THE SERIES “Wisdom of the Crowd”
WHEN | WHERE Premieres Sunday at 8:30 p.m. on CBS/2; moves to 8 p.m. on Oct. 8.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT Jeffrey Tanner (Jeremy Piven) is a high-tech pioneer who sells his Silicon Valley startup to launch a crowdsourced app named Sophe that will help find killers. Or one killer in particular: that of his daughter, Mia (Abigail F. Cowen). He assembles a crack team, led by Sara Morton (Natalia Tena), and which includes a hacker, Tariq Bakari (Jake Matthews) and head programmer Josh Novak (Blake Lee). Meanwhile, Det. Cavanaugh (Richard T. Jones) from the Oakland P.D. moonlights to see what Sophe can do.
MY SAY How well you like “Wisdom” may depend on how well you like Piven, and because he so fully inhabited Ari Gold over seven seasons of “Entourage,” conflicted emotions are understandable. A little bit of Ari has followed Piven wherever he’s gone ever since — even over to England, where he became Mr. Selfridge in the PBS series of the same name. A little bit follows him here. Like Ari, Tanner is arrogant, full of himself, smarter than everyone else in the room and abrasive. He also loves his daughter, and has altruistic impulses (definitely not like Ari).
But Piven is a gifted actor who brings something original and fresh to most of his roles, and that’s the fundamental promise of “Wisdom” — otherwise a boilerplate procedural in high-tech drag. His supporting cast is good and that high-tech drag is compelling, until you realize that crowdsourced web-sleuthing is almost as old as the web and has a checkered record to match. Reddit gumshoes, for example, thought they caught the Boston Marathon bombers, until the cops caught the real ones. “Wisdom’s” not-bad pilot would have been better served by a description of what makes Sophe’s algorithms unique. In practice, it almost seems like a reboot of Facebook or a turbocharged version of Websleuths, the true-crime forum.
To “Wisdom’s” credit — so far anyway — this doesn’t look like the typical gruesome network cop drama arrayed with female victims and their predatory killers (even though there are two such victims in the pilot). It does look like a good idea in search of genuine high-tech bona fides.
BOTTOM LINE Good cast, good pilot, good Piven. What’s missing is tech plausibility.