The class of ’09 is reunited when a mutual friend of theirs passes away.

Even though the series is interesting because it explores the corruption of Poet and the FBI in its entirety, the constant shift in time with flashbacks and flash-forwards is confusing. The present and future periods continue to tell the story to show the differences between Poet and Tayo. However, Poet’s backstory is overstuffed with the dirty decisions she made between jobs. She does develop a friendship with Tayo, which is probably the most conflicting aspect of the future storyline. The concept is unique and worth the watch. But it’s the way that it is executed that could be hard to grasp at times. Tyree Henry and Mara are incredibly strong in this, but it does take some time to find its footing.

Class of ’09 has a strong concept, but it’s the execution that confuses the story. Both Poet and Tayo go down different paths because they are both tested differently by the academy. Tyree Henry brings such a grounded presence to this series, and his character feels genuine. Mara brings a dark edge to Poet, and her character struggles to find the good in what she has been doing all these years. As the story unfolds, these characters face moral dilemmas that challenge them and their future. The loss of one person can cause a ripple effect in the decisions made by one man who holds the power to strengthen national security through a higher form of technology. 

The series premieres on Disney+ in Canada on May 10, 2023


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