The third episode of Fox’s APB unfortunately was a pretty dull showing. It barely touched on the intriguing plot development we got at the end of last week’s episode and its “new technology of the week” left much to be desired. These problems are quite troublesome, especially because it is so early on in the series. We’re going to need a lot more creativity out of the writers room for this to continue to be a show worth watching week to week.
That intriguing plot development I mentioned above was of course the reveal that Murphy’s ex-husband would be heading up a special task force appointed by the mayor of Chicago to investigate Gideon and the 13th District. The plotline of Gideon vs. the mayor seems to me to be the most interesting, and I feel like the writers are unfortunately stalling the story. I want to see more of Gideon dealing with a worthy and powerful adversary and less of him watching bad guys get chased down from the safety of the police department.
Therein lies the other significant problem with the show. Again this week we have a storyline that primarily keeps Gideon staring at the screen watching the bodycam footage of 13th District cops chase down bad guys. It’s getting awful repetitive.
This week opens on a party at Gideon’s flashy Chicago pad, where he’s doing shots with (who else?) Sanjay Gupta. Murphy stops by to tell him about her ex-husband heading up this task force, and they briefly discuss her leaving the 13th, as her ex wants her to. This doesn’t sit well with Gideon as he’s clearly taken a shine to Murphy, and her family. Whether this will actually bud into a believable romantic relationship remains to be seen, but as it is the central relationship of the show, that’s dangerous water to tread if it doesn’t work out.
Their meeting is interrupted of course, when she gets a call from the APB app, despite being off duty. Turns out an old friend of Murphy’s got gunned down while working a security gig. Gideon joins her on the call, and when they arrive at the scene of the crime other police have already responded. A chase on foot ensues with one of the perps and he’s tackled to the ground and brought in to the station.
As you probably guessed, the guy they bring in is keeping his mouth shut. They don’t have him on the security cameras, as all the suspects had ski masks on. He explains his running from the police by saying he saw a bunch of cops roll up, guns drawn, and feared for his safety. They don’t really have much on him that could stick, and pretty soon he’ll lawyer up if they continue asking questions or try to get a confession out of him.
Cue Gideon’s technology of the week to save the day! He heads back to Reeves headquarters and takes an interest in a chair designed to read vital signs of space pilots blasting off in rocketships. This chair could conceivably also test vitals of criminals, noting when blood pressure or breathing increase when being interrogated. So basically a lie detector that you sit in. Brilliant! And extremely uninteresting. Not to mention I’m not sure it’s even legal to administer a test like that without the person’s expressed permission. But the APB writers ignore all that and Gideon has his guys design a chair that won’t stand out in a normal, run of the mill, police interrogation room.
They bring the chair in and, what do you know, it works! Murphy heads into the interrogation room while Gideon (and an incredulous onlooking Ernie Hudson, which also makes up a good percent of every episode) monitor the suspects vitals and report back to Murphy through an ear piece when something hits. Later they even show him video of police riding through the neighborhood and monitor when his blood pressure spikes. At this point it’s a little unclear just how long they’ve been holding this guy and why he HASN’T asked for a lawyer. This of course leads them to discovering a plot involving bombs which they have to race to find and deactivate. (Spoiler: they do).
In a somewhat more interesting plot, we see Ada, Gideon’s righthand girl at the station, attempting to save the lives of the boy and mother we met in the pilot episode. The one whose father was being abusive. Apparently he got out of jail after being apprehended for that domestic dispute very quickly, and he was angry. Ada runs some numbers and figures that there is something like a 78% chance of the situation resulting in a murder. She implores Gideon to help her take some action, but he correctly explains that you can not arrest somebody based on likelihoods (now we’re getting into Minority Report territory, and pretty sure that got cancelled).
At any rate, Ada of course decides to take matters into her own hands. She stakes out the home of the poor boy and his abusive dad. She follows the dad into a Quickmart store and proceeds to antagonize him, making fun of him for not even being able to afford cigarettes. She effectively gets him to hit her, knocking her to the floor and busting her lip. But it turns out beforehand she had used the APB app to call police. The dad gets arrested and sent to jail, and thus is unable to murder his family. Win! (SIDENOTE: how did she know he wasn’t going to, like, stab her or something? Seems pretty risky for somebody who is assessing risk factors).
Overall it was a boring, predictable episode that failed to wow with the promise the show makes of incorporating inventive technology into its storylines, setting it apart from your usual police procedurals. Hopefully it will pick up again next week.
Season 1, Episode 3 (S01E03)
APB airs Monday at 9PM on Fox
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Paul Gulyas | Contributor