TNT offers audience a new Perception

By JoJo Brinkhoff
Entertainment Editor

Entering its second season, TNT’s newest TV series, Perception, gives it’s viewers a new twist in the murder mystery. The show is aired every Tuesday at 10/9c p.m.

Daniel Pierce (Eric McCormack: Will & Grace) is an eccentric neuroscientist professor and a schizophrenic who can solve problems by understanding the brain. When recruited by federal agent, Kate Moretti, (Rachael Leigh Cook: Abigail Lytar in Psych) as an assistant for her cases, Pierce uses his unique gift to solve complex crimes. In some ways, Perception is similar to the TV series Criminal Minds the way Pierce can empathize with the victims, witnesses and killers by understanding how their brains work and using it for leverage. The difference is Criminal Minds digs deep into the killer’s mind to find who his next target is, making the episodes disturbing to the viewers. Perception, on the other hand, uses the scientific leverage when asking questions and getting confessions which make the episodes a little more lighthearted. Like every murder series, Moretti and Pierce must find clues from the evidences gathered and from witness statements; the difference, however, is how Pierce connects the clues. Pierce hallucinates certain people such as his friend Natalie Vincent (Kelly Rowan: Kisten Cohen in The O.C.) as a way to keep his sanity, so when facing difficult situations, his talks to Natalie or a significant person that associates with the mystery. Because of these hallucinations, the episodes can be difficult to follow if watched out of order.

Even though there is some drama in the series, it does not deal much with love relationships. Although the viewers can sense the chemistry between Pierce and Moretti at times, the center of the drama is Pierce’s struggles with his hallucinations vs. reality, connecting with people around him and learning to let go of his fears.

As for believability, there are times when the viewer know that things would not happen the way they did. In one episode, for example, Moretti runs inside a house alone to arrest a serial killer. Another example is when two men set up a murder in front of Pierce to get the FBI’s attention, one of them kills the other and then covers his tracks. Anyone who is familiar with murder mysteries would have known that there is no way a college student could cover his tracks without the feds finding evidence at the crime scene.

The cast choice seems to fit their characters well. McCormack does a good job acting as a schizophrenic professor. Cook’s portrait of Moretti does not match quite as well. For instance, Cook looks and sounds too young and prissy for an agent who tackles men twice her size and weight. If she at least looked two years older, then Cook could pull her character much better. Rowan and Arjay Smith (The Day After Tomorrow) make the perfect encounter for McCormack. Playing as Pierce’s assistant Max Lewicki, Smith is the person in the reality world who protects Pierce from being lost in his mind, while Rowan is the person in Pierce’s hallucination who he can talk to when reality became too much for him. Between the two actors, the viewers learn much about Pierce. Jonathan Scarfe (Charlie Sagansky in Raising the Bar) suits his role as the special agent Roger Probert who plays the ‘bad cop’ routine with Moretti. Regardless of his good performance, the viewers have a hard time liking him because of his ‘bad cop’ routine.

As for the camera work, the angles and movement were shot very clear, giving the viewers a well-defined view of the scenes without all the distractions of a continuous rotating camera.

The make-up work, on the other hand, is easily noticeable. For instance, when Pierce and Moretti are interviewing a man and his wife, the make-up work is obvious on the man’s swollen eye. The victims at a crime scene are rarely shown to the viewers, depending on how brutal the murder was. However, this is a positive thing for viewers who either do not handle murder scenes or those whom like to watch shows without all the blood and gore.

Despite its flaws, Perception is an enjoyable mystery series for those who likes understanding the mind of the killer or the fact that the murders are not too descriptive like CSI and Castle. Other than a couple of sexual scenes, it is a safe series for the family to enjoy.