First appearing in Jeffery Deaver’s 1997 novel The Bone Collector and the 1999 film of the same name, quadriplegic forensic criminalist Lincoln Rhyme now comes to the small screen with Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector. Presented by NBC and starring Russel Hornsby (Seven Seconds, Grimm) as the title character and Arielle Kebbel (Gilmore Girls, The Vampire Diaries) as rookie detective Amelia Sachs, we get yet another CSI-esque show with typical detective tropes and very little else...
...Perhaps the downfall of the pilot episode comes from the time restraints of having a 42-minute run time which limits some of the story development and demands the pacing to present at a breakneck speed. Within the first episode the creators attempt to lay a great deal of back story for the two main characters as well as demonstrate the technology necessary for investigations, build the mythology of the serial killer, and create suspense as the police race against time to save the victims. All of which could have benefited from an extended timeframe.
The investigation aspect of the series does not differ terribly from other shows within the genre, but the lead actor does offer his own spin on the detective character. Hornsby quickly establishes the cockiness of his character and through flashbacks we learn his stubbornness and ability to excel as an investigator existed long before his crippling injury. Rhyme compares his deductive ability to Sherlock Holmes and states a lot of Doyle’s fictional character’s super-powers came from Holmes’ dedication to learning about every inch of the city and its history. Rhyme’s knowledge seems flawless and as long as the killer hides somewhere in the city, the paralyzed detective can easily decipher any clue and locate the kidnapped person. Depending on how frequently this ability comes in to play, future episodes most likely will fall into predictable patterns of Lincoln simply looking at a map and pointing out the right location. Hopefully, more (or even less) talents become known throughout the show so as not to rely too heavily on this gimmick. Furthermore, Lincoln Rhyme also presents some familiar dynamics when it comes to his team. The staggering ability of his genius creates a combination of cockiness and bitterness which comes crashing down when he must rely on others to enact his brilliance. Perhaps viewers who were fans of House will find Lincoln Rhyme a refreshing replacement.
While we get to know Lincoln Rhyme fairly well, the pilot episode does not present a lot of insight into the second most important figure: The Bone Collector. The strong interest in serial killers over the last few years and the constant allure of CSI-type shows should mean a mash-up of the two genres would create a series with an already existing fanbase. However, finding a balance between forensic science and the sick psychology of mass murderers needs a stronger foundation than what Lincoln Rhyme has offered us so far. We get a great introduction to the technology necessary for Rhyme and Sachs to work as partners, but story and character development looks at the detectives and mostly neglects the Bone Collector. We do not learn a terrible amount about the history or motive of the killer and instead get thrown immediately into the scavenger hunt the killer sets up.
With the interspersion of flashbacks from Lincoln’s pre-injury career, the show seems more focused on establishing the character of Lincoln and not so much the Bone Collector. The show lists two characters in the title: the killer and the vengeful detective who experienced a career ending injury because of the murderer. The killer becomes teased out through the pilot, so hopefully the Collector earns far more screen time as the story develops and Rhyme’s knowledge gets reined in a bit or the series will become a string of deus ex machina style plot devices.
Lincoln Rhyme premieres tonight on NBC at 8pm ET/PT.
By Amylou Ahava
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