FBI Special Agent Melanie Braga, the lone female agent in a team on testosterone overdrive – is on a mission investigating the corrupt culture of the largest import hub in the US: the port of Long Beach.
In the process, she prods the criminal ecosystem of counterfeiting, finding a vast network whose proceeds finance a panoply of vice.
As the investigation unfolds, Melanie discovers another layer of duplicity – her own, as her marriage crumbles when she falls in love with a colleague – another woman on the force.
Knockoff is a character-driven procedural about a team of specialized FBI agents who work to combat the flow of high-value counterfeit goods – medications, automotive parts, military equipment, etc. – entering the country at its largest import hub: The Long Beach harbor.
Special Agent Melanie Braga – a career agent, and a star in the force – has to balance her family life with the demands of investigating an ecosystem of crime. As she delves deeper, she prods a vast financial network funneling its proceeds to terrorist organizations.
At home, Melanie juggles raising her 9-year old son, dealing with her estranged husband and figuring out how to live an authentic life after falling for a colleague – who makes her discover her identity as a lesbian.
We will explore the underbelly of Los Angeles, uncovering its panoply of vice: illegal immigration, human trafficking, union mafias and the financial structure that articulates them at the highest levels.
Taking place primarily in Southern California, Knockoff will also show the interconnected world of global trade – with secondary locations in major hubs where goods originate and transit, namely Hong Kong and Rio de Janeiro.
Melanie Braga, 37, possesses a sharp intelligence in the measure of the chip on her shoulder: a career agent, she started on the FBI right after college in its corruption division, and has seen her share of the bureaucracy’s bungles.
As an attractive woman she is always in the minority, and is frequently approached by colleagues with extra-professional interests.
As the series’ start, she’s married with a nine-year old son, and has an impeccable record. But when she accidentally kills a colleague on an operation gone awry, Melanie is sent to the FBI Psychiatrist to unpack the occurred.
Xian Lee, 46, is a ruthless, take-no-prisoners Chinese businesswoman at the helm of a large export conglomerate in Hong Kong.
Amid the high volume of legitimate goods directed to the U.S., LEE GLOBAL sends in about a fifth of the shipped volume in counterfeit knockoffs.
True to the ethos of China’s new-rich, money lies beyond morality, and Xian is uninhibited about the nature of the relationship she has with her handsome – and western – boy toy.
But behind her steel façade, we find that Lee has a secret: a son, whom she keeps strictly away from view. Once a happy housewife, she was abandoned by her husband after their son developed a severe disability after ingesting tainted milk.
Tom Moss, 56, is the FBI’s Assistant Director handling public corruption cases. Despite of his age, Tom has an old man’s demeanor, seemingly burned out. Recently separated, he has a drug-addicted teenage daughter, whose affliction he’s unsure is consequence, or cause of his family’s disintegration. He harbors a platonic affection for Melanie, his old subordinate.
Alex Salem, 48, a Lebanese citizen naturalized Brazilian, Alex was exiled from Beirut as a youngster, part of a privileged Palestinian elite who fled the massacres of the 1982 war. Head of a business empire with multiple international companies, he launders the counterfeit proceeds and funnels the revenue to Middle East terrorist organizations through financial institutions in Latin America and Europe.
Yele Okoro, 39, an illegal immigrant from Nigeria, tries to get by without papers or contacts by selling counterfeit goods downtown. Deeply involved in the piracy trade, he is both perpetrator and victim of its consequences.
Taking place primarily at the home of glitz and glamour, Los Angeles is a city of stark contrasts: of income, education, opportunities and quality of life. The daily hustle of immigrants lives side by side with lush neo-Tuscan mansions and their opulent fountains drizzling the desert air. Global by nature, Knockoff will have as secondary locations the major trade and transit centers of Rio de Janeiro and Hong Kong.
After a botched operation to confiscate illegal shipments, the FBI forms a new division to track counterfeiting crimes. Career agent Melanie Braga, a wife and mom in her mid-30’s, is appointed to head it in the field.
But as she explores the Los Angeles underbelly, she discovers something she herself has been hiding behind.
FORMAT & GENRE
TV Drama, 52min.
© 2014 S. GROSSMANN