When the new FOX drama APB was being developed, no one could have predicted the current political climate in the United States. We now have a billionaire leader who had no prior experience in government or public service, who believes we have big-league problems, and thinks he has the right solution.
Well, what do you know. APB has a billionaire who had no prior experience in government or public service, who believes we have, well, major problems, and feels he has the right solution.
The pilot which hails from Matt Nix (FOX’s upcoming X-Men project), Len Wiseman (Sleepy Hollow), and Trey Callaway (The Messengers) among others stars Justin Kirk as Gideon Reeves, a billionaire who, on the onset, seems to be television’s equivalent of Iron Man’s Tony Stark as played by Robert Downey Jr.. He’s a bit self centered, and he even has his own best pal at his side, much like Tony’s relationship with Rhodey. Honestly, with no offense to those who created the show, I felt the first few minutes were almost uncomfortably too much like the first Iron Man film, but it was a way to get to know and be introduced to this character.
Being the pilot episode of a show where the premise is set up, it’s not surprising that Bad Things Happen and that serves as a bit of an awakening for Reeves. He’s frustrated that said Bad Thing happened and the police don’t have the manpower or the interest in finding the perpetrator. Unlike another leader previously mentioned in this review, Reeves is a very, very smart man, and in addition to being a billionaire, he’s an inventor and an innovator. Through certain machinations Reeves is essentially given the keys to overhaul a crime-ridden Chicago district… and in doing so, find justice for a fallen friend.
There’s a human factor to APB that I really liked, and, again, the timeliness: Could an outsider really “fix” things? With stories of violence hitting the news in recent years, I also found Reeves’ tactics to be very interesting. Justin Kirk, while playing a billionaire that we shouldn’t identify with, conveys the reasons for Reeves doing what he does very well, and the tech that Reeves brings in is all very cool to see on screen. An “APB app” would be a cool idea in reality, though even on the show, it might be abused.
Natalie Martinez plays Detective Murphy, who may be the first person Reeves connects with at the precinct. I like her character, as she adds a lot of heartful human element to the show, but I will also point out that the Reeves-Murphy relationship is something that might be what keeps APB from developing a rabid fan base. Let’s be real, people watch these shows for the chemistry between the leads, especially on FOX. Lucifer and Chloe. Bones and Booth. Ichabod and… okay, I won’t go there. This relationship, at least as presented in the first episode, reads more like two allies who will come to respect each other a lot, but a “will they/won’t they” isn’t something I see coming.
There are a few other standouts in the cast as well. Ernie Hudson – yes, that Ernie Hudson – is in the show! Taylor Handley, who we loved to hate as Oliver on The O.C., is here too, following in the footsteps of such costars as Ben McKenzie. Reign’s Caitlin Stasey does tech and will surely be a fan favorite. And best of all, since there are aspects of APB that remind me of Person of Interest, which I miss dearly… Kevin Chapman (Fusco) makes an appearance! I miss Fusco. I miss POI. There are others in the cast, too, so no offense is meant to anyone that I missed.
I like that Gideon Reeves isn’t perfect; he does make mistakes and what he’s doing will piss off other people in the series’ world. Unlike some real-life counterparts, though, he seems to know he doesn’t always get it right. Again, I like that humility in a character who may not have always had it. The timeliness of the show will probably appeal to both sides of the political spectrum: Fans of the current outsider running our country will appreciate the parallels, and the rest of us will probably see the optimistic and hopeful side.
FOX saving APB for midseason and letting it possibly get lost at a time when it’s 24: Legacy getting all the promotion might be seen as a vote of no confidence, but APB was surprisingly engrossing, and I’ll certainly be back for more. I think the mix of genre elements in a show that might also be somewhat procedural will be pretty cool, and it’s certainly not worth skipping.
APB premieres tonight (February 6) at 9PM ET/PT on FOX.