News

10 Things We Learned About The High-Tech Cop Show APB

Star Justin Kirk, creator Matt Nix, and director Len Wiseman fight crime with drones and apps, but not X-ray guns.

by | February 2, 2017 | Comments

APB: Ernie Hudson, Caitlin Stacey, Justin Kirk (FOX)

Cop shows are a dime a dozen on television, so Fox’s new police drama does something different to make an impression. APB brings drones and apps to a Chicago police precinct.

Justin Kirk plays Gideon Reed, a tech billionaire who witnesses a friend die in an armed robbery. Frustrated that the police couldn’t get there in time to save his friend, Gideon buys a precinct and applies his gadgets to police work. Natalie Martinez plays Det. Theresa Murphy, Ernie Hudson is Capt. Ned Conrad, and Caitlin Stasey plays Ada Hamilton, the technician navigating all of Gideon’s toys.

Kirk, series creator Matt Nix, and pilot director Len Wiseman spoke with Rotten Tomatoes at Fox’s party for the Television Critics Association. Here are 10 reasons to get excited about their modern take on cop shows.


1. APB IS BURN NOTICE MEETS SCORPION

APB: Natalie Martinez in APB premiering Monday, Feb. 6 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: FOX

Nix’s first long-running series was USA’s spy caper Burn Notice, and according to him, the worlds of cops and spies are closer than you might think.

“There’s a lot of social engineering and physical engineering in both of them,” Nix said. “In Burn Notice, often they would build something or devise some approach that involved specialized knowledge and an engineer’s mind. In this show, the main character is literally an engineer and he is devising approaches.”

Nix has nothing to do with CBS’s Scorpion but thinks APB could mimic their tech geniuses’ ingenuity.

“What we’re doing is maybe a little closer to Scorpion in that it’s what can we build, what we can make,” Nix said. “The pace of technology has accelerated to the point where it is credible to say, ‘Oh, we’ve been presented with a problem. Let’s come up with a technological solution in the next few days.’”


2. GIDEON REED IS TOTALLY TONY STARK

APB: Justin Kirk in APB premiering Monday, Feb. 6 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: FOX

Gideon is a tech billionaire who profited on weapons and likes to tell people off, but then tries to use his technology to do some good. Sound familiar? Of course, Kirk puts his own spin on it, and he doesn’t have an Iron Man suit, but he could be a Tony Stark type.

“I suppose I’ve heard that or Batman,” Kirk said. “I didn’t think about it on the day when we were going to work. It makes sense on some level.”

Wiseman said Stark is one of many inspirations. “[He’s] a bit of a hybrid of Tony Stark, Elon Musk, [and] Bill Gates,” Wiseman said.

Nix totally came clean on the Tony Stark comparison. “Oh, 100 percent,” Nix admitted. “I was a huge Iron Man fan. There’s no question that, hopefully in the most respectful way, this series owes a debt to Iron Man. To some extent, one of the things that engaged me about the idea was, what if that could be real?”


3. IT’S NOT SCI-FI, IT’S SCI-NOW

APB: PITCH:L-R: Justin Kirk and Caitlin Stacey in APB coming soon to FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Chuck Hodes / FOX

In directing the pilot and setting the template for the series, Len Wiseman made sure not to advance the technology too far.

“Every bit of technology and idea that we’re using in the episodes is either technology that exists today or is being developed today,” Wiseman said. “We sat with a lot of futurists and engineers from various industries about what the technology is and how that would benefit if we were to bring that technology into policing and law enforcement. It was very topical but also makes you question why we are not using the kind of technology that Apple has.”


4. IT WASN’T ALWAYS PERSONAL

APB: Justin Kirk in APB premiering Monday, Feb. 6 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: FOX

Using technology to solve crimes is such a good idea, it shouldn’t take a tragedy to apply it. Earlier versions had looser motivations.

“There were various versions of the pilot before we did it,” Kirk said. “It wasn’t always that. It was a stranger that died once. There was always an event. I guess, to me, what I saw it as was here’s a guy who made a s—load of money with his talents. Then when this thing came up, he thought, ‘Well, maybe I’ll do something ostensibly altruistic with it.’”


5. APB THRIVES ON REALISM

APB: Natalie Martinez in APB premiering Monday, Feb. 6 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: FOX

The efficiency on display in shows like CSI and Law & Order is only make believe. The need for a Gideon Reed is very real.

“The scene in the pilot that was important to me was him going to the police district and saying, essentially, ‘Don’t you have forensics? Don’t you have all these things I’ve seen on TV?’” Nix said. “The reality for most police stations in America is they don’t have those things. There aren’t sleek tech labs.”

Nix was partly inspired by a robbery he suffered. The police dusted for fingerprints but couldn’t find any, and Nix went down to the station to look at an old school mugshot book. “That was always interesting to me, a billionaire going, ‘Oh, wait a second. I thought this was handled, but it’s not. If someone’s going handle it, I’ve got to do it myself,’” Nix said.


