More '17th Precinct' Details - Jamie Bamber News
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More '17th Precinct' Details
When NBC announced they were moving forward with production on the pilot for Ron Moore's 17th Precinct, the media quickly dubbed the project "an adult Harry Potter". Having had the opportunity to take a look at the casting sides, thanks to the generosity of greycoupon, I have to disagree with the generalization. I hate making comparisons, but if I had to compare it to another work of fiction, I would go with The Dresdan Files. TV Squad had a fair assessment of the series, calling it a "new magical-world-based police drama". And bonus points for stating, because of Jamie's involvement, "This pilot just went from intriguing to must-see TV." :)

I'm not able to share the sides. Certain people may not be pleased with me if I did. ;) I also don't wish to spoil too much since a lot seems to be happening in the first episode. But to satisfy some of your curiosity, I'm going to provide character descriptions, a few details and general impressions. I will say to beware of minor spoilers, but anything I saw that I kind of wished I hadn't I'm leaving out.


Caolan (KAY-lawn) Longstreet (played by Jamie Bamber): Caolan is blonde, has short hair, a slender build, very fit, in his mid 30s, and projects a seriousness of purpose and deep focus. (Hmmm, I'm wondering if Ron may have written this part with Jamie in mind. :) He's married to Susan and they have two children, Doreen, 7, and Boyle, 11. It's established Caolan is studying for his sergeant's exam and is struggling with finances (along with most people right about now).

Jeff Bosson: Caolan's partner. Jeff has a British accent (seems Jamie may have to suppress his again), is also in his 30s, has long dark hair, also slender, but with the professional slouch of someone who takes pride in avoiding the gym. He and Caolan seem to be friends as well as partners.

Susan: Caolan's wife. She owns an antique store. There's a bit more about her character, but I feel it gets into spoiler territory.

Morgana: The only physical characteristic I could pick up on is she has long hair. She's likely in her 30s as well. As for a job description, psychic coroner came to mind. It also occurred to me that could be the basis for a new reality series! I can't put my finger on why exactly, but I can picture Tricia Helfer in the role.

Detective Sergeant Mira Barkley (played by Stockard Channing): No sides and in all likelihood Stockard was offered the part without auditioning. In an earlier press releases, Mira was described as "a fiercely intelligent former homicide detective who’s working in the robbery division of the 17th Precinct." A few additional tidbits contained in a rather exposition heavy exchange: she's divorced, no kids and has a younger sister. Mira strikes me as strong, opinionated and quick to react.

Detective Jimmy Travers: 25, a rookie and Mira's new partner. There's also discussion of him being an "intuitive savant".

DCI Wilder Blanks: There are no sides for this character and thus no description (perhaps he's already been cast?). He interacts rather extensively with several main and supporting characters and it's clear he doesn't disappear at the end of the first episode. He might be a former partner of Mira's.

Liam Butterfield: Mira's immediate superior. Apparently, Liam used to be...Lisa. There's some potentially intriguing hints of gender swapping and the ability to make people younger and older in the script. Ron may also be tackling sexuality in a way he didn't on BSG.

General Thoughts: This definitely reads as a Ron Moore creation. There's no mention of God, or gods, but there is a spiritual element. The case being investigated, the murder of Excelsior's Executive Profit Donald Pynchon (yes, really), takes place at the time of the Equinox celebration. A celebration that involves giving thanks. Yet, while people may rely on the profit to tell them what tomorrow may bring, we find out prophesy has a political component and nothing is officially released to the public until it's reviewed.

It looks like the sides were cobbled together from at least two early drafts, which explains why some of the dialogue can use work. And there is a lot of, well, not techno-babble, but paranormal-babble? There's a discussion of hexes vs curses. Hand gestures can move manipulate objects and the gathering of evidence. Herbs, potions and bugs are investigative tools. OK, in fairness, on Bones, bugs provide important evidence all the time. ;)

And while Excelsior is the fictional city in which the series takes place, Mira mentions growing up in Mineapolis and there is a view described as "stretching from The Golden Gate Bridge (almost exactly the same, but without the cabling) to the small island of Alcatraz (without the decrepit prison). So, will we be viewing an alternate reality or parallel dimension? (Think: Fringe)

The timeline could easily be present day or the near future. The internet exists, though it operates differently than what we use on a daily basis. Cars have no steering wheels and drive themselves, which I think is safe to say is only a matter of time.

Overall, I am intrigued. Although, I do believe strong writing and casting (which they have a good start on) is needed to really sell the material.

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Comments
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: February 16th, 2011 05:51 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I agree 100% on the Dresden Files comparison. And as was noted over on battlestar_blog in the comments... that's not at all a bad thing. ;) (I've gotten the impression that the HP comparison may have been chucked out during a pitch meeting in an attempt to get the network brass to soften to the concept. Something in the most catch-all pop culture terms that they can understand. XD Why no, I don't underestimate network suits AT ALL...)

