DRAMA PREVIEW "Touch"
WHEN | WHERE Tomorrow at 9 p.m. on Fox/5; moves into regular Monday-at-9 p.m. time slot on March 19
Kiefer Sutherland's back on Fox.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT Martin Bohm (Sutherland) is a beset single father whose wife was killed in the World Trade Center attacks of 2001. His 10-year-old son, Jake (David Mazouz), can't speak and may be autistic.
Jake is obsessed with numbers, scribbling endless strings of them on paper; their meaning is obscure, although they seem to be part of a "Fibonacci sequence," the mathematical basis for whirling patterns in things like pineapples and galaxies. In the opener, Jake runs away from his special-needs school, and Martin, working as a baggage handler at JFK, finds him atop a steel tower in a remote industrial site. Child protective services are called, and a social worker, Clea Hopkins (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), gets involved.
Iraq, Japan, the U.K. and Ireland (sure signs Fox has sold this internationally, which it has).
Danny Glover has a memorable role as the doctor who explains, "The whole cosmic field of humanity comes down to electromagnetic energy and connections." (Uh-huh. Noted.) Meanwhile, Tim Kring, mastermind of "Heroes," created this packed world, which explains a bit more.
Jake is almost like a new "hero" and "Touch" an imaginative -- in some ways, ingenious -- extension of that NBC series. But Kring has stripped the comic book sensibility by grounding it in the real world, and by turning Jake and his father into plausible real-world people, filled with grief, sorrow, worry and, in Jake's case, the tragic impenetrability of autism. There are some tragicomic brush strokes to remind us that we're not in "24" anymore. Martin, for example, won't climb a tower because he admits that he's afraid of heights. His wife also died at the World Trade Center.