6. THE TECH IS NOT ALWAYS GOOD

APB: L-R: Caitlin Stacey and Justin Kirk in APB premiering Monday, Feb. 6 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: FOX

As helpful as drones and apps can prove to be, not every episode of APB is about how great Gideon’s technology is. Look for the ones where he makes matters worse.

“I think there are episodes where he does bad things, which I was thrilled about,” Kirk said. “As much as I like having a hero speech to give and playing the hero and being Batman, I wanted to make sure that we had times on the show where it was like, ‘Oh, this is actually a terrible idea, and here’s where it could go wrong.’ Sometimes it’s a good idea and sometimes it’s a terrible idea.”


7. THE APP IS PRANK PROOF

APB: Natalie Martinez in APB premiering Monday, Feb. 6 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: FOX

Gideon’s first suggestion is an APB app, where citizens can tap their phone to call the police instead of trying to get through to 911. Great in theory, but what’s to stop people from pranking the app by tapping it for a false alarm? Even worse, what if criminals use it to misdirect the police?

“If you provide an app that allows you to draw in the police within a certain area, why wouldn’t the criminals do that?” Wiseman said. “You want to do a home invasion at this location, let’s have everybody put a bunch of APB calls, essentially 911 calls, in this [other] area. That would be a problem, and we deal with that.”

Wiseman said they address the downside of the app within the first several episodes, but Nix already thought of how the it could outsmart pranksters. “There’s a bit of an algorithm for sorting through it,” Nix said. “If you think about it from a data perspective, a prank call might look a little different. It’s basically like the timing of a prank call is different. The way it looks is different, where it comes from is different. So there are ways of mining the data where you can figure that out.”


8. APB‘S TECH GURU ISN’T JUST A SUIT

APB: Justin Kirk in APB premiering Monday, Feb. 6 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: FOX

Gideon isn’t trying to play hero himself. He only wants to be the brains behind the force. Still, this is television, so eventually, Gideon embarks onto the streets.

“Luckily for me, I got to stay in a good portion of the time, but yeah, I got out there occasionally to various effects,” Kirk teased.


9. THE CREATORS PUT SERIOUS THOUGHT INTO THE TECH

APB: L-R: Justin Kirk and Caitlin Stacey in APB premiering Monday, Feb. 6 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: FOX

The writers concocted some fanciful tech that couldn’t possibly exist today, or ever.

“A writer pitched, for an episode we didn’t do, a handheld X-ray device that could X-ray storage containers with a little handheld device,” Nix said. “You could just see on a screen what was in the storage container. An X-ray powerful enough to go through a storage container is called a death ray. That would kill anyone on the other side of it, and also that’s not how X-rays work.”

Only Superman can X-ray something from one side only. “If we don’t have a plate on the other side, X-rays can’t see through it,” Nix said. “So we looked into some sonar technologies but basically concluded there’s really nothing right now that is capable of doing that.”


10. THE TECH IS UTILIZED IN CREATIVE WAYS

APB: Ernie Hudson in APB premiering Monday, Feb. 6 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: FOX

Gideon relies so much on technology, cyber crime would really hit him where it hurts.

“There’s a really great one that takes place at a tech conference that Gideon is at,” Nix said. “How would he engage in a very high tech crime with a very sophisticated bad guy?”

Another episode deals with using technology to make interrogations more effective. “One of our writers was an Army interrogator,” Nix said. “We just asked him, ‘What would be on your wish list?’ It’s a really fun episode where they have a very advanced form of biofeedback that they can use to enhance interrogation.”


APB premieres Monday, February 6 at 9PM on FOX.


