Fox’s new sci-fi crime drama Minority Report is set in 2065 in the same universe, kind of, as the 2002 movie Minority Report starring Tom Cruise, which was itself a loose adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s 1991 short story of the same name.
The conflicts between the two pre-existing Minority Report universes is probably why the show starts with a bright blinking neon sign: EXPOSITION.
Lara Vega, played by Meagan Good, gives us a voiceover of what we need to know: The PreCogs — Agatha, Arthur, and our very own Dash — were the subjects of experiments that left them with the precognitive gift. They’re psychic in the worst way possible: they see all of the murders that are about to happen around them.
As with all special gifts that the government finds out about, it was exploited and they were forced to work seeing the future and preventing murders in the PreCrime PD Unit which was shut down 10 years before the start of this show. Because they were no longer useful, the PreCogs were sent to live in an undisclosed location away from people and visions of homicide (if you saw the movie, this is pretty much where it ended).
Cut to present day 2065, we meet Dash, one of the PreCogs, who has left his idyllic rural hideaway and is in the big city. He still has his gift and sees murders. But now instead of being strapped to a chair next to his brother and sister getting full pictures, he sees just fragments.
He’s compelled to act on these visions, so he rushes to find these future crime scenes hoping to prevent them from becoming actual crime scenes. Like all action heroes, he checks his watch a lot, repeats clues out loud, and – of course – doesn’t pay his subway fare. That’s how we know he’s serious. He is still running to the future crime scene when a woman’s body is thrown from a window. [Insert iconic shot of all the bystanders rushing towards the action, as our hero walks away disappointed.]
Now we’re getting to the meat of the show’s premise: destiny versus free will. And my own mounting disappointment.
So we have a dead body, an inconsistent psychic, and [cue the drum roll] a gritty homicide detective. Now I like cop shows. I like sci-fi shows. I get the odd couple trope of hardened cop and naive informant/sidekick but from here on out it was like watching The Adventures of Opie Cunningham and Michael Jackson’s Coat from “Thriller” IN THE FUTURE.*
*By “in the future,” I mean that I knew this was set in the future because they were using Google Glass and had all the same special effects as CSI:Cyber.
Dash finds Lara and gives her a lead. But he, like all fairy princesses before him, leaves his shoe, I mean bag, by accident and she is able to track him down (because: the future). Shortly after she finds him, he has a vision seizure in a diner and asks her, as young Dash asked a doctor during the heavy-handed introduction, “Can you see?”
So clearly, she knows from those three words that he’s a PreCog – and not that he has any of a hundred medical conditions of which seizures are a symptom. Sigh.
Antics ensue. They chase criminals, future and otherwise. They interrogate perps. They violate civil rights. So, y’know, cop show stuff.
What becomes clear is that Dash is the weakest of the three PreCogs. He sees fragments: a killer’s face, a room number, or a location. His brother, Arthur, played by a McSteamy stunt chin double, gets names, numbers, and other concrete clues that would actually enable someone to stop a crime. Their sister Agatha gets the most complete pre-cognitions of all.
It could be no other way. Because of his weaknesses, Dash needs Lara and Lara needs…
Wait. Lara is a cop. A cop who has been “copping” for a minute. So why does she…? I guess because every good Black female cop needs an inept White sidekick with no social skills? To be fair, Dash does help “solve” the initial murder and prevent an attack (more on this in a moment), but Lara’s Lieutenant (and angry sexual tension partner), Blake (played by the “After” pic of Fez), had a lead that led to the exact same place that our odd couple found the killer.
Which brings us back to what this show is about: destiny versus free will. How much can we really control in our lives? Are we delaying the inevitable? Does Dash already know that I’m not gonna watch next week?
These question were cemented by Dash’s brother and sister in the closing scene. Outside on Agatha’s porch, they discuss her visions of being brought back in. Neither has told Dash about these visions (and he can’t see his own future so, I guess he’s SOL.) They don’t intend to be taken back in and used. So the stakes are set and most of the players were introduced.