Another mediocre showing from Fox’s APB this week. Don’t get me wrong, some of the technological aspects are cool and feel fresh. Whenever I see Gideon or one of his team members bring out some new fandangled tech to catch the baddies, I’m interested to see how it plays out and actually find myself wondering how rooted in reality the tech is. It doesn’t seem far fetched these days, which is exciting. However it’s not enough to make me reflect on each hour after it’s over and give a resounding “Meh.”
We open with a woman at an ATM machine at night. In the mirror that allows her to see if anyone’s behind her, she is startled to see a man looking quite unhappy in a hoodie. He barely reveals a handgun out of his pocket and she leaves. Knowing ATM machines have cameras, the man holds up a handwritten note to it: “I Need to talk to Gideon Reeves.” Then, he shoots the machine so it will be reported. Who is this guy? Robert Ruiz, a fan of Gideon’s who also went to MIT. He figured it was the only way he could actually get a face to face with the man himself, Gideon Reeves. It turns out that his daughter got into some drugs that resulted in her having a stroke. It’s a particular type of meth hitting the streets called High-Town and nobody knows who deals it. Ruiz thinks Gideon is the only man who could catch these drug dealers before more kids OD. Gideon thinks he’s right.
But it’s bad timing to try and take down a drug kingpin. Scott, Murphy’s ex-husband, and his task force investigating the 13th District, are relentlessly questioning anything and everything that’s gone down in all the cases we’ve seen thus far. For instance, illegally shooting somebody with a drone. Who knew that you have to get permission to do such things! Gideon calls Scott out: “It’s as much about the fact that your ex wife works here” as trying to bring Reeves down as payback for embarrassing the mayor, even though Captain Conrad points out that crime is already down 8%. Scott isn’t having it, tells them he’ll see them at the mayor’s office for a hearing and they better be prepared.
So Conrad tells Gideon they need a win. Something to bring the mayor as a peace offering more or less. Something big enough that the mayor can’t take the political hit and use it against them. Could Ruiz’s druglord case be the thing to do the trick? Conrad doesn’t think so. “You want to take on a shot-in-the-dark drug case for a vigilante NOW?” he says. They need a win, not an uphill battle. Gideon says how hard can catching a drug dealer be? Murphy takes him out to teach him a little lesson.
She takes him down to a scene straight out of The Wire. We’re watching drug deals go down openly, except the “slinger” aka the person who actually delivers the drugs is a hired hand who happens to be a boy no more than twelve years old. “Who do you arrest?” Murphy asks. Meanwhile the higher-ups are at home counting their cash, never laying a finger on the drugs. “But they do touch the cash?” Gideon asks. Murphy tells him yes of course, but good luck trying to trace it back to them. Challenge accepted!
Trace powder is an actual tactic drug enforcement agents use to catch dealers red handed. They’ll put powder invisible to the naked eye on money, insert it into the normal flow of the drug dealing business, and are able to track and catch criminals by following the trace powder. However, they can’t do it live and need to look for trace powder under black lights in a lab somewhere. It’s a long, tedious process. Until Gideon Reeves invents glasses that allow the wearer to see the trace powder in real time! They put that shit out on the streets and before the next commercial break they have tracked down where all the money is flowing–a house in Bridgeport that belongs to a man named Marcos Cruz, who has no prior arrests or history of drug abuse.
They send in a raid to get Cruz, who immediately surrenders, laying on the ground, though he does not admit to anything. When the police start searching for physical evidence, they find a shed in the back of Cruz’s house with fifty to sixty kilos of drugs. That should do it. However, Cruz tells them he hopes they have a warrant to search his neighbor’s shed. Turns out the shed is actually across the property line, and the cops just illegally entered and searched it. The mayor is NOT going to like this one. They have to let Cruz go.
When Gideon breaks the news that they had the man responsible for his daughter’s death but had to let him go, Ruiz is obviously unhappy. Later that night, his wife calls up Murphy telling her Robert was acting strange and left the house. Turns out Robert went to go take care of Cruz vigilante style. Our guys have to stop him before he gets killed! This leads them to (SURPRISE!) an old abandoned warehouse where they find Robert’s car, with a case of bullets on the front seat. Murphy and co. infiltrate the dark warehouse (Gideon’s glasses now providing night vision, of course) and confront Cruz who was about to kill Ruiz. We now have a hostage situation. Perfect.
However, if we’ve learned anything, there’s always a way out of these things with Gideon Reeves watching live. “Trust the tech,” he tells Murphy, which in a way is kind of this show’s “Use the Force.” Through the glasses, he is able to show Murphy what Officer Brandt is seeing: Cruz holding Ruiz at gunpoint in the room over from her, directly under a pipe. After seeing this, she is able to use the pipe to guide her aim exactly where she needs to shoot through the wall to take out Cruz. She fires her gun through the wall blindly and hits Cruz, freeing Ruiz.
This of course is the big win Gideon and Conrad were talking about. They take this to the meeting with Scott and the mayor, telling them they took down Marco Cruz. Now the mayor can either go outside to the press that Reeves invited and tell them that he is working to take down the “unlawful” practices of Gideon Reeves and the 13th District OR he can take the credit for helping them take down one of the biggest drug dealers in the city, whose product has been killing kids. Which one do you think the mayor begrudgingly takes?
Overall, the episode kept my attention, but there was nothing that stood out to me as particularly clever or entertaining. APB needs to use some of Reeves’ technology to up its game.
Season 1, Episode 5 (S01E05)
APB airs Monday at 9PM on Fox
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Paul Gulyas | Contributor