Tuned In

Jericho: Hack Job?

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OK, so I know that it’s odd to spend much time theorizing about Jericho, especially when it airs on the same night as the far superior Lost: compared with ABC’s show, Jericho is the store-brand cola of mystery serials. But I’ll admit having been sucked into its nuclear intrigue, for all the show’s mediocrity and flaws (such as spending most of last night’s episode on a library fire, which, this being a middle-of-the-road CBS drama, you know everyone will survive).

And I have my first theory on who pushed the button and why. We’ve been given ample hints–given the skullduggery of mystery man Hawkins–that the nuke attack was some kind of inside job, of which he and others had advance knowledge. Last night, we saw Hawkins access a website with Cyrillic characters, but I suspect that was a red herring. My guess: Americans did it–the attack was a decapitation strike, aimed at offing every government leader down to and past the Secretary of Agriculture, leaving the U.S. with no constitutional leader and Hawkins’ group (whoever they are) poised to take power, or hand it over to a party to be named later.

This would explain the idiosyncratic list of targets–not to harp on this, but San Diego?–which could have been determined by the travel schedules of Cabinet members, as well as Hawkins’ weapons hoarding and discussion of "rally points" with his co-conspirators. Maybe the military was involved, but maybe–given the hint that Hawkins, fiddling with his laptop, may have had something to do with the missile launches at the end of last night’s episode–it was entirely a computer-hacking job, perhaps even, guessing from the Cyrillic, a hack of the former Soviet Union’s missiles. (That explanation would also help CBS and the producers avoid goring anyone’s political oxen, pinning the attack neither on foreign enemies or a corrupt government, 24-style, but rather just a few bad apples.)

Mind you, this is pretty idle speculation, and I hope I’m wrong. Because seriously, if I can figure out the mystery of your show, you probably should not be in the mystery-writing business.