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Perception – Pilot: Part 1

“Pilot” is episode one of season one of Perception and this typically unimaginatively-named pilot episode opens at a university in Chicago. A lecturer is addressing his class, asking them what is real. The first answer he says is suitable for the physics department but this is neuroscience. So can anyone give an answer related to the brain. A female student sitting at the front of the class wearing a very tight t0shirt with ‘Stimulus Package’ written on it says that reality is exactly what we see and hear, rather than what we might fantasise, dream or hallucinate. The lecturer, Dr Daniel Pierce, tells his class that reality is a figment of their imagination. He asks if they’ve ever woken from a nightmare and thanked God it wasn’t real. Because our reactions when we fantasize, dream or hallucinate are no different to when we actually experience something. If what we perceive is often wrong, how can we know what is real and what isn’t.After the class, Pierce’s assistant, Lewicki, is giving Pierce various things. Including something to eat, as Pierce knows how he gets when he doesn’t eat. Pierce tells Lewicki that room, board and light housekeeping does not make Lewicki his mother. And does he have his puzzles. They are approached by the girl from the class who asks Pierce if she can buy him a latte so she can pick his brain for her term paper project. Pierce replies to the girl, Karyn, that this is code for sex and, whilst it might be enjoyable for both of them, it could get him fired, so he will have to decline the offer. Karyn’s friend calls him a pig as he leaves. To be fair, it did look as if Karyn was hitting on Pierce.Afterwards, Pierce is sitting on a bench doing his puzzles – newspaper crosswords – really quickly whilst listening to classical music when a woman approaches and speaks to him. Pierce recognises her, addressing the woman as Kate Moretti. Moretti tells him he would be easier to find if he carried a cell phone. Pierce replies that if he carried a cell phone, the government could track him. Moretti replies that she is the government to which he responds that was his point exactly. Pierce thought she was at Quantico but she replies she got her old desk back. He asks if that isn’t a demotion, a question Moretti avoids answering saying she wants to have a word.The word relates to Clark Weilman, general counsel of TechSAN Pharmaceuticals. He’s dead, his skull fractured in six places from being struck repeatedly with a golf trophy. The wife confessed to killing him to Chicago Homicide. Pierce asks why he is looking at photos of the dead man if that’s the case. Moretti tells him that the wife makes Nicole Ritchie look fat. Pierce says he doesn’t know who that is (join the club). Moretti doesn’t know if the wife is bulimic or anorexic but she wouldn’t be able to lift the trophy much less bash her husband’s head in with it. Pierce asks if Moretti thinks Mrs Weilman’s statement was coerced. She replies that the wife has a vacant affect; if she does have an eating disorder it could be the symptom of a more serious mental illness.Pierce tells Moretti that she was always one of his best students and asks why the FBI is involved. It seems that TechSAN told the FBI that their top executives had been receiving death threats, claiming that the pharmaceutical industry is part of a vast public/private conspiracy to poison the American people. Which Pierce agrees with. Moretti asks why he gave up his consulting gig; Pierce replies that after Moretti left, all the fun went out of it. To which she says she’s back.Pierce is questioning Pamela Weilman who doesn’t look great frankly. He asks her why she killed her husband and Mrs Weilman replies that she doesn’t know. Pierce says she told the police that she did it for the insurance money and Pamela agrees that’s correct. Detective Hammond is with Moretti watching and asks what the point is. Pierce then asks when Pamela got the policy and again she says she doesn’t know. Pierce says it was last Thursday; she met her husband for lunch and went to the insurance company offices and signed the papers. Pamela agrees again. Pierce then says that, two days ago, Pamela went for a walk and found a stray kitten. She took it home and called it Millie. She agrees, and asks how Pierce knew about Millie.Pierce tells Hammond and Moretti that Pamela is innocent. Hammond replies that she signed a confession. According to Pierce, Pamela Weilman has Korsakoff syndrome; symptoms include amnesia and being very suggestible. Pamela agreed about the cat, just as she agreed when Hammond said she hit her husband over the head. There is no cat and there is no life insurance plot – something he tells the detective is a clich√©. Hammond is offended at the suggestion that the confession is false and Pierce tells him that Pamela Weilman needs a hospital, not jail, and asks Moretti if they can go. Hammond speaks to Moretti first – and Pierce looks to be overloading on stimuli – saying he was warned about her and her nut job. Moretti replies that Pierce isn’t a nut job, he literally wrote the book on forensic neuropsychiatry. Four of them. Hammond is looking at Pierce and comments about him not being a nut job. Moretti looks as well – Pierce is listening to music standing on chair and conducting. Moretti admits that he is a little eccentric.

At TechSAN they speak to two executives. One, the CEO, apologises for the other, saying that Alan was very close to Clark. Moretti mentions that Alan will now take over Clark’s job as general counsel. No, she isn’t insinuating anything. Moretti says that she wants access to all litigation in the past five years; Alan says that most of those are frivolous claims. Moretti tells him that they may be able to connect the death threats to a lawsuit. She also wants Weilman’s email account and a list of present and former colleagues. The CEO tells Moretti that Alan will get them everything they need, and leaves. Moretti thanks Alan.Pierce is looking over the results of Pamela Weilman’s scan with a Dr Harvey Kapoor who says that she has extreme thiamine deficiency – resulting in Korsakoff syndrome. Pierce asks the doctor how Pamela could have lost so much and he suggests a big drinker. Or being a big puker, Kapoor says it could be bulimia. Or she could be a beanpole. Pierce asks Harvey if that’s his diagnosis; Kapoor suggests chronic beanpole syndrome.

To be continued…

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