RogerBW's Blog

Wisdom of the Crowd 09 February 2018

2017 science fiction/investigation, 13 episodes; a tech billionaire, obsessed with finding the murderer of his daughter, builds a crowd-sourced crime-solving system.

I've enjoyed plenty of procedural cop shows, but it's generally in spite of the way the cops are always right, not because of it. This show is all about the not-really-cops (backed up by the machine) being right. What about privacy and protection from self-incrimination, says the token cop in the pilot episode? The answer is pretty much "meh, who cares"; nobody actually mentions parallel construction, but you need to be in favour of that for this show's concept to work at all. There's an occasional acknowledgement that sometimes asking for information about a person in connection with a crime will get him beaten up by a mob even if he's not responsible, but I guess that's just the price you pay for Justice! and Freedom!

So this show was already starting at a big disadvantage with me. It's obviously inspired by Person of Interest (of which I've seen some of the early episodes, and at some point I'll watch the rest), but it has no zing, no edge; the cast is fairly decent, but their roles are stereotyped (especially the borderline-autistic computer techies) and they don't get any chance to stretch whatever acting muscles they may have, instead being relegated to soap-operatic shenanigans that allow CBS to call this a "character-driven" show.

Someone put this together out of a book of templates, but used too many of them. Case of the week, check; character stuff to provide continuity and confuse viewers if episodes are shown out of order, check; slow progress on the Big Case that we know would be the end of the show if it were ever actually solved, check. But all these things require different tones to put over well, and the screenwriters can't manage that, let alone make the characters interesting too.

The show was killed after thirteen episodes; allegations of sexual harrassment by the star, Jeremy Piven, were probably a convenient excuse to draw attention away from the terrible ratings.

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