The premise for WotC is harnessing social media, crowdsourcing the internet, etc. into a tool to solve crime. Unlike “Person of Interest” using an AI for predictive analytics, WotC is basically just a platform app to help people share their views about a crime, the evidence, etc. Launched by a CEO of a big company, the platform is named Sophie. His daughter Mia was murdered a year ago. The first case to solve? Mia’s murder.
Which is a bit of a monkey wrench for a system that already has someone in jail for her murder. Which is part of the problem with the show. Are there many murder cases where the person didn’t plead guilty going through the justice system and leading to full incarceration within a year? No, there isn’t. Like zero. Yet only a year after her death, he’s launching the app. Not a big deal, but okay.
The detective on the original case got thrown off the case because he too believed the wrong person was being charged and convicted. So who better to liaise with this rich father than him? Well, just about anybody, really, but let’s not quibble. Add in an ex-wife and mother of the dead daughter and that HE DOESN’T TELL HER WHAT HE’S DOING, but hey, no biggie.
Eat all that up in the first 10 minutes, and then just go with it.
The first thing they get on the site is a video of the night of the murder, a AirBNBer who videoed the building from across the road and who is sharing the video. Giving them a new suspect. Now, this is where the 1 year timeline came in. Would she still have had the video if it was 4 or 5 years later? Would she think to check her videos? Probably not. But when it’s big, and splashy for news (think Steve Jobs launching a $100M reward for a conviction), and sure, lots of people started chiming in.
The premise is that while 90% of what people might say is crap, the other 10% might be useful; if the “app” can sift through to find the 10%, and amalgamate it, they might find new leads. One of which would be the girl’s BFF, except they never talk to her in the episode. WTF?
Anyway, enter another clue. Except for another case — a guy in the video gets identified, a Uber-like driver who had a call but it was cancelled, so he happened to be in the area. Which triggers a question mark for the detective. Because he had another case where the same thing happened. Except that woman ended up dead. Not related to Mia’s murder, but links to another case.
So, since the show is about solving Mia’s case, and if they solve it in episode 1, there is no series, they need another plot for the episode. They crowd-source, find a skanky bartender who has been spiking drinks and then handing off the drunk chicks to this other skanky dude, arrest him, all good. The system works. It’s like they solve a Law and Order: SVU case, in about 10 minutes of airtime.
The father behind the app is played by Jeremy Piven. Most people likely know him from Entourage, I remember him from Cupid and Ellen (the sitcom, not the talk show). He’s often been lightly comic, and it is interesting to seem him just playing dramatic here. I didn’t hate him. Not a lot of gravitas, but not bad.
Richard T. Jones plays the detective, Cavanaugh, and he has played a cop in a LOT of shows. Good gravitas, nice presence, good choice, highly watchable. I wasn’t a big fan of Judging Amy, but he was noticeable there; I loved him on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. And I like watching him here.
There are a LOT of other characters running around – the ex-wife, the cop who put the wrong guy in jail, a weird lawyer dude working for the techie, and a bunch of techie people who run the platform and help them solve crime.
I don’t know if the next few episodes have more in the tank than this episode, because when I saw the initial premise, I said, “CBS: Wisdom of the Crowd – Tech approaches to crime fighting, similar to a dozen other shows that have tried and failed to merge the two in the last five or six years – CANCELLED” and I still think that.
The only difference? I’ll probably stick around a couple of episodes to give it a try.