Quantico was following a pattern in first two seasons of 22 episodes with the dual timeline and a serialised mystery to be resolved.

But Quantico season 3 was all different, no dual timeline, 13 episodes, and less serialised mystery. It was more of the villain of the week kind of thing except near the end.

So what was the reason for this drastic change?

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    The only thing I recall on the top of my head was that it was only renewed because of international popularity of it's lead and I think they switched showrunners. I might be able to do some digging to see if the new more procedural format was the new showrunner's idea or the Networks. I have to say that it's odd to revert to a more procedural format, usually it's the other way, especially with a 13 episode order that might suggest streamlined story telling... – Darth Locke Sep 28 '19 at 16:42

According to Deadline the season 3 renewal came in at the last minute, because it was considered an international success for ABC.

It came down to the wire, but Quantico has scored a last-minute 13-episode third-season renewal from ABC less than 24 hours before the network’s upfront presentation. When it comes back, the terrorism drama starring Priyanka Chopra will have a new showrunner at the helm as creator/executive producer Josh Safran is stepping down from the role. Safran will stay on as a consultant for Season 3. Search is underway for his replacement.

Quantico, from ABC Studios and producer Mark Gordon, was a breakout when it debuted in fall 2015, breaking delayed viewing lift records. But with its dense narrative and heavy serialization, the series started to lose momentum in the second half of its first season and couldn’t stop the ratings declines with a season 2 reboot. In its second season, Quantico has averaged a 1.3 adults 18-49 (Live+7).

Still, the series has a global star, Chopra, as its lead, and has been a strong international seller for ABC Studios, which helped for the renewal.

For an unspecified reason, its previous showrunner and executive producer Josh Sefran stepped down and was later replaced.

As mentioned in the Deadline article, ABC seemed to believe that the reason season 2 dropped in the ratings, was because the show was too serialized (It's no secret that the networks often believe that an episodic structure works better for allowing audiences to be able to "jump into" the series at any time and often avoids deeply serialized structuring.)

So it seems like that has to be reason why it not only recieved a shorter season (to meet budget concerns, as they were also debating moving production), but also because they often believe serialized television is not what their demographic wants and thought this was proof of such a theory.

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