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The Sentinel

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M. Giant: B- | Grade It Now!
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Not-So-Secret Service
Garrison, of course. Mention of the name doesn't seem to fill Kiefer with joy. Those Adirondack chairs must have been a long time ago.

Pete hops out of the car at the school, along with a cadre of other agents. They scan the cheering crowd lined up against the barricades, and Pete spots some perfectly normal-looking guy standing on some steps nearby. He speaks into his shirt cuff to call down some goons on the guy, who ask the gentleman to take his hand out of his jacket. No payoff later, either. And now that the area has been cleared of people who don't know how to stand when the President is around, the leader of the free world is given permission to get out of his car. "I think we should hold hands," he tells his wife, who unenthusiastically agrees. That's going to make getting out of the car awkward. But no, they get out on their separate sides, POTUS doing the double-hand wave to the cheering crowd. Cameras go crazy, POTUS comes around to take his wife's hand, and they glad-hand the crowd on the way in. Chatter comes over the radio that FLOTUS is heading to the beach house afterwards, a tidbit that Montrose passes along to Pete. Pete acknowledges the news a lot more calmly than one might expect, considering what we learn later.

POTUS does whatever he does at the school, which involves signing something while school kids sing a song, and FLOTUS smiles at everyone before giving a little speech of her own. It's all completely beside anything resembling a point, of course, because this is about the Secret Service, who are thoroughly present and yet completely outside these goings-on. How can they protect someone's life if they're paying attention to what they're doing or saying? The OTUSes leave the school.

FLOTUS is in the back of a car with her assistant, while Agent Tom drives and Pete rides shotgun. About here is where I figure out that Pete isn't on the Presidential detail, but on the First Lady's. I will give this movie credit for not treating me like an idiot. FLOTUS asks Pete how he thought her speech went. "I thought it was an excellent speech," Pete says. "One to ten," FLOTUS pushes, and Pete decisively responds, "Ten," without even thinking. He's quite good at his job. FLOTUS unfairly busts on him for being a bad liar, so Pete gets brutally honest. "Nine point five," he says. FLOTUS chuckles indulgently.

Meanwhile, Charlie Merriweather, the Secret Service agent who's a few bucks lighter thanks to Pete, climbs the steps to his house with a bag in each hand. A mean-looking blond guy in a black leather jacket appears on the sidewalk below, says, "Excuse me," then raises a silenced pistol. And this elite officer just stands there, holding a bag in each hand, long enough for the guy to plug Charlie twice in the chest. Considering how long it took Charlie to get home, speed is clearly not his thing. He falls awkwardly onto the stoop, over his own bags. I bet the director thought the actor did a really great job with that scene. By the time Mrs. Charlie (played by Gloria Reuben) comes out to find her dead husband outside the front door, the shooter is long gone.

Jill has been left alone in Kiefer's office, and she's using the time to "get the picture," as you might say. One whole wall of Kiefer's office is completely papered with written death threats against the President, in all manner of languages, alphabets, and iconography. Some of them even appear to be talking in her head, if the voices on the soundtrack are to be believed. Kiefer returns, and she asks if these are all from the last week. "That's about half of them," Kiefer says, sitting at his desk. Jeez, no wonder he's in such a bad mood. It gets better: he also has audio. He plays a recording on his computer of a graphic telephone threat. Kiefer says it's from someone they got yesterday, because the Secret Service is cooperating with the production, after all. He hands Jill a document and asks if she translated it. She says she didn't, and can tell that whoever did is not a native speaker because they misinterpreted some idiomatic phrase as a threat instead of an offer for a bribe. Kiefer gives that humorless chuckle of his that means, "I am not entirely displeased with you, and so I shall kill you last." Just then Paul Calderon as the Deputy Secret Service Director walks in and asks to speak to Kiefer privately.

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