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Perception (TNT) - Series Premiere: Synopsis and Review

Updated on August 19, 2012

TNT’s newest series 'Perception' revolves around dr. Daniel Pierce (Eric McCormack, ‘Will & Grace’), a neuroscience professor with paranoid schizophrenia. The FBI enlists his special talents to help them solve crimes. He works with Special Agent Kate Moretti, (Rachael Leigh Cook, ‘She’s All That’) a former student of his. Perception premiered on July 9, 2012 at 10/9c.

The first episode starts with Daniel giving a lecture about what reality is. When after his class, a student asks for help with her turn paper, Daniel downright says it's obviously code for sex and seeing as how he would get fired, he would have to decline. Although a friend of this student files a complaint, it later shows that Daniel was actually right about her intents. This is a first look into the amazing ‘powers’ of dr. Daniel Pierce.

To help his former student Kate, he starts to work with the FBI on a case where members of a company called ‘Tech San’ started receiving death threats. A man has died, and at first they suspected it was his wife who killed him, but Kate isn’t sure. The wife seems to have bulimia, and Kate figures this might also be a symptom for another mental illness. This is where Daniel comes in.
The woman has confessed she has killed her husband, Clark, supposedly because she needed the insurance money. However, Daniel interrogates her and insinuates she did certain things, like finding a stray cat. She starts remembering these things as if they were true, implying she has Korsakoff’s syndrome. She admitted to committing the murder because the police implied to her she did it. This would mean the person who was sending the death threats may not have been her either, and this person could in fact also be the one that killed Clark.

Daniel and Kate take a look at the letters that have been sent to the Tech San employees. All the death threats seem to include the phrase 'scum need a hearty reminder'. Daniel figures out it's an anagram for 'Tech San murdered Irene May'. Apparently, Irene May has been treated with an experimental drug against diabetes. Kate and Daniel pay a visit to Irene’s son to ask him about what happened.

When Kate enters the apartment with her fellow investigators, Irene’s son makes a run for it. Kate jumps of off the fire-escape to catch him. She has to be at least two stories high, though. Does she have superpowers?

After Daniel interrogates the son, it turns out he is the one to send the threats, but he didn’t commit the murder. This solves the case of the threats, which was basically all the FBI needed to solve. When Daniel wants Kate to go on with the murder investigation even though she isn’t supposed to, she confesses the reason why she was demoted from her former job was because she kept on stepping over the borders of her investigations. However, she still proceeds the investigation with him.

An investigation at Tech San shows that Irene was in the placebo group of the trial. Just when it seems they've hit a dead end, it turns out Carl’s wife had another reason to kill her husband: he was having an affair with a coworker called Valerie, who informs the police Carl was going to tell his wife he was leaving her the night of the murder.

Eric McCormack as Daniel Pierce
Eric McCormack as Daniel Pierce | Source

One night, a worker from Tech San comes to Daniel’s door and tells him the voices in his head told him his unanswered love of Valerie would stop hurting if he killed the victim.
Daniel calls to the other room for his assistent Lewicki to help him, but Lewicki doesn't understand why Daniel called him because there’s no one there. It dawns on Daniel that he is just imagining the man.

With some help of a friend Daniel uses the fact he had this 'vision' to analyse what his conscious and unconscious mind are telling him: Valerie is a liar.
Daniel gets an aphasiac, someone who has lost the ability to comprehend spoken language but without falter can determine whether someone is lying, to analyse Valeries interrogation. She lied about pretty much everything.
However, they cannot ask Valerie what was really going on, because she has been attacked. Her cell phone shows she had been calling with a Tech San executive, however.

With the help of his vision, Daniel figures out someone tampered with the drugs. Irene May received a placebo, according to the company, but Daniel believes these lists were compromised so they wouldn't have to pull the drug from the market. It seems Valerie found out who tampered with the results and she took the evidence to the lawyer of Tech San; her lover Carl. The man who tampered with the results has killed Carl and attacked Valerie.

Everyone thinks the case is solved, but Daniel’s vision-man is still around, so he figures the case can’t be over yet. Daniel figures out Clark and Valerie have been trying to kill Clark's wife by giving her the Tech San pills, with her Korsakoff’s being a side-effect of these pills. Valerie tried to cover up this attempted murder by pretending to expose the truth about the pills, which is why she called the Tech San executive. The man who falsified the test results interpreted Valerie’s pill-stealing ways as a sign she was trying to expose him, so he killed Clark and tried to kill Valerie.

Rachael Leigh Cook as Kate Moretti
Rachael Leigh Cook as Kate Moretti | Source

‘Perception’ is a very entertaining show if you’re a fan of the murder-solving-genre. It isn’t the first series that involves the FBI having a brilliant consultant helping them solve murders. However, although the basics are the same, it’s still a nice execution of the concept. Dr. Daniel Pierce isn’t just a schizophrenic, he is also very paranoid and feels contempt for everything governmental. It’s funny how this forms a contrast with him helping the FBI. Furthermore, Daniel’s assistant Lewicki helps him to determine whether a person is real of a hallucination, making the series more believable because this explains how Daniel functions in society, something a lot of series involving someone with mental alterations lack. On a side-note, I loved Eric McCormack as dr. Daniel Pierce.

All in all; I liked this series. I’m not sure as to whether I will continue watching this however, because, as I stated, there are a lot of series like this already. I do see a lot of potential for this series to evolve and differentiate itself from those other series, though. Only time will tell if this will happen.

What do you think of 'Perception'?

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    • Robin Oatley profile image

      Robin Oatley 5 years ago

      Hi American View,

      When I saw this show, 'Numbers' was the first thing that popped into my mind. I hope there will be some development in this show however. I liked how they at least had a twist in their case, because let's face it: pretty much every scenario has already been used at least twenty times in series like this. I wouldn't mind if that is where 'Perception' differs from other shows!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • American View profile image

      American View 5 years ago from Plano, Texas

      Great hub and review, awesome.

      This show is what is wrong with Hollywood today, no originality left. This show is a combinations of Numbers, Criminal Minds, and Monk . Should be interesting to see where this show goes.