Hit or Sh**: FOX’s APB
In this Crossfader series, our intricate and complex rating system will tell you definitively whether new television pilots are worth your valuable time. We call it: HIT OR SH**.
Alright folks, I’m here to dish you the scoop on APB as direct and succinct as I can, because it’s truly not worth much consideration any way you can imagine slicing it. You’ve heard a lot in terms of the middling nature of network television, and have probably heard even more when it comes to the middling nature of network police procedurals. Big surprise, APB doesn’t manage to elevate itself above the mold you were presuming. Despite featuring a general premise with some potential for a cogent and relevant take on drone warfare and increased spending on law enforcement, it’s FOX, so instead we just get another forgettable cops n’ violent robbers caper. Surely we must be getting tired of this sort of thing?
Gideon Reeves (Justin Kirk) is a plucky tech billionaire whose best friend is murdered during a robbery of a Chicago liquor store. After the Chicago Police Department fails to impress him with their investigation six weeks down the line, Reeves takes matters into his own hands and decides to just up and buy the entire 13th Precinct. With an eerie silence in terms of the world’s reaction to the fact that a citizen just privatized an entire police division into a glorified personal military, Reeves goes about enacting his grand revision of modern law enforcement: having citizens use an app to report crime instead of a tiresome 911 call. And taser guns. And big ol’ bulletproof vests. And drone motherfucking warfare.
And Ernie Hudson, who’s mostly there to look into the camera with a bemused expression on his face
The most frustrating part of APB is the fact that Reeves is made a sympathetic character instead of an antagonist. Reeves empowering law enforcement in terms of surveillance and permeation of the private lives of citizens is absolutely horrifying, and the show could have been much more palatable had it revolved around the convictions of a cop who refuses to be so easily cowed into a weird brand of techno-facism. Instead, APB plants the seeds for Reeves’s only foil of note, Theresa Murphy (Natalie Martinez), slowly but surely seeing the light of his brilliant plan. On that note, to APB’s credit, both Kirk and Martinez turn in commendable performances as their respective characters, but that’s no excuse for the gymnastics the script pulls to get them continually interacting with each other. While describing their relationship as having chemistry is a bit of a reach, it’s made unfortunately clear that there’ll be a steamy TV-14 hookup between the two before the show runs its course; perhaps their pillow talk will address the thematic Eldritch horrors that they fail to while in work clothes.
I wish there were more to say, but APB is only running on the fumes of its intermittently cool visuals. Sure, the introduction of the new technology that Reeves has instituted is kinda fun. But then you find yourself remembering that the premise’s trump card is a self-reporting citizen app. In the inner city. That helps the police arrest people faster.
Apart from that, we’ve got all the police procedural beats you’ve come to know and love. A rookie (Reeves, in this case) presents his ideas to an established police force and is ridiculed! He sticks with it, and his biggest detractor sees the merit of his points! An initial deployment of his plan goes well! He then screws up big time and everyone gets mad! Now whatever will he do in the following episodes? Well considering the fact that Reeves’s boo boo is getting a cop grievously injured due to privatized drone motherfucking warfare going wrong, I hope that someone fires or kills him pretty soon!
That’s all I’ve got, friends and lovers. If you’ve even heard of APB at all, you probably saw the poster, thought to yourself, “Gee, why would I ever want to check in with new network police procedurals when Netflix, Amazon, and HBO are things?,” and never thought of it again. You were right.