So Gideon Reeves (Justin Kirk) is a genius engineer with far too much money and time on his hands, and yes, a need for attention. Sound like anyone we’re all familiar with? Comparing Reeves to the likes of Tony Stark is a bit of a stretch, but only a bit of one, because this story doesn’t involve mutants or killer gods or anything like that. Instead we’re introduced to Reeves in much the bombastic way we first met Stark in the movies, with fire and noise and arrogant showmanship, but also a proposed hidden inner core of the desire to do good in the world. So the death of his closest friend and business partner in a convenience store robbery propels Reeves to take his enormous fortune, humble engineering genius and need to see justice brought to Sully’s killer together and do something with all of them.
Then again, marching into a meeting with the Mayor of Chicago and instructing him to give over control of the 13th Police Precinct to Reeves himself, along with actual threats of being ousted out of the Mayors seat entirely, will not earn you any friends or allies. And no-one asked the cops of the 13th their opinion on the entire department getting a multi-million-dollar upgrade, complete with FBI-like computers and screen setups, new body armor and brand new high-powered zap gun to replace the traditional firearms, an oh-so-modern phone App for victims to use, and oh yes, don’t forget the overly-helpful presence of the madman who made it all possible, Gideon Reeves. But that is where we are now, so suck it up buttercup and onward we go to try out all these newfangled gadgets in the field. Hey, the new cars, which happen to be super-powered Cadillac CTS-Vs, are pretty bitchin.
In the real world, how does super-modern technology compare to the straightforward actions of the cops using the stuff? Murphy (Natalie Martinez) is Reeves favorite pick for the cop who’s going to help him find Sully’s murderer, so he gets very nervous while creepily sharing her body-cam movements with the entire precinct. The use of body-cams and drones and all that affords the show the opportunity to do shaky-cam shots and wide angles from other POVs and sure it hammers home the use of all this techno-crap but I just don’t need it. And in the real world for the first time, the techno stuff demonstrates its drawbacks, when the body armor fails and the drone wasn’t prepared for everything. The death of a cop, especially on the first trial run in the field with all this engineering genius crap, weighs heavily on everyone, perhaps extra hard on Reeves himself, and having the Mayor haul his ass off for the closedown warning doesn’t help. What will Gideon Reeves and the 13th Precinct do now?
The show is good fun and has all the hallmarks of a good Fox jaunt, but a good deal of it hinges on the performance of Justin Kirk as Gideon Reeves, and playing the Stark-like character that this nonsense is based on has to be nerve-wracking. I absolutely love Ernie Hudson as Captain Conrad of the 13th, though his characters slack-jawed admiration for the newfangled technology may get a little tiresome. As for the newfangled technology itself, trying to turn a Chicago Police Department into the equivalent of a combination military base and FBI headquarters may look cool, but is far too potentially damaging, in our times of hacker terrorists and other baddies. Just don’t turn into another attempt at Minority Report, where fancy techno visuals tried (and failed) to make up for flaccid story, and we’re good. APB has the chance to be a good entertaining diversion, and we could use casting cops in a good light right about now.
Catch the flying drones of APB on Amazon Prime Video now!