Perception begins with the pilot. Dr. Daniel Pierce asks his neuroscience class, "What is reality?" (as related to the brain). It is "a figment of your imagination," he tells them. "If what we perceive is often wrong [such as dreams], how can we ever know what's real and what isn't?"
Daniel's TA, Lewicki, looks out for him. That includes his schedule, food, and puzzles. A student, Karen, approaches Daniel with an offer to buy him a latte to talk about her paper, but he knows it's code for sexÂ—and says so. When Agent Kate Moretti finds him, he's doing crossword puzzles and listening to music. She's bringing him on a case involving the death of a pharmaceutical company executive. Clark's wife confessed, but Pamela's too thin to have been able to bash his head in. The executives received death threats with accusations they were poisoning people.
When Daniel asks Pamela why she killed her husband, she doesn't know. When he reminds her she told the police it was for the insurance money, she agreesÂ—and also agrees when he talks about her finding a kitten. Neither is true. She's innocent; she has Korsakoff's syndrome (she "remembers" what someone tells her happened). Daniel's schizophrenia becomes clear when everything in the station gets to him as Kate talks to Detective Hammond, who calls Daniel crazy. It culminates in Daniel standing on a chair, conducting the music from his headphones. He's eccentric.
Kate talks to TechSAN's executives, and Alan is upset it took Clark's death to get their attention. He's now taking over general counsel. Harvey tells Daniel Pamela has a thiamine deficiency, which manifested as Korsakoff's. Kate then shows Daniel threatening emails TechSAN received, and he figures out there's an anagram: "scum need a hearty reminder" is "TechSAN murdered Irene May." Her son filed on her behalf. At Timothy's, Kate and Agent Probert catch him going out the window. She ends up jumping off the fire escape and onto him. Daniel makes it clear that was crazy.
Timothy says he didn't kill anyone, but he doesn't want to cooperate with the government. Daniel gets Timothy to open up with his own views on processed sugar. Irene had diabetes, and Timothy claims that TechSAN's drug gave her a heart attack. Timothy may be angry, but he's not a murderer. The case is over for them; they found who sent the threats and the murder is a police matter. Kate's going to do what got her demotedÂ—go beyond the scope of her investigations. She can't let it go.
Back at TechSAN, they talk to Dr. Bryan, who says the drug was tested for years and Irene was in the placebo group. Daniel notices someone working in the lab. Then Hammond shows up looking for Valerie. She was having an affair with Clark and claims he was going to leave Pamela the night he was killed. Kate wonders if Pamela just didn't remember why she killed him, but Daniel disagrees. He turns down her offer for food because of plans with Natalie, who tells him he should've said yes. Natalie knows consulting can disrupt his routine, but he has Lewicki and he's not worried about him graduating since he keeps changing majors.
After she's left, the doorbell rings. It's the man from the lab. Gerard Permut has information on Clark's murder and knows Daniel understands people like him. The voices in his head said he had to kill him. He's in love with Valerie and found out about Clark. Valerie's a liar. When Lewicki comes downstairs, however, Daniel realizes Gerard's a hallucination.
The next morning, Daniel's still seeing Gerard, who agrees with Lewicki's suggestion to get an iPod instead of listening to cassette tapes. Lewicki suggests there is really a love triangle going on. Dean Haley calls Daniel in to talk about Karen. Her friend filed a complaint, and Daniel has to apologize to both girls because they can't afford a lawsuit. Natalie says that he's scared of any possible intimate connection, but Daniel points out his hallucinations. She knows he had an incident, and he's worried it could happen in front of Kate. Knowing something is different from seeing it. Daniel's not going to go back on medication because he couldn't concentrate. Sometimes the hallucinations tell him things his mind can't make sense of. Is Valerie lying?
Daniel proves that by showing her interrogation to an aphasiac, who picks up on inflections in speech since he can't comprehend spoken language. He laughs when he hears a lieÂ—and laughs at Valerie. They find her unconscious in her apartment. Kate once again talks to the executives and finds out Valerie emailed them saying she had information that could be dangerous to the company. Gerard tells Daniel the murder weapon is poison, and Daniel gets Probert out of the observation room. Gerard reminds him of his name and how much he loves puzzles. It's an anagram: "drug tamperer."
Someone tampered with the study resultsÂ—Dr. Bryan. He confesses when Kate invents a bloody footprint in Valerie's apartment. He had figured out why it was causing heart attacks, but Valerie had evidence and the pills, and he saw her with Clark. Why is Gerard still around? The drug was depleting thiamine levels. Someone was trying to give Pamela a heart attack. Daniel and Kate talk to Valerie, who says she was doing the right thing. However, Daniel says she gave Clark the pills to poison Pamela. Valerie wanted a cover story. She asks for a lawyer. Case closed.
Daniel apologizes to Karen, who takes her shirt off. He walks out and asks Lewicki to check his office. She hurries out. Back in class, Daniel talks about normalcy as Natalie watches. After, he sits talking to her, but then Lewicki approaches. There's no one with Daniel. Natalie is a hallucination. Lewicki gives Daniel a cassette tape and leaves him to the music.
What did you think of the Perception pilot?
Photo Credit: Jan Thijs
Â© Meredith Jacobs 2012