Noah Centineo’s CIA attorney fakes it ’til he makes it in spy thriller Send-up The Recruit

In the new Netflix spy series the recruit, Noah Centineo plays Owen Hendricks, a fresh-faced attorney struggling to adjust to his new job at the CIA. As he quickly finds out, this isn’t the desk job he thought it would be for.

“He didn’t want to put himself in danger,” Centineo told Rotten Tomatoes. “So he thought it would be a good way to join the CIA as an attorney and not an agent, which turned out to be a mistake.”

Error is an understatement. The eight-episode series follows Hendricks in his first week on the job when he becomes embroiled in a government conspiracy involving a former agent named Max Meladze (Laura Haddock), sending him around the world in search of answers. Along the way, he evades everything from shady henchmen to high-profile European assassins. This is probably not the on-the-job training he expected.


(Photo by Netflix)

Vondie Curtis-Hall, Fivel Stewart, Daniel Quincy Annoh, Kristian Bruun, Colton Dunn and Aarti Mann star alongside Centineo and Haddock in what could technically be called a spy thriller, but as show creator Alexi Hawley pointed out: the recruit takes the genre and turns it on its head. The show not only focuses on Owen in all his cocky, young lawyer swagger as he struggles to succeed in the field, but also digs into the story’s day-to-day workplace details.

“Every bureaucracy, every institution has something absurd about it, and I tried to channel that somehow catch 22, dr Strangelove elements,” Hawley said. “On the operations side, they do a lot of highly dangerous, highly technical, really sophisticated things… but it’s still a workplace. It has lawyers and it has human resources and it has all the stuff that every other institution has and this normality in a world of secrets is absurd.”

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Operating in a world full of mysteries when you haven’t quite figured out how to fit into that world is a complicated way to live, and it’s the driving character dynamic that really lights up the recruit.


(Photo by Netflix)

“Coming in through the General Counsel’s Office through an attorney who just graduated from law school and doesn’t even know who he is because he was a kid yesterday…we actually thought that was a really interesting way to bring someone into a world.” that audiences know so well,” added Hawley.

Which brings us to the decision to cast Centineo in the lead role. Until recently, the audience mostly recognized the actor as a heartthrob Sierra Burgess is a loser, The perfect dateand of course as romantic love interest Peter in Netflix To all boys I have loved before film and its two sequels. Between his role as a reluctant hero here and his recent appearance on DC’s Black Adamwhere he played Atom Smasher opposite Dwayne Johnson, it looks like Centineo is breaking new ground as an actor.

“He just has such an exuberance and charm that is inherent in this character,” Hawley said. “His character on the show is complicated. He is sometimes selfish and sometimes self-destructive. So when audiences fall in love with this character right away, it helps them be a little complicit in the journey he’s taking.

“He’s not an anti-hero in any way, I think the anti-hero thing is a little over the top at this point,” Hawley continued. “But finding someone larger than life but also flawed is … finding an actor who can pull off all the different nuances and tones that we use on the show, whether it’s the humor or the stakes are the emotions.” – it was a pleasure to watch him bring every single nuance that was swirling in my head as I wrote it so naturally of him to the canvas.”

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(Photo by Netflix)

On the surface, Owen Hendricks is a confident young man who aspires to be the best in his new job. However, some of his choices point to a deeper grief over the loss of his father and separation from his mother, which keeps pushing him headlong into ever more dangerous scenarios.

“I think he just always tried to fake it until he made it,” Centineo said, “to make sure everything was okay, to bury all his emotions and push everything aside.”

Why deal with your own emotional baggage when you can pack up and travel the world to solve a conspiracy that could pose a major threat to national security at home and abroad? It’s definitely a choice.


(Photo by Netflix)

And if it hadn’t been for an annoying little mail, Owen could have settled into a boring little existence with the CIA.

“Graymail is a form of national security blackmail,” Hawley explained. “It’s really compelling: The agency gets hundreds of people every year to come forward and say, ‘I know stuff, and you’ll get in trouble if you don’t do something for me.’ Most of them are crazy, but some of them aren’t.”

The Graymail letter connects Haddock’s character to Owen and launches this crazy journey to begin with.

“It’s everything,” said Haddock. “That’s why these two ended up meeting and doing what they do, which is try to exonerate Max from a crime she committed. If that letter hadn’t reached Owen then the recruit wouldn’t exist.”

The Recruit: Season 1
(2022)
now streaming on Netflix

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