Is FBI Already Putting Isobel In An Impossible Situation In Season 5 After Intense Episode?

fbi season 4 alana de la garza isobel
(Image credit: CBS)

Spoilers ahead for Episode 3 of FBI Season 4 on CBS, called “Trauma.”

FBI is getting back to business as usual after the case that spanned continents (and TV shows) that started off the fourth season, but “business as usual” for these agents doesn’t mean any easy time. “Trauma” saw OA forced to bring in an old army buddy who was struggling with civilian life and use their bond to put him out in the field, resulting in that friend killing a man. While that was understandably difficult for OA, the kicker came when Isobel expressed the expectation that they gloss over Chris’ struggles, and it leaves me wondering: is Isobel in an unsustainable situation in Season 4? 

Isobel was the one pushing for OA to push Chris to the breaking point, although OA was pretty much the only one who had Chris’ best interests at heart. And it wasn’t a great look for Isobel, especially since the blowback will presumably fall on Chris and OA rather than Isobel herself, or anybody else. But Isobel didn’t put OA in this position just because she wanted the case closed ASAP, by any means necessary. She was put in the position by Rina, who is her boss but also part of a pretty complicated situation considering her position coupled with her relationship with Jubal.

So Rina’s apparent desire to work well with Isobel, managing a team that she doesn’t know nearly as well as Isobel, comes with a lot of strings attached, and Jubal isn’t necessarily a go-to if Isobel needs to talk out her situation with Rina. When Rina insisted on the “Trauma” case closing as quickly as possible, Isobel didn’t really have a choice. And Isobel didn’t get to where she is in the FBI by sabotaging her coworkers, and she didn’t try to defend her decisions to OA by casting the blame on Rina. 

Plus, Isobel does make her own decisions. She clearly felt bad about what happened with Chris after overruling OA’s emphatic objections, but she stood by it. Whether or not that impacts Isobel’s dynamic with OA moving forward remains to be seen; the New York FBI team excels at putting the cases before any personal feelings, and OA has struggled with reconciling his own beliefs and history with the job before, without any long term fallout. As Alana De La Garza told Give Me My Remote:

That episode is also just a heart wrenching choice that she has to make. But also she has pressure from [her boss], Rina. You will get to see a little more of Rina and the pressure that [Isobel] is put under, because a lot of these decisions, she doesn’t have complete control. And she’s faced with a lot of tough choices as far as trusting OA and trusting his gut, and doing what she knows she has to do in order to protect the many.

The conflict on FBI may be more between Isobel and Rina, if at all. Both women ultimately want to pursue justice and catch the bad guys as quickly as possible; the question may be if they can do so on the same page, considering all the variables. Besides, Rina has her own bosses to answer to. Still, I can’t imagine that their situation is currently sustainable for Isobel. 

And honestly, I’m enjoying the ride of FBI exploring the dynamic between these two women of authority, who aren’t the best of friends or the bitterest of enemies. If the show does intend to continue exploring this with Isobel in a difficult position, I’m all in! See what happens next with new episodes of FBI on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS, starting out a full night of FBI action that is already doing some interesting things in the ratings

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).