Friday, January 10, 2020

REVIEW: 'Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector' - Lincoln and Amelia Team Up to Take Down a Serial Killer in 'Pilot'

NBC's Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector - Episode 1.01 "Pilot"

Three years after the Bone Collector ended his career, Detective Lincoln Rhyme teams with NYPD officer Amelia Sachs to investigate a series of murders that suggest the killer's return and an unlikely team is born.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of NBC's Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector.

"Pilot" was written by VJ Boyd & Mark Bianculli and directed by Seth Gordon

This premiere is riddled with an insane amount of cliches. Every storytelling twist and character detail present here has been seen by savvy viewers before. As such, the execution needs to be impeccable or unique in order for the audience to remain engaged with the familiar material. None of that is present here. Instead, it just embraces these choices believing them to be special and original when they are far from that. Lincoln Rhyme is a detective who became obsessed with the serial killer he was hunting. He is willing to compromise his own health and the safety of others just in order to catch him. Meanwhile, the Bone Collector is a serial killer who actively provokes local law enforcement because it contributes to the thrill of the kill for him. Elsewhere, the family members of the lead investigators are thrown into harm's way because of how personal they quickly become with the case. In the end, it was actually a copycat serial killer who was committing these latest murders simply because they just happen to be a fan of the true killer who remains in hiding. The Bone Collector is actually living a perfectly pleasant life hiding in the shadows even though he has a locked wine cellar where he is torturing his latest victim. And finally, a network television show based on known intellectual property takes the format that worked in one medium and turns it into a procedural in order to make the transition to this one. None of these choices are thrilling. In fact, they are mostly just lazy writing where it doesn't even feel like the show is actively trying to challenge the audience. There are numerous suggestions that say Lincoln should be compared to Sherlock Holmes because he is willing to see what others choose to ignore every single day. However, a lot of the investigation is ultimately done by the technology analysis of the clues left behind. Only then does Lincoln have some great insight to offer the proceedings. Sure, it's miraculous how his brain works and the various connections he makes in the pursuit of saving lives. But he is also a jaded individual who no longer sees the noble calling of this profession. Amelia Sachs may have just been biding her time as a patrol officer until she could become a profiler for the FBI. However, she has a genuine interest in the safety and well-being of the public she has sworn an oath to protect. Meanwhile, Lincoln operates with a superiority complex. The narrative even chooses to reveal that the Bone Collector felt spurned by Lincoln ten years ago and that's why he became the serial killer who could endlessly torture him. Again, it feels as if the narrative needs to point out these personal connections in order to make the story seem captivating to a certain segment of the audience. And yet, it's just the basic and traditional way to adapt this story in a way that seems exciting but isn't when one examines it closely. It's a formula done many times before. The execution here can even be offensive. Kate returns to Lincoln with the demand to be respected. Instead, that concern is treated like a joke and she just has to go about her job as if she isn't valued or appreciated in the way she deserves. Meanwhile, the show thinks it's good enough to say that Amelia has anxiety disorders without really being specific or allowing that to shade her ability to do this job. It has to compromise her at some point. That can be thrilling and character defining. Instead, it feels like one twist thrown in to make her situation even more tragic. Her parents were killed in front of her. And now, her sister has been kidnapped. All of this is happening in the premiere. The show is front loading the tragedy and hoping Lincoln wiggling his toes is enough to make all of it seem worth it in the end. It mostly just feels like the expected outcome. One where the audience can guess every single thing that is going to happen. That takes the viewer out of the experience and ensures they probably won't return for any more episodes to see how Lincoln adapts to being a consultant for the NYPD alongside Amelia and the rest of the team.