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Wisdom of the Crowd - Pilot - Advance Preview: It's A Start

"People want to be a part of something meaningful."


"Inspired by the notion that a million minds are better than one, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Jeffrey Tanner develops “Sophe”, an online platform for publicly shared information he’s certain will find his daughter’s killer. To assist him, Tanner recruits Det. Tommy Cavanaugh, the original cop who investigated the murder but was unceremoniously forced off the case. Working with them is Sara Morton, a brilliant engineer; Josh Novak, a talented, nerdy-cool head programmer; and Tariq Bakari, a tech genius and expert hacker with issues adhering to the rules."

So, Fall Season is already upon us, and with it so many new and returning shows, there's honestly not enough time to watch every good show, much less every barely enjoyable one, so Wisdom of the Crowd comes in at a disadvantage already, and maybe it's not the absolute best idea to throw it in the middle of such diversity, but that remains to be seen. It's perfectly entertaining television, but these days, unless there's some luck involved, that's just not enough. Now, many people have pointed out this sounds a lot like APB, and it does have a similar idea, but that shouldn't really shock us, with the constant advances in technology we have to accept this is not an idea that will be dropped. If anything, I would call this APB 2.0, the focus is different and somehow it has more heart to it, more meaning even, and I honestly hope this is what makes the difference and keeps this show from being a flop.

I’ll try not to be too spoilery, but if you guys saw the promos, you saw the whole thing. I, for one, I’m glad I stopped halfway through the trailer because it’s disappointing to watch a whole hour where you know the outcome of every single meaningful moment. After watching both the episode and the trailer in full, I can tell you it was not necessary to spoil it all, with just a few moments, you could clearly see if this was something you were going to like or not, so once again, I beg the people in charge of trailers to do better, trailers are not meant to be a summary of the episode or movie, they are just meant to intrigue you, and some people seem to believe that showing you all their cards, is the only way they'll get a shot in such a competitive landscape, but I have seen so many trailers that intrigued the hell out of me that I just can't stand behind that idea. Thankfully the trailer didn’t ruin all my fun so I was able to enjoy this pilot, but if you did see it when it came out, with any luck you won't remember a thing about it by now.

As you might have read in the description above, Jeffrey Tanner (Jeremy Piven - Mr. Selfridge, Entourage), a successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur, pretty much drops everything to dedicate all his time to solving his daughter's murder case, with the help of a team and an online platform called Sophe that collects data and tips from everyone who downloads the app and sorts through it to get new information, they expect to be able to find things out and talk to people in a way cops can't, they call it real-time crowd-sourced crime-solving, and this is how they explain it:

"Individuals have biases and limited spheres of knowledge, the bigger and more diverse your crowd, the more you can overcome that."
"Crowd-sourcing is sifting through the dirt until you find the gold, 90% of anything is garbage, but 10% of everything... that's a hell of a lot of bling."

Mia Tanner (Abigail Cowen - Stranger Things) is not around, but her presence is truly felt in Jeff's interactions with anyone that knew her and especially in his conversations with her mother, Congresswoman Alex Hale (Monica Potter - Parenthood, Boston Legal, Patch Adams), this is one of the best traits of the show, it makes you care about them straight away, and I wonder if Alex's position might bring something to the table as well. Now, the biggest problem with Mia's case is that there's already someone serving time in prison for her murder, former addict Carlos Ochoa (Ramses Jimenez - Fear the Walking Dead), a guy who worked at the shelter where Mia was interning. What Jeff aims to do, is to get enough evidence to force the state to re-open his daughter's case with Sophe's help.

But he also requires the help of a mandatory officer of the law (how he made that happen is another thing altogether), in this case, Detective Tommy Cavanaugh (Richard T. Jones - Santa Clarita Diet, Criminal Minds, American Horror Story), he was the partner of the leading officer on Mia's case, Elena Ruiz (Ion Overman - Ghost Whisperer), but while she did everything to just close it, ignoring the dissident evidence, he questioned everything throughout and was taken off the case, weirdly enough she sticks around and is not labeled as the bad guy, just someone that might have screwed up. Jeff sees Tommy as someone who, even if he's not sure what happened, is willing to find out the truth, whatever that is. Detective Cavanaugh is reluctant at first, but eventually, he gives in, which is good because he's very likable and has an interesting chemistry with Jeff.
Also helping Jeff, are Sara Morton (Natalia Tena - Game of Thrones, Harry Potter), the woman that runs the tech team, Josh Novak (Blake Lee - Mixology, Parks & Recreation) your mandatory awkward nerd and Tariq Bakari (Jake Matthews) the mandatory representative of diversity, a hacker who finds his way into the team by (of course) hacking them. This is actually a very enjoyable cast, everyone brings something interesting to the table and that's a very important part of a show like this, the only one I can't really figure out is Mike Leigh (Malachi Weir - Billions), the CEO of Jeff's company, but he will probably have a purpose later on.

Most of us have to be picky when it comes to deciding how we want to spend our time, and some will want to wait until they know if this is a success or not so I will tell you this, if this is the kind of show you enjoy, you won't be disappointed. As a procedural (which doesn't have to be a bad word), this show it is pretty straightforward, but it also tugs on the right strings, it's fulfilling to watch and it knows how to bring on the waterworks, but it also doesn't shy away from showing the possible outcomes, good or bad, that the idea itself could bring, and that is a nuanced idea I'm really looking forward to watching them explore. Very quickly Wisdom of the Crowd becomes about the quote above, about that sensation you have when you feel close to millions of strangers (at a match, at a concert), it's about that feeling of being a part of something bigger than yourself, when you feel your heart full of hope, for the people around you and for the possibility that not everyone and everything is evil in this world. And honestly, that's a feeling I believe most of us need right now.

Some quotes:

"I'm sorry that I didn't do something before, but I'm doing something now."

"Privacy? We gave that up a long time ago so we could watch cat videos on our phones."

"My money is on you, all of you."

Catch the premiere of Wisdom of the Crowd Sunday October 1st at 8:30-9:30 PM, ET/PT on CBS.

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