Ordinarily, “#apb,” which recently premiered in the Fox timeslot after “24: Legacy” would be just another cop show, not to be distinguished from the hundreds of others that have appeared on TV over the years. But the twist here is that a high-tech billionaire named Gideon Reeves (think of him as a small screen version of Tony Stark or #Elon Musk) finds himself in charge of the most crime-ridden police district on the south side of Chicago as a result of a series of improbable circumstances. He is using this position to showcase the latest in crime fighting #technology.
The other character of some interest is Amelia Murphy, a street-wise cop who is suspicious of all of this reliance on high tech. Nothing, she says, can substitute for good, old fashion police work. Naturally, Reed takes a liking to her, and they arrive at a kind of mutual understanding and respect toward the end of the pilot.
The real stars of the show are the technological toys that Reed brings to the police. A smartphone app called “APB” allows a crime witness or victim to summon the nearest police cruiser with a few clicks with a GPS location and a brief description of the crime in process. Other gizmos include an advanced Taser gun (there theory being to put down a violent suspect without killing him), super-strong body armor, police cruisers that are outfitted like the Batmobile, and an aerial drone that can be sent ahead of officers into a dangerous area, such as a building.
The one problem with “APB” is that so far the tech is more interesting than the people. Matt Nix, the creator of the show, knows how to create interesting characters and situations, as “Burn Notice” proved. But that talent, so far, seems to be absent from the pilot episode.
To be sure, the characters can develop as the series progresses and more interesting story lines than “look at what this (insert tech gadget) can do” can develop. Good police dramas are one part studies of people under stress and one part social commentary. Law enforcement officers are the first line of defense against society’s problems. How technology can mesh with that theme would be something interesting to watch in future episodes.