Tag Cloud

stand-up comedy science fiction Discovery Channel basketball king arthur Mary Tyler Moore Spike zombie best Disney+ Disney Plus classics toy story VICE cooking 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Marathons Infographic blockbusters Bravo FOX harry potter El Rey Fantasy Spectrum Originals Epix directors Pacific Islander American Society of Cinematographers TV Land Disney Channel Biopics war reboot Walt Disney Pictures transformers kids The Walking Dead Super Bowl rotten movies we love Polls and Games cancelled TV series sopranos Esquire animated Ellie Kemper Amazon 4/20 Awards Holidays Shondaland all-time spinoff HBO book adaptation crime drama Music Avengers Crackle ViacomCBS scorecard Disney Plus Disney Comic-Con@Home 2021 Apple richard e. Grant parents movies Set visit 93rd Oscars Oscars 007 Paramount Plus HBO Max AMC Plus Valentine's Day women adaptation psycho RT History ABC Family anthology facebook Mary Poppins Returns rt labs black comedy Paramount Network legend theme song Pop DC streaming service Amazon Studios new zealand Ovation Disney streaming service jamie lee curtis NBC Paramount Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Horror movie medical drama Winter TV miniseries satire vs. singing competition Anna Paquin golden globe awards Star Trek CMT criterion italian telelvision ratings documentary adventure Legendary Comics on TV Warner Bros. Family NBA crime Awards Tour stoner 2021 Superheroes Western foreign Television Critics Association DGA RT21 romantic comedy TCM cancelled social media SXSW strong female leads what to watch Pirates Tomatazos Cannes biography critic resources disaster Columbia Pictures boxing name the review President franchise Starz mission: impossible 1990s new york razzies unscripted GIFs Marvel Studios stop motion feel good sitcom The Witch popular See It Skip It art house E3 FX Elton John french CBS blaxploitation Sci-Fi critics Crunchyroll Rom-Com TCA 2017 ESPN Nominations Christmas dexter vampires dogs aliens IFC twilight Quiz Classic Film football Creative Arts Emmys fresh Lucasfilm Rocketman spanish 24 frames debate Sundance Sneak Peek cats Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt dreamworks Britbox cults Amazon Prime Countdown tv talk Sony Pictures revenge A24 mockumentary monster movies biopic rt labs critics edition hist Academy Awards cartoon ITV trailers GoT archives MSNBC Musical concert CNN Drama Hulu game show MCU japan aapi Universal Pictures worst movies live event renewed TV shows Kids & Family Adult Swim universal monsters Exclusive Video OWN Film olympics The Arrangement docudrama fast and furious CW Seed chucky canceled genre superhero APB Photos films pirates of the caribbean Black History Month DC Comics Marvel Television cars spider-verse Tumblr PlayStation based on movie 72 Emmy Awards TCA Awards marvel cinematic universe VH1 TV cops psychological thriller New York Comic Con USA Network political drama Tokyo Olympics comiccon south america sequel Comic Book WGN international natural history adenture hispanic 90s Netflix teaser blockbuster DC Universe Action ID dark 2018 discovery Apple TV Plus period drama The Purge YouTube Alien Superheroe spy thriller target E! gangster rotten Calendar historical drama book golden globes DirecTV Pride Month marvel comics Logo Trailer TNT Mystery YouTube Red SundanceTV FX on Hulu Grammys saw emmy awards black Tubi kaiju deadpool ghosts venice king kong PaleyFest sequels christmas movies spain Fox News elevated horror TCA Chernobyl high school Election LGBT green book Fall TV cancelled television TruTV zombies HBO Go technology lord of the rings space Neflix posters Holiday Rocky comic book movies comedies talk show History kong screen actors guild news comic 2019 Endgame scary series anime spanish language australia TCA Winter 2020 a nightmare on elm street dragons scary movies hollywood BBC One Nat Geo slashers BBC Spring TV live action Musicals Year in Review royal family MTV halloween tv Captain marvel 21st Century Fox cancelled TV shows television worst rt archives Comedy james bond dc Mary poppins WarnerMedia young adult Interview indie docuseries Dark Horse Comics The Walt Disney Company new star wars movies toronto halloween Pixar dceu composers OneApp Emmy Nominations Universal breaking bad children's TV First Reviews scene in color Brie Larson 71st Emmy Awards IFC Films Vudu rom-coms Emmys quibi politics NYCC Pet Sematary Heroines robots Television Academy cinemax Lifetime Christmas movies 73rd Emmy Awards Wes Anderson TBS travel Rock Opinion streaming Netflix Christmas movies Cartoon Network National Geographic Cosplay Marvel Premiere Dates video action-comedy SDCC YouTube Premium video on demand ABC Signature Image Comics Women's History Month independent mutant Summer nfl Nickelodeon Star Wars nbcuniversal LGBTQ Podcast BET VOD laika Tarantino wonder woman Box Office casting 45 Animation Schedule The CW suspense comics indiana jones Lifetime AMC The Academy free movies zero dark thirty documentaries San Diego Comic-Con TV One ABC BAFTA FXX Turner Classic Movies prank mcc TV movies reviews Travel Channel latino CBS All Access A&E hidden camera Watching Series Baby Yoda Amazon Prime Video BET Awards PBS crossover 2017 Mudbound Peacock batman comic books Trivia Certified Fresh Character Guide IMDb TV godzilla Acorn TV game of thrones Toys boxoffice romance slasher dramedy Best and Worst supernatural spider-man serial killer Shudder Thanksgiving sports screenings police drama Instagram Live Pop TV 2015 witnail Food Network 2020 20th Century Fox Black Mirror Martial Arts Hallmark Christmas movies nature asian-american Funimation 2016 BBC America Showtime superman justice league child's play Video Games Binge Guide crime thriller Sundance Now canceled TV shows sag awards Stephen King Reality Competition TIFF award winner binge festivals joker Teen streaming movies TLC Extras comic book movie Hear Us Out Country doctor who TV renewals Arrowverse First Look Broadway Masterpiece Reality thriller mob heist movie Sundance TV hispanic heritage month know your critic Turner Comedy Central Lionsgate Freeform die hard Red Carpet Syfy diversity remakes Ghostbusters Writers Guild of America YA Trophy Talk Mindy Kaling Hallmark jurassic park Film Festival true crime versus GLAAD USA X-Men japanese Song of Ice and Fire obituary festival 99% Apple TV+ Fox Searchlight werewolf Winners finale