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Shows sometimes miss the mark on what will resonate with viewers and what will offend them, and ABC's Quantico recently missed the mark with a lot of the people who tuned in. The June 1 episode of the show revolved around a terrorist plot by an Indian group that intended to attack Manhattan and blame Pakistan for it, all to thwart peace talks. Quantico's star Priyanka Chopra is Indian, and both she and the show have faced social media backlash for the episode. Now, ABC has issued a statement apologizing for how the episode handled its plot of the week, saying this:
ABC Studios and the executive producers of Quantico would like to extend an apology to our audience who were offended by the most recent episode, The Blood of Romeo... [T]he episode has stirred a lot of emotion, much of which is unfairly aimed at Priyanka Chopra, who didn't create the show, nor does she write or direct it. She has no involvement in the casting of the show or the storylines depicted in the series. Quantico is a work of fiction. The show has featured antagonists of many different ethnicities and backgrounds, but in this case we inadvertently and regrettably stepped into a complex political issue. It was certainly not our intention to offend anyone.
Priyanka Chopra has faced her fair share of criticism for the content of "The Blood of Romeo" despite the fact that her role as leading lady doesn't necessarily give her creative control to impact stories the way that writers, producers, and directors can. Her job was to perform the script as written and as directed; as ABC says in its statement (per THR), Chopra is not responsible for any of the plot of "The Blood of Romeo."
In the episode, Priyanka Chopra's character FBI agent Alex Parrish must work to stop the terror plot set to do a lot of damage ahead of a summit between India and Pakistan. Although it first seemed that Pakistani individuals were responsible for the plot in the episode, Alex ultimately discovered a Hindu symbol around the neck of a suspect, which caused her to realize that Indian nationalists were behind the plot. The goal was likely to simply tell a suspenseful tale featuring two real-life countries, but ABC and Quantico treaded on some sensitive ground, and social media did not react well.
It remains to be seen whether or not ABC's apology will ease the minds of fans who were offended by the episode. Quantico was already cancelled and will not return after the end of the current third season, so a potential ratings dive in the aftermath of "The Blood of Romeo" won't actually hurt Quantico's future, unless of course ABC decided to shelve the remaining episodes or move them to a time slot even more unfortunate than Fridays at 8 p.m. ET.
Only time will tell. For now, you can catch new episodes of Quantico on Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Be sure to tune in if you want to see how Alex Parrish's story wraps after the end of the third and final season. Our rundown of TV cancellations can fill you in on other shows that have gotten the axe recently, and our summer TV premiere guide can help you decide what else to watch now and in the not-too-distant future.