If you’re anything like me, you’ve had a great idea that you can’t believe no one else has ever thought of. Then upon further reflection you think to yourself this idea is so simple there is no way someone hasn’t thought of this already, so maybe they just couldn’t pull it off. APB is the tech-savvy answer to America’s problems with the criminal justice system.
With any new idea, including an idea for a television show, there is going to be some trial and error. APB has helped bridge the gap between the theoretical and real life by marrying policing procedures with the time-saving, problem-solving benefits of modern day technological advancements. The episode I will be diving into this week is the tenth episode of this freshman series.
First, a little background. The show centers around the tech-billionaire Gideon Reeves who essentially buys a police district in Chicago after his best friend is shot during the course of a crime and subsequently dies in Reeves’ arms while waiting for the police to respond to the scene. Making this seem somewhat possible, the show makes sure to address the fact just because this man is a billionaire does not give him the expertise to run a police district. Due to a loophole that simply requires the permission of the city council, and Reeves’ expertise manipulating the media to support his efforts, the Mayor has no choice but to grant Reeves’ experiment and thus the pilot for APB is born.
The concept starts innocently enough. What if we were to build an app that essentially could call the police with the click of a button? Genius, right? At the conception of any great idea people tend to avoid thinking of the possibilities of weaknesses. I have to commend this show and their writing of Gideon and Reeves’ Industries to include humility even though their main character fits the billionaire-genius trope to a tee. This humility and genuine concern for his fellow citizens of Chicago is what allows his technology and procedures to become an organism that is truly alive and ever changing. Without even having to pin the nail on the head, this Fox show addresses that the majority of problems in our criminal justice system are due to the stagnant and unchanging ways of governmental procedures.
Do we all watch this show and wish we could supply body cams, supped-up squad cars, and guns with “non-lethal” options to our local law enforcement? Of course. Like I said before, this is one of those ideas we have all had but couldn’t realistically figure out how to make it a possibility. After all, most of us aren’t tech-billionaires with a conscious and money to spend.
Each week APB introduces us to a new “bad of the week” and just like every other cop show you’re already watching we spend the following 56 minutes with Reeves’ and his favorite newly-minted detective Theresa Murphy mixing tech with policing to solve the case. A favorite employee of Reeves Industries is Ada Hamilton, who plays the technical assistant role to Reeves’ himself. She’s a hacker who can code with the best of them to access body cam footage or help Reeves’ reprogram a car to be remotely driven from miles away. In the third episode of the season, Hamilton uses her blackhat resources to trigger a bomb that was inside a vehicle with a perpetrator and set to detonate by cell phone. So on one hand, way to save the day Ada, but on the other hand she, you know… murdered someone. This cannot go unanswered, especially on Fox, so here we are seven episodes later seeing Hamilton harassed by the same dark web contact she made her accomplice.
Here we get to see Hamilton start to venture outside of the office when it comes to hunting down criminals. Sure she is doing this to save her own skin at this point, but I’m holding out hope that behind the clinical and standoffish persona that is Ada, there is a girl who has finally found her calling when it comes to helping people. Using an on-site hack into her colleagues’ computer systems Hamilton has exactly the information she needs to leverage her way out of being blackmailed for her previous actions.
Someone has their big girl pants on! Threatening to go to the Feds, or even make it appear as though DV8 has turned to the FBI of his own accord to ruin is blackhat persona, Hamilton simply suggests to her blackmailer, “Back off… It’s really that simple”. Seemingly genuinely upset at having to threaten someone else in order to protect herself, Hamilton holds her poker face until her nemesis leaves the room apparently defeated.
Meanwhile, Reeves and the rest of the precinct are trying to solve a case involving a local gang and a case of rape. Their best asset in solving this case, the best thing this show has to offer, is the way they support public involvement. One of the biggest problems in closing cases is due to a lack of community involvement and the willingness of witnesses to come forward. The anonymity of “hiding behind your phone” can finally be used as a positive thing because it makes it more likely for a witness to feel safe enough to report a crime. Not to mention, everyone these days is walking around with their cell phones in their hands. They literally have the means to capture every aspect of a crime as it appears in real time, and thanks to this theoretical APB app, the Chicago community can report these crimes directly to their local precinct in high definition. They use this local footage to track and surveil prospective crime scenes to, you guessed it, find their man.
So bottom line, yes this is just another cop show. But the best take away you can have from watching a show like APB is that this is the direction we are heading as a society. Things will get better, its inevitable. It will probably be extremely similar to this show. For every step forward we take in any industry, we tend to take three steps back. This makes the progress of change slow, very slow… but not impossible.