Fans have been asking for a crossover between NBC’s freshman dramas Blindspot and The Player since the shows were announced, given that stars Sullivan Stapleton and Philip Winchester just finished working together for four seasons on Cinemax’s Strike Back. The actors are game for it, and the viewers want to see it – but here’s the thing: it’s actually a very good idea.
From a plot standpoint, both Stapleton’s FBI agent Kurt Weller on Blindspot and Winchester’s security expert Alex Kane on The Player are coming from a similar place. Each character has an ongoing problem involving a woman in their life and her connection to a conspiracy. Weller is trying to find the identity of Jane Doe (Jaimie Alexander), while Alex is searching for whoever harmed his ex-wife Ginny Lee (Daisy Betts).
Either one of them could conceivably call in some outside help; in fact, the upcoming third episode of The Player has a subplot in which Alex asks a friend to look into Ginny’s murder, and also establishes that show as being able to move outside of Las Vegas.
Weller and Alex also share a common background. Both have been employed by the FBI; Weller currently is the team leader of the Bureau’s Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG), while Alex was a former FBI agent loaned out for Middle Eastern counter-terrorism operations before he left to become a private security consultant. It would not be implausible at all if the two characters had met when both worked for the same agency.
So now that we know a Blindspot and Player crossover is feasible within the shows, does it make sense for the series themselves? That actually would work, provided that a few factors could be ironed out.
Obviously, both programs air on NBC, which works in any joint effort’s favor. However, that’s not the only behind-the-scenes hurdle; unlike the network’s multiple Law & Order crossovers, which all come out of the same organization, these two shows are produced by different studios – Warner Bros. for Blindspot and Sony for The Player. There would probably have to be some negotiation between those entities first.
The writers would also have to come up with a case of the week that could carry across both series, as well as both New York and Los Angeles. Unlike a standard procedural, it’s not as easy as having a serial killer pop up in two jurisdictions. Both Blindspot and The Player have these ongoing storylines that would have to be worked around.
For example, The Player has established that its game has/had a separate House based in New York, so would Alex as the Player operating out of Las Vegas be able to go into the territory of another House without stepping on someone’s toes? Also, by having a crossover that then creates an implied statement that both shows take place in the same fictional universe, so you’d have to wonder if The House would take an interest in Jane Doe, or if the organization that tattooed Jane knows or should know about the world’s rich and powerful gambling on crime.
Of course, you could just say screw all that and create a stand-alone episode where Alex Kane comes to New York to help his old friend Kurt Weller and the two save the day without dwelling on the bigger picture. And NBC may very well want to do just that. Both Blindspot and The Player being not only new shows, but the two biggest new dramas on the network’s slate, some cross-promotion could only help both shows (which are already marketed during each other anyway).
And the appeal of a team-up between Winchester and Stapleton has already been proven over the last four years. The actors have both said they’d love to work together again, they know how to work together, and they made one of the best duos on television on Strike Back. Unlike most TV crossovers, one featuring them would be betting on an established draw. You couldn’t ask for a better crossover, talent and chemistry-wise, then putting them back on screen together again.
It would be incredibly easy to promote, would have a built-in fan base from Cinemax ready to tune in – and not only that, but their fans have also been proven to be active on social media – and would be bringing together this fall’s two best shows. Given that, this is an idea that has to be at least considered, and if it could be logistically pulled off, would be huge for NBC. Let’s see if anyone actually rallies up enough buzz to make it happen.
Blindspot airs Mondays at 10 p.m. and The Player airs Thursdays at 10 p.m., both on NBC.