Wisdom of the Crowd

CBS' Wisdom of the Crowd: Grade It!

Imagine this: Instead of just reading unsettling crime headlines whenever you check social media, you could actively participate in them.

That’s essentially the premise behind CBS’ new procedural drama Wisdom of the Crowd, which premiered Sunday night. Thanks to a new platform created by tech whiz Jeffrey Tanner (Entourage‘s Jeremy Piven), app users don’t have to sit idly by while law enforcement officials solve crimes; instead, ordinary people on the Internet can do it themselves.

Before you tell us what you thought of Sunday’s debut, a brief recap of what happened in the hour:

We meet Jeffrey just as the one-year anniversary of his daughter Mia’s murder is approaching. The San Francisco Police Department recently jailed Carlos Ochoa, an acquaintance of Mia’s, for the crime, but Jeffrey believes they got the wrong guy — and, fortunately for him, the SFPD’s Det. Cavanaugh (Richard T. Jones, Judging Amy) has a similar gut feeling that the real killer is still on the streets.

Jeffrey decides to step down from the tech conglomerate he created — for very little money, his financial advisor repeatedly reminds him — and create SOPHE, an app that allows for crowd-sourced crime-solving. Got a piece of evidence relevant to a big murder? Post it! Standing in the same room as a suspect? Secretly film him! Convinced that a driver for an Uber-esque car service is responsible for murdering a young woman, but he’s really not? Assault him on the street! (Why, yes, letting the Internet solve a crime does have its downsides.)

Though Jeffrey originally created SOPHE specifically to solve Mia’s murder — and there are two pieces of evidence submitted in the premiere that do point the uber-skeptical Cavanaugh toward her real killer — the app inevitably starts extending to other unsolved crimes in the Silicon Valley area. This time, it’s the death of young woman Natalie Kirschner, whose murderer is ultimately brought to justice by the ethically ambiguous means of SOPHE users in the city. (As it turns out, every single person inside a local train station is an early adopter of Jeffrey’s technology, and they all use SOPHE to essentially stalk and corner Natalie’s killer until Cavanaugh shows up to arrest him.)

So, after much back-and-forth about the morality and legality of SOPHE, the app gets its first win as Natalie’s murderer is apprehended. But there’s still some bad news for Jeffrey: Due to a lack of evidence indicating the wrong man was convicted for Mia’s death, the state won’t be reopening her case, at least not right now. Jeffrey takes the disappointing news in stride, but he’s clearly crestfallen.

It seems Cavanaugh is also unable to shake the feeling that something isn’t right about Mia’s case. That evening, he returns to the SFPD precinct and rewatches a piece of evidence posted by a SOPHE user — a video from the night Mia was killed, in which an unidentified (and mighty sketchy) man exits her apartment building and paces outside. And just as Cavanaugh is settling in to go over that video again and again, he gets an alert from SOPHE: New evidence has just been posted to the app. (But you’ll have to wait until next week to see what it is, of course.)

Now that you’ve seen Wisdom of the Crowd, it’s time to give us your review. Grade the series premiere in our poll below, then hit the comments to back up your choice!