Synopsis of 1×01: Eleven years after the events of the 2002 film, a Pre-cog and a detective work together to solve crimes before they happen.
“Can you believe we used to stop this stuff before it happened?”
It would be unfair to expect Fox’s television adaptation/sequel to the 2002 Steven Spielberg/Tom Cruise film match the quality of its predecessor. That being said, considering the source material and considering that CBS’s Person of Interest tackles the morality of surveillance, I would expect Minority Report to at least attempt to honor said source material.
Given the recent debates about Government surveillance and the Patriot Act this show would seem timely. Instead, what Max Borenstein (Godzilla) delivers is a paint by numbers procedural that doesn’t make any attempts to address the film’s larger questions and wastes what is otherwise a good cast.
Minority Report takes place eleven years after the film and the Pre-Cogs Arthur (Nick Zano) and Agatha (Laura Reagan) have been able to adapt to their new-found freedom and build lives for themselves, while the youngest Pre-Cog Dash (Stark Sands) works to stop the future crimes that appear in his visions.
After failing to stop the murder of a nurse, he enlists the help of hard-nosed detective Vega (Meagan Goode), who laments the abandonment of the Pre-Crime program and tires of as she puts it, “having to clean up messes.”
At first, Vega uses sketches that Dash gives her to track down a lead. They corner said lead to a construction site where he kills himself, but not before claiming that they can’t stop what’s coming. She realizes that she needs to find this mysterious stranger that gave her this clue and once she finds Dash, he has another vision and she figures out what he is.
After promising to keep Dash’s involvement a secret he tells her that, while he can see the future, he can only see faces and locations. Dash’s vision reveals that the crime is an assassination attempt on Mayor Peter Van-Eyck (Andrew Stewart-Jones).
They follow Dash’s next vision to a care facility designed for all of the people arrested during the Pre-Crime program who were psychologically damaged during their incarceration. They find the bed of Rutledge (Michael Copeman), a man who convicted with the future crime of killing his wife, and due to grief would die anyway.
They see him as an obvious suspect and his daughter Liz (Alex Paxton-Beesley) isn’t exactly sympathetic to their mission of saving the mayor, as he was a key player in the program that ruined their lives. After interrogating Rutledge on the roof (he raises pigeons as part of his therapy), he freaks out and a chase ensues. Dash and Vega visit Arthur for help because with him Dash can get the full scope of the crime.
Arthur is perfectly happy with his new life in the corporate world and can’t understand that Dash would help law enforcement given how the Pre-Cogs treatment their entire lives. Their next stop is to the only non Pre-Cog, Dash can trust and that is their care giver Wally (Daniel London).
He hooks Dash to a homemade version of the machine used during Pre-Crime. Dash figures out where the assassination will occur and they discover that Rutledge and his daughter are the one’s behind it. Vega and Dash are able to fight them off and prevent Van-Eyck and his wife from dying and Vega looks like an all-star to her boss Lt. Blake (Wilmer Valderama).
Dash agrees to help Vega but stresses that she can’t share his existence with anyone, be it Blake or her partner Akeela (Li Jun Li). Meanwhile, Arthur and Agatha meet up and discuss their shared vision of the three Pre-Cogs once again being in peril and opt not to tell Dash because they know he has a role in it.
I’ll admit, I’m not a regular viewer of police procedural shows but the good ones i.e. Law and Order: SVU and the early days of CSI were able to rise about their case of the week trappings by having characters that were interesting and fun to watch. Minority Report doesn’t have that.
Starks and Goode are quality actors in their own right but individually they can’t bring life to these blandly written roles and together they don’t have any real chemistry. Borenstein has some cutesy future jokes such as subway ads for marijuana based snacks, Vega’s mother reminding her that she met her father on Tinder, and Dash identifying an old song as an Iggy Azalea tune.
The characters themselves don’t feel at all unique. Vega is the typical tough, workaholic cop who wanted to work in law enforcement following a family tragedy. Dash is the quirky partner and while his warnings from the future are occasionally played for laughs they don’t land because the beats themselves aren’t funny and Sands’ delivery isn’t quite there.
I also wish the show had given us more of Li’s Akeela because she was the only real spark the show had. I imagine as the cases pile up she’ll be brought into proceedings because she is the tech expert and they will need her to help solve a future crime.
Valderama’s Blake isn’t much of a character yet and Valderama’s delivery of exposition comes off as clunky. As far as the show’s depiction of 2065 Washington D.C., some of the future tech is neat but variations on stuff we’ve seen in other science fiction shows and movies.
The biggest issue I have with the show lies in somehow misreading the ending of the film. Yes, the show acknowledges that in order for Pre-Crime to work they had to hide the fact that the Pre-Cog’s visions weren’t absolute and that the future could be changed.
Despite this gigantic lie and the public knowledge of the murders committed to keep it a secret, Vega longs for the days when Pre-Crime stopped crimes before they happened. At no point does anyone call Vega out on this and even when Dash mentions how terrible his life was as a Pre-Cog she still wants the program back. I can’t tell if the show is intentionally making Vega seem callous or the show doesn’t understand how her cognitive dissonance plays.
Unlike the movie, the show has the benefit of having seen the rise in social media and how we’ve given our a lot of our privacy away. It’s curious because looking at the lack of privacy that would develop by 2065 would be something to explore especially given the existence and disbanding of Pre-Crime.
I also had to laugh at the ways in which the show deploys its mythology because having the other two Pre-Cogs let Dash do his thing just seems like a blatant way to keep the wheels spinning, as is Vega having to keep Dash a secret. There are only so many episodes that they can have the inevitable near misses or snooping that will inevitably get Dash caught and when he’ll inevitably be brought into the precinct.
I also wish the dialogue wasn’t so cliché as evidenced by this exchange at the end of the pilot:
Dash: “What happens next?”
Vega: “Aren’t you supposed to tell me?”