The spiritual element, and in particular the celebration of the Equinox, has an element of Pagan underpinnings (not all that surprising given the premise of the show) which IMO is very, very intriguing to introduce into a network drama. That's the kind of religion I can get behind. ;)

Without getting into the spoilers which will not be discussed, I'm definitely attempting not to read too much into what may be going on or where that storyline might go... simply because, well, we have nothing but portions of a script to go on. (And who knows whether or not this will end up being a 90-minute premiere or two-parter opener or what.) It would be thorougly unwise to make any assumptions. ;) I love the description of Caolan, though; to me there seems to be a great deal that plays to Jamie's strengths and will challenge him in ways that perhaps he hasn't been before.

Positively in love with the TV aspect of Liam's character, too. Push that envelope, Ron. PUSH IT HARD. *applause*
anamarya From: anamarya Date: February 16th, 2011 01:45 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
This sounds very interesting. and the idea of having a show with both magical elements and cops in it is very close to my heart because I kind of like both of them.
wickedgillie From: wickedgillie Date: February 16th, 2011 03:06 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
This sounds SO FRAKKING AMAZING plus there's a character named Liam! My small son approves.
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: February 16th, 2011 09:08 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Couple of things I forgot to add before...

- Although, I do believe strong writing and casting (which they have a good start on) is needed to really sell the material.

Absolutely. It's really difficult to weigh in completely on this without having a WHOLE script to appraise, but frankly 80% of the pilot scripts I've had the chance to read before the show hit the air aren't as good as the final product. The only one I can think of off-hand that was is Alias (still the best pilot script I've EVER read, or seen); even in the case of BSG, though I love the mini very much, IMO it's not nearly as good as "33" or other subsequent episodes. Of course, it has the advantage of longer run-time; a better example is "Fringe", the pilot was relatively weak compared to the positively dynamite stuff they are up to now. But it was elevated by good direction and, more importantly, a superb cast that kept me watching even as the show took half a season to really find its legs and start sprinting. ;)

- On a less evaluative note - THANK YOU, greycoupon. Sharing is caring. ;)
xwacky From: xwacky Date: February 16th, 2011 10:23 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Hee, I'm so jealous of you lucky girl for being able to read the sides! But then, thank you very much to take the time and give us a glimpse about the characters.

Huh, I'm guessing the HP reference may suggest these characters dwell in the world where there are parallel universes, one normal as we know it, the other magical and supernatural, and there's a conduit between them that these characters can pass through back and forth.

Given I'm a huge fan of Supernatural these days, I'm eager to see how RDM takes on the world of (what else) supernatural. ;)
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: February 16th, 2011 11:45 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Huh, I'm guessing the HP reference may suggest these characters dwell in the world where there are parallel universes, one normal as we know it, the other magical and supernatural, and there's a conduit between them that these characters can pass through back and forth.

It's certainly possible, though short of reading the whole script I wouldn't venture a guess. My presumption just based on the sides was that it was more of an alternate reality than a parallel universe situation - not so much that the magic world is aware of the muggle world, a-la-HP, and sort of supercedes it.


*WARNING... POTENTIAL FRINGE S3 SPOILERS BELOW....*

Rather more like the construct in Fringe, whereby some cities/parts of the world in the alternate universe are more or less the same, but others quite different. (New York City/state is more or less the same, though the Twin Towers are still standing, Statue of Liberty is polished to her original copper, etc. Meanwhile, a map of the alternate U.S. shows half of California missing, Texas split into North and South states, Kansas and Oklahoma joined as a state called "Midland", and all sorts of other differences.

To take it one step further, there's the notion that this show's universe is presented as the ONLY one known to exist, i.e., there is no "parallel" world to represent the "real" world. (Best example like this would probably be Watchmen; the 1985 presented there doesn't exist parallel to "our" own, it simply IS. It's a complete "what-if". ;) )
xwacky From: xwacky Date: February 17th, 2011 01:39 am (UTC) (Link Me)
Mmm, I agree with you that short of seeing the pilot or at least reading the whole script, there is no way to know how RDM is going to build his 'verse. I was just puzzled by th HP comparison because reading the description of these characters here, I couldn't quite see anything readily calls to mind HP character-wise, hence my guess at the world building. But I see your point. All the possibilities you mentioned here sound quite interesting too.
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: February 17th, 2011 04:40 am (UTC) (Link Me)
Tee hee - that's kinda what I meant in the comment above (1st one in the thread.) The HP comparison seems so imprecise, that's why I'm sticking by my theory that it came out in a pitch meeting to give the suits a selling point. XD And apparently somebody ran with it!
xwacky From: xwacky Date: February 17th, 2011 04:49 am (UTC) (Link Me)
Haha! I totally can see that scenario happen. \o/
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: February 17th, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Actually, I just thought of a potential HP comparison that might kinda work. ;) Just comparing the premise to HP in general seems a stretch, but if you drill down and, say, present it as: "What if it were a show about aurors? Not specific to Rowling's universe in that they are dark wizard hunters, mind you.. but essentially those who are tasked with policing in ways that defend against, as well as utilize, magic for investigation." And you know, aurors are essentially just government employees, they have work issues, they have baggage, they have babies (Hi, Teddy Lupin. ;) )

I can't imagine anything THAT specific would make it into a pitch meeting, of course. Hee. But it's a stronger comparison IMO.
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