This new show started three weeks ago: it’s called Perception and it airs every Monday at 10pm on TNT. I’ve seen all three episodes so far!
The premise is this: Daniel Pierce, the protagonist, is a brilliant neuropsychologist who teaches at a university. He is also a paranoid schizophrenic! An old student of his, Kate Moretti is with the FBI and she brings him in as a specialist on some cases to help solve them.
tl;dr: it is good, I like it.
(No spoilers below; it’s below a cut because it’s long.)
They label it as a crime drama, which I guess is the TV-genre version of mysteries? Because this is definitely a mystery series. The focus is less “catch the crook!” and more “solve the puzzle!” - and you know how much I love puzzles.
The first episode I think sets up the series and the characters very well. It’s a little heavy-handed on the puzzle theme: it actually uses word games as an episode motif. But it brings in Dr. Pierce’s mental/emotional issues pretty effectively, I think. You know what to expect for the rest of show and it isn’t overly-sensationalized or whatever.
Speaking of motifs! One of the things I really like so far is how the show has a specific episode structure, and each episode very clearly has a theme/motif it uses through the whole story. And, said episode structure is not the same as every-crime-drama-ever, where you can look at the clock and go “oh they’re going to discover A TWIST in a couple minutes” or when they catch the culprit you can go “nah there’s 15 minutes left, it’s the wrong guy”. It’s more a framework.
Before I go into that! One of the running themes the show has been using so far is tied into Pierce’s schizophrenia: he hallucinates. But these hallucinations, they help him solve the mystery! …Not usually explicitly; more, they are manifestations of things he noticed subconsciously but which he hadn’t consciously realized the significance of yet. To paraphrase last episode: he’d noticed, but he hadn’t noticed he’d noticed. I think they do it pretty well in terms of balancing hints versus “spoilers”. (I think they do the hallucinations well in general.)
So there is a definite framework for each episode, which I think gives it a nice sense of structure (and that fits well with the character). Each episode opens with a scene from one of his lectures, which is on a topic relevant to the puzzle of the episode. Then Kate Moretti asks him for help on problem X, they do some investigating, he has a hallucination, more investigating, he talks to his friend Natalie, more investigating/hallucinations, he solves it, and it closes with another scene from another lecture, this time on a topic relevant to the solution. (The lecture scenes are kind of like episode intro/conclusion paragraphs!)
Each episode also seems to have a motif, which is introduced early on in the episode through something Dr. Pierce does and which reoccurs both in character actions and in the mystery and clues.
On the characters themselves - well, on the two protagonists, Daniel Pierce and Kate Moretti. Pierce, I like him a lot. He’s, well I feel like he shouldn’t be as well-built and good-looking as he is, but that’s not a character killer. He’s neurotic and obsessive but clever and interesting as a character, and it is definitely fun watching things from his PoV.
Kate Moretti, I love. She’s totally badass in an unpretentious sort of way: less action hero, more capable well-trained special agent. She does her job and she does it well. I especially like how the fact that she’s the one who resolves dangerous situations so far (as opposed to her partner) doesn’t smack you over the head with LOOK SEE WE HAVE A BAD-ASS LADY CHARACTER. She just is. Professionally and maturely.
And lastly, a reiteration: I really like how it isn’t just about catching a murderer, but about solving a puzzle. This, again, should come as a surprise to no one.
Anyway! If you like mysteries and television, you should at least go dig up and check out the first episode to see if it hits your interests.