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The Televisionist, July 29 

RUBICON

AMC

Sundays at 7 p.m.

While AMC used to be known mostly for dusting off movies that anyone under 70 years old hadn't seen in decades, the network's created quite a name for itself in recent years with groundbreaking, wholly unique original dramas. Its success with good-guy-goes-criminal show "Breaking Bad" and '60s ad man porn "Mad Men" has been phenomenal. Week to week, they're the best shows on television. Now AMC is hoping to add a third to that success story with its new conspiracies-and-codes show, "Rubicon."

From what I've seen in the pilot, it's not a straight-up slam dunk like "Breaking Bad," but it definitely has potential.

James Badge Dale stars as Will Travers, a brilliant cryptologist who works for a shadowy company called API. Clearly some clandestine (though geeky) arm of the government, API is apparently in the business of cracking ciphers — though it's all a little cloudy in the first episode. Soon after Travers' boss dies in a mysterious train accident, he discovers a series of cryptic clues hidden in the crossword puzzles of major American newspapers. Though we aren't sure what they mean for now, they point to something dark and sinister, maybe even a shadow government that secretly runs the United States.

In our conspiracy-prone times, "Rubicon" is sure to grab the imagination. While not a whole lot happens in the pilot, there's a delicious, Hitchcockian tension to it all as the creators sketch the lines of what will undoubtedly turn out to be a world full of dark doings. I'm not sold yet, but I've come to trust the creative judgment of AMC, and have a feeling that "Rubicon" will be one to watch